APU adopts literature journal and launches graduate program

The English Department has made some exciting changes recently with the introduction of the new English graduate program and the Christianity and Literature Journal.

APU’s program is unique because it is one of two Christian campuses in Southern California to offer an English program. The program offers creative writing classes, courses discussing theology and literature and writing for Christian audiences. Courses are taught by existing professors in the Department of English alongside their ongoing undergraduate classes. Despite the challenge of balancing undergraduate and graduate courses, inaugural director of the master’s program Dr. Mark Eaton remains optimistic about the program’s future.

“Hopefully it will be a real draw for students—not just APU students who want to continue their education and get an M.A., but also for students from all around the country,” Eaton said.

The Department of English began planning for this new program two years prior to opening for spring applications and has exceeded its expectations of 17 students by accepting 20.

One of the first students in the new program, Sara Champlain, believes there is something special about being part of the first cohort of students and the program’s foundation.

“I love the culture at APU,” Champlain said. “As an undergraduate student, I loved the relationships that were encouraged and cultivated by faculty and staff. I really wanted that to be present in my graduate program as well.”

Eaton serves as the new editor of the Journal of Christianity and Literature, which was effective on July 1st. The journal has been in publication for more than 50 years and focuses on how literature engages Christian thought, experience and practice, according to its website.

“I realized that the organization played no small part in helping me build up a network of professional contacts from Christian colleges and universities nationwide,” Eaton said in an interview with the Conference on Christianity and Literature (CCL).

Eaton previously served on the CCL’s Book of the Year Committee and served two terms as its secretary before being appointed as editor.

The CCL is the society that publishes the journal, which focuses on exploring the relationship between Christianity and literature. It was formally organized in 1956 and has members from all over the United States, Canada and more than a dozen other countries.

The journal was previously edited by Paul Contino and Maire Mullins of Pepperdine University, before making its way to APU after a six-month search for a new editor. Matthew J. Smith and Caleb D. Spencer have been appointed as associate editors, which moves the journal’s editorial office to APU’s campus.

The hope is that this new development will draw in prospective undergraduate and graduate students. With the introduction of the new Masters program, the journal came at an opportune time. Eaton hopes to involve graduate students in the journal through the submission and editing process.

The first two editorial assistants are Sara Champlain and Austin Sill, both students in the new English graduate program. To see the journal, check the library, which will soon have every issue available.