Dr. Jo Van Arkel
Chair of English Department
Professor of English
Director of the Writing Center
Office: (417) 873-7273

About the English Programs

Drury English offers two degrees, English and writing, where students:

  • work closely in small classes with active faculty whose first priority is teaching.
  • have many opportunities, formal and informal, for experiences outside the classroom.
  • study alongside a diverse group of well-prepared and intellectually engaged students.
  • follow a strong curriculum that can lead students directly to careers and to graduate school
  • and lead students to professional programs in English, law, writing, library science, business and other fields.

The English Department has an active student body involved in a wide variety of extracurricular activities, all of which offer important leadership opportunities for qualified and interested students. These duties are not only a labor of love for our students, but they also provide valuable pre-professional experience:

  1. We are a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the National Honor Society of English, and elect officers each year. Sigma Tau Delta provides a strong voice for students, organizing social and cultural activities and working closely with the chair and other faculty in setting the direction of the department.
  2. Our student organization, The Guild, selects editors and readers to two student-run literary magazines, The Bonfire (published annually) and Currents (published semiannually). Editors and readers are in charge of selecting, editing and publishing creative writing submitted from students across campus.
  3. We select deserving student interns to serve as readers for our flagship literary journal, The Gingko Tree Review. In reading submissions sent by professional writers and poets, our interns have an opportunity that is rare for undergraduates.
  4. Students take leadership positions planning and organizing various events that feature visiting writers, student readings, career fairs, and service-learning projects.
  5. The Writing Center is staffed by students, many of them English and writing students, giving students with an interest in writing and teaching valuable experience.
  6. We work closely with public schools in the neighborhood, and encourage our students to offer their time in a wide variety of capacities, including as tutors, readers, and mentors. In addition, English and writing students have a strong leadership presence in other organizations such as Think Green, Amnesty International, Allies, Alliance for Minority Minds, The Student Union Board (SUB), Student Government Association (SGA), The Drury Mirror (the weekly student newspaper) and others.

For more information, contact Jo Van Arkel, chair of the English department, at