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“Words, words, words.” - Hamlet, William Shakespeare.

If you love words – reading them, writing them, speaking them and interpreting them – you will find kindred spirits here. The English and Communications department at AACC is home to composition, literature, public speaking, journalism, interpersonal communication, mass media and creative writing.

The aim of the English and Communications department is to prepare you to be a more effective reader, writer, speaker and thinker and to help you develop your abilities to understand and appreciate literature and other cultures. One principle of communication is that you can’t not communicate. Try not communicating. Seriously, just try it. Communications is all around us, on every job and in every field.  Developing your skills in this area will improve your professional and personal life. It is also a general education requirement that all degree-seeking students must complete.

Whether you struggle or excel in English and communications, we meet you where you are. At every level we work to improve your mastery of English grammar, punctuation and sentence structure, as well as your capacity to organize and express ideas in writing. In our English and communications classes, you will develop critical thinking and analysis skills. Along the way, we can help you explore literature of the Americas' and the world's many cultures, great writing in forms both new and old, and classic literary themes in their cultural contexts. In our Communication courses, learn to effectively communicate, whether one-on-one, in larger groups or with people from different cultures.

Areas of Study

The English and Communications department offers degrees in the following areas of study:

Faculty and Staff

Department Chair

Steven Canaday, Ph.D., professor

Full-time Faculty

Alexis Baker, Ph.D., assistant professor

Margaret Boas, M.A., associate professor

E. Dean Bowers

Garrett Brown

Alan Brownlie

Steven Canaday, Ph.D., professor

Susan Cohen

April Copes

Kathleen D’Angelo

Jennifer Dix

Haley Draper-Bowers

LaTanya Eggleston

James Finnegan

Paul Gabriel-Tucci

Daryl Gonder

Candice Hill

Robert Hurd

Regina Johnson

Susan Kilgard

Sandra King

Wayne Kobylinski

Johnny Lew

Jaquelyn Lyman-Thomas

Mark Matthews

Timothy May

Dave Meng

Marjorie Paoletti

Jessica Rabin

Brian Riley

Verna Robinson

Grace Sikorski

Suzanne Spoor

Brian Weber

Office Staff

Michele Kerr

Julie Schuman

Resources for Students

Writing Center

The Writing Center provides continuous help to students from all disciplines by providing one-on-one tutoring on a walk-in basis. English department faculty tutors are happy to assist in preparing written assignments, offer help in understanding errors on graded papers, and provide additional training in grammar, punctuation and usage.

Learn more about the Writing Center.

Virtual Writing Center

The Virtual Writing Center offers the same high quality tutoring experience as our face-to-face Writing Center locations in a synchronous, voice-interactive online environment.  It is open to all enrolled AACC students and can be accessed using Canvas and Blackboard Collaborate.

Learn more about the Virtual Writing Center.

Developmental English

If you placed into a developmental English class, you will need to complete your developmental classes before you can take English and communications classes for credit. 

Some students who do well in ENG 001 want to skip ENG 002 and go to credit English. Your ENG 001 teacher may recommend to the department chair that you be exempted from ENG 002. However, you would not yet be eligible for ENG 111 if you have developmental reading requirements. If you have eligibility for RDG 027, you may take ENG 003, Accelerated Basic English.

Honors program

The Honors program is for high-achieving students who wish to excel in a diverse and interdisciplinary learning environment. The focus is on collaboration in learning, critical thinking, effective communication and ethical leadership. The Honors program maintains academic rigor while allowing flexibility for qualified students in all majors to receive recognition for their achievements. Courses are defined by a different method of teaching and learning.

Learn more about the Honors program.

Amaranth, the student literary journal

Amaranth is AACC’s Journal for the Creative Arts. It is an award-winning, student-run and edited journal that is published once a year through funding from the AACC Student Organization and generous donations from Tim and Darlene Barnum and Burt Dall.

The Amaranth Coffeehouse is a monthly event where students gather to share writing, music, short films, monologues, comedy sketches and visual art.  It is an excellent opportunity for students to interact outside of the classroom, become acquainted with the work of their peers, and participate in AACC’s creative and cultural community.  This is an open mic where all students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome.  Each year, the Coffeehouse culminates with a release party for Amaranth.

Learn about Amaranth and its submission guidelines.

Campus Current Student Newspaper

Learn through experience by helping produce the print and online editions of this independent student newspaper.  For information contact the Current at

Read the Campus Current.

Writers Reading Series

Writers Reading at AACC is a reading series that hosts an array of writers including poets, fiction writers, essayists, songwriters, memoirists, playwrights, journalists and screenplay writers.

All events, are held on the Arnold campus in Humanities Building Room 112 from 2-3:15 p.m. Writers Reading encourages students, faculty, staff and community to attend. The readings are sponsored by the AACC Student Government Association, are free and open to the public and include book sales and signings.

For information contact Professor Susan Cohen at

Commonly Asked Questions

I don’t plan to major in English. Do I still need to take an English class?

English composition is required for every two-year degree at AACC. English and communication courses also fulfill Arts and Humanities general education requirements.

How is ENG-112 different from ENG-121?

Students place directly into ENG-121. Students can only take ENG-112 after successfully completing ENG-111. Both courses satisfy the general education composition requirement in Maryland public colleges and universities. In both courses, students write a substantial documented paper in addition to two or three other papers on the literature read in the course. However, each ENG-121 class has a theme, on which the reading and writing assignments are based. Also, ENG-121 students read whole works rather than selections from an anthology, and the classes typically are conducted as seminars.

I'm interested in taking a creative writing workshop. Can I take a workshop if I haven’t taken Intro to Creative Writing (ENG-200)?

"Intro to Creative Writing" (ENG-200) is the prerequisite for the second-level specific genre creative writing courses (fiction, poetry, etc.) You may ask the department chair for exemption from the ENG 200 prerequisite for ENG-201, ENG-202, ENG-203 or ENG-204. Faculty teaching the course you request will then evaluate your preparation for it and make a recommendation to the department chair.

How is an online version of an English or communications class different from a face-to-face, in-the-classroom version?

There are no differences in reading, writing, testing and performance requirements. The learning goals are the same in both versions, and students must meet deadlines in both for turning in work. Student work is assessed by the same standards in both types of classes. Online versions of English and communications courses may require more student participation in class discussions than face-to-face classes, e.g., regular postings to the course bulletin board.

How do I take Fundamentals of Oral Communications online?

"Fundamentals of Oral Communication" (COM-111) is essentially a course in oral communications theory, in which students write and deliver speeches in front of live audiences. Students in online sections of this course must record the delivery of their speeches to an audience and post these recordings to the class webpage.