Most university students are rightly concerned about how their education will relate to their earning a living. At some point, after all, you will graduate and need to find a job. But this genuine concern can lead to an overemphasis on skills training, and to a narrow view of higher education. To be sure, our graduates apply their skills directly in fields such as journalism, publishing, and education – to name just a few. But we think there is more to university education than just getting a credential and landing your first job.

Our department asks its students to think about personal and career development in a broader way. In studying languages and literature, you will develop your creativity, your critical thinking skills, and in so doing you will learn to express yourself with elegance and insight. These are skills that will enhance every aspect of your life, including your working life.

In fact, studies show that most people end up working in a field other than the one they originally trained in. Why study for a specific career, when in ten years you are likely not to be working in a field directly connected to your major? Moreover, while graduates in applied fields may get a boost in their early careers, research has shown that liberal arts graduates catch up to and eventually overtake applied business and technology grads in the money that they make. Why? Because as their careers advance, the specific business and trade techniques they learned in school become obsolete, but the higher-order skills such as the ability to argue persuasively and think imaginatively will always be in demand.

Sure, we would say that, wouldn’t we? We’re English and French professors. We have to say that, right? Well,  consider the words of banking executive Wayne Fox: “Debits and credits, torts and mechanical systems are very useful things to know about, but literature, language, anthropology, political science, history, theatre — these are things that challenge accepted truths, encourage original thought and cultivate compassion. At this point in our world’s history, I can’t think of any better investment than this.

Similarly, consider the conclusions of education researcher  Tony Chambers whose work showed that the choice of major is less important than how you approach your work, no matter what your guidance counsellor told you: “The dirty little secret is that those who care about learning get the best jobs.”

We care about learning. We care about your education. We care about your future.


Brittany Fitzgerald

Junior High Teacher


First Nation School

Attended CBU: 2004-2007

Favourite Courses: Shakespeare, Renaissance Drama and Modern Drama

“As an English major at CBU I was able to delve into the minds of people like William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Oscar Wilde. I learned an immense amount about different times, places and individuals and I loved every minute of it!”


Donnie Calabrese

The Music Biz

Web-based management for artists and music industry professionals

Attended CBU: 2002-2006

Favourite Course: American Fiction

“I have no doubt that the small class sizes in both first and upper year courses at Cape Breton University contributed to my acceptance and success in graduate school”


Tammy Byrne

Coordinator of Cape Breton University’s Writing Centre

Attended CBU: 2000-2004

Favourite Courses: Shakespeare, Modern Drama, Contemporary Drama, Modern British Novel, Modern Celtic Literature, honours thesis

“I liked English because it challenged me and made me a more critical thinker and a better writer.”

Sheila Christie
Associate Professor of English

Office: CC-224

Phone: 563-1156

Jan Curtis
Associate Professor of English

Office: CC-225

Phone: 902-563-1417

William Davey
Senior Scholar

Office: CC267

Phone: 563-1319

Bernard Mulo Farenkia
Professor of French and Linguistics

Office: CC236

Phone: 902.563.1870

Jane Farnsworth
Associate Professor of English

Office: CC232

Phone: 902.563.1250

Boardmore Playhouse Director

Office: L193

Phone: 902.563.1351

Afra Kavanagh
Senior Scholar

Mary Keating
Associate Dean, School of Arts & Social Sciences / Assistant Professor, English

Office: CC-222

Phone: 902.563.1623

Ronald Labelle
Associate Professor, French

Office: CC-235

Phone: 563-1372

Nathaniel Leach
Associate Professor of English

Office: CC-226

Phone: 902.563.1127

Dana Mount
Assistant Professor, English and Assistant Dean of Research, Teaching & Graduate Studies

Office: CC-228

Phone: 563.1162

Associate Professor of English

Office: CC-233

Phone: 563.1616

Mark Silverberg
Associate Professor of English

Office: CC-234

Phone: 902.563.1150

Julie Sutherland
Adjunct Professor

Office: CC-231

Phone: 902.563.1946

Denise Toney
Part-time Instructor

Arlette Sinquin
Part-time Instructor

Scott Sharplin
Lecturer, Drama

Office: L166

Phone: 902.563.1634