Department of English Language and Literature follows a tradition and reputation of being classical in liberal education, which aims at expanding the mind of the man/woman to such an extent that it makes it familiar with the whole complexities of human motivation and action. It is this familiarity that brings about the ability or capacity to develop a discourse situation and possibly crystallize original ideas to solution from the synthesis of such discourse situations.
In a country where English as an added language, a major official language, a lingua franca, as well as the language of instruction in the educational system, a high level of proficiency in it is usually expected from the graduates of higher institutions, especially the universities. A higher level of competence and communicative skills is expected even more from graduates of English.
This is why there is a need for devoting greater attention to the achievement of improved knowledge of English and the acquisition of adequate oral and written skills in it. English graduates from Nigerian universities should be clearly and positively identified with adequate proficiency in pronunciation, articulateness in speech, correctness of grammar and usage, elegance and style in diction in the choice of an appropriate variety of English for use in the various administrative and professional job opportunities available in the labour market, in literary and creative writing domains, and in postgraduate studies in language and literature.
Meanwhile, the tradition of liberal education is based on a concern with the whole man or woman, such that the acquisition of learning skills goes with a concomitant emphasis on character. Because of its concern with the complexities of human motivation and action, Literature has an in-built tendency to impart moral and spiritual lessons which make graduates of Literature so much more sensitive to, and empathetic with, the plight of others, while developing a critical attitude to society. The problems of individuals and of society with which students of Literature empathize are often imaginatively or creatively projected in works of art (prose fiction, poetry or drama).
With the sound communicative skills that students will have imbibed and the heightened sensibility, ability to critically engage society, objectively analyse issues and the attainment of transcendental cognition, we will have succeeded in two years’ time to harvest our first honours graduates, who are possessed of all these qualities.
In subsequent years we hope to establish a sound and fully accredited graduate school that will award both MA and Ph.D degrees. We also hope to have a fully accredited interdisciplinary research institute, specifically, Institute of African Studies, which will drive research in the Arts and Social Science Departments. With a sound crop of professionals, we hope to create a resource hub for Government and Institutions in consultancy services in policy areas that touch on human values and pertinent issues of culture, good governance and democratic principles.
We hope to achieve the goal of being a centre of excellence and resource hub for Government and Institutions as well as produce high quality man-power for the country by ensuring that we recruit the best and most experienced in our field. With their experiences, they will be able to develop content-rich syllabi for the courses they will be teaching and document therein the methodology to achieve optimum in lecture-delivery to students.
Our guiding philosophy is to build a thinking man, who applies all his knowledge skills to uplift and ennoble his or her humanity and secure for her/him-self, through the power of ideas turned into applicable knowledge, a very high standard of living; and who aspires, through the same powers, to impact on life. We build men and women that are clear in thought and speech, articulate in short.
Our instant objective is to re-orientate the student, who has just gained admission into the university and make him/her become aware immediately through our carefully designed courses the onus on him/her regarding humanistic education, which requires that the student apply reason in every issue, be critical of circumstances and have valid opinions about a whole range of issues.
The student is imparted a language skill that is geared towards clearness in thought and speech. The student is instantly made aware of the need for his/her education to be functional. Furthermore, we hope to train students to acquire adequate communicative competence in both the spoken and written varieties of the English language, thereby giving them a good grounding and effective mastery of the Language in its various applications to achieve adequate self-expression and self-actualization; to equip the students with the knowledge of the forms and features of the varieties of English used in different professional domains such as business communication, legal communication, electronic broadcast media, print journalism, advertising and sports commentaries, book publishing, and biography writing; to equip the students with adequate linguistic knowledge of the English Language through a detailed study of its sound system, its lexicon, its syntax, semantics and usage; to adequately prepare the students to pursue postgraduate studies in English Language, Linguistics, and to take up teaching and research at the appropriate level of education; to orientate students towards self-employment by a focus on skills such as the use and application of computer, writing (e.g. of articles in magazines, of speeches; designing and presenting special programs on radio or TV, designing and publishing magazines etc.), creative writing, and other kinds of original output through independent thought, inventiveness and creativity.