Prof. Mrs E.N Ugwu (HOD ENGLISH AND LITERATURE )

HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT

Recognizing the need for a broad education and the role which the humanities play in any balanced system of education, the University of Benin decided by 1975 to establish the Humanities discipline.  The Faculty of Arts was established, with the Department of English and Literature as one of its component Departments when the Faculty of Arts attained a full Faculty status.

The Department of English and Literature, University of Benin, at its inception in 1977 had her first Head of Department as Professor Romanus N. Egudu. Its staff list included scholars such as Late Professor Steve Ogude, Professor OdumBalogun, Professor V.U. Ola, Professor V. U. Longe, and Late Dr. O.O. Obuke. The Department was created from the Department of Modern Languages. It graduated its first students in 1981.  The Department since its inception had three areas of specialization:  Language, Literature and Oral Literature.  The Language part is made up of Stylistics, Semantics, Varieties, Discourse analysis and so on. The Literature part comprises Poetry, Prose and drama.  The different parts have metamorphosed into different courses to meet the NUC Bench Marks Undergraduate Standard.

The Department established a long standing students body known as English and Literature Students Association (ELSA) which has a Lecturer as its Staff Adviser.  The body has two very productive arms, the ELSA Playhouse and Creative Writers Workshop that have produced many actors and writers, singers and comedians. The Department also established three Journals, two of which will be published this year.

Recently, the Department celebrated its Alumni Homecoming and 42nd Anniversary and then instituted a biennial Alumni Homecoming Event

Since 2018, all courses at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels are co-taught by at least two lecturers to ensure that academic standards are truly maintained; that no lecturer teaches a course alone and that students are fairly treated.  Composition and creative writing courses are taught in groups by all the lecturers.  Notable writers in/outside Nigeria are invited to speak and demonstrate to students.  Final year projects are also defended.  We believe the above measures are adequate to ensure high academic standards.

Organization Structure

The Department is led by the Head of Department who is appointed by the Vice-Chancellor in conjunction with the Dean of the Faculty.  He or she is assisted by several academic and non-academic staff in the day-to-day running of the affairs of the Department.  There is a Secretary who takes care of the secretarial staff, all of whom are answerable to the Head of Department.  To facilitate the smooth operations of the Department,the Head of Department commits and appoints different academic staff to coordinate academic/administrative Committees.  There are standing Committees and Boards like the Examinations Committee, the Postgraduate Committee, the Welfare Committee, Book Project Committee.  There are also ad hoc Committees like those in charge of organizing specific conferences and workshops, journal Committees, etc.

How staff are involved in the decision-making process and in general administration.

Staff are involved in the decision-making process andgeneral administration through (i) formal staffmeetings like the Departmental Board of Studies and Departmental Board of Examiners. (ii) Departmental Committees (iii) There are also informal charts in the Staff Common room and in personal offices (iv) Delegation of responsibility. (v) Departmental WhatsApp Group. (vi) Research Groups. Other Committees are:

Staff Seminar Committee,

Journal Boards,

Research Committee,

Homecoming Committee,

Writers Workshop Committee.

Policy and practice on staff development

Staff are encouraged to develop themselves academically and professionally by being granted study/training leave for the purpose of pursuing higher degrees; sabbatical/leave of absence for undertaking more sustained researches and ample grants for attendance at conferences, symposia/colloquia.  At present, out of a total of 28 academic staff, 6 are staff students pursuing the Ph.D. degrees.  Out of the six (6) Academic staff, one has completed his Ph.D thesis and is awaiting his defence this September 2019. One has his thesis submitted and is awaiting his final defence. Three (3) are on their Ph.D programmes and one is about to register for her Ph.D programme.

Examinations

Each academic staff sets the examination in his or her topic/course.  The Head of Department does the first moderation of the examination questions.  The questions for the final years are sent to the External Examiners for moderation.  All teaching staff constitute the Departmental Board of Examiners for the purpose of conducting and evaluating of all examinations.  

The Examinations Officer, usually a senior member of staff, assists the Head of Department in processing the marks, which, upon approval by the Departmental Board is forwarded to the Faculty Board of Examiners and to the Senate for final approval.  The Examinations and Records Division of the Registry finally issues results.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

In a country where English is an added language, a major official language, a lingua franca, and 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. Higher levels of competence and communicative skills are 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. This programme is designed to achieve the following:

Learning Outcome (Language part of the programme)


The scope and depth of knowledge required in the study of English and Literature should cover the following areas:

  1. Language skills knowledge: – These are the basic skills of reading and comprehension, and writing. The main knowledge areas here should include the following topics:
    • Oral communication – Public speaking;
    • Elements of effective usage- Lexical and structural;
    • Listening – Cues for comprehension;
    • Reading rates and methods – Contextual cues;
    • Elements of effective Comprehension;
    • Reading – Types of reading.
  2. Linguistic knowledge of English:
    • Its phonology i.e. inventory of vowel and consonant sounds and how to describe them, stress and intonation features;
    • Its lexical and morphological features i.e. word types and the structure of words and word formation processes;
    • Its syntax, i.e. the grammar or sentence types, forms and structures;
    • Its semantics, i.e. knowledge of the different types of meaning and meaning relations.
  3. Sociolinguistic knowledge, i.e. pragmatics, stylistics, discourse analysis, variation in English (accent, regional, social and style variation), the New Englishes (i.e. varieties of English as a second and foreign language). Knowledge of Applied English Linguistics.
  4. Knowledge of the Elements of English Usage in various professional domains such as the following:
    • English of Business Communication

Learning Outcome (Literature part of the programme)

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 English and 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 English and Literature empathise are often imaginatively or creatively projected in works of art (prose fiction, poetry or drama). Even though the literature part of the programme is a text-centred, at the end of theprogramme, students should have been brought into contact with our local cultures, so that they can tap the vast repertoire of oral cultural practices for which our people are known, for creative and entrepreneurial purposes. At the end of the course, graduates of English and Literature should be seen to have achieved greater competence and sophistication in all branches of Literature, in critical and creative expression, as well as a better understanding of
Literature’s relevance to society. Literature being an elaborate instance of resources of language in all its rich complexity, student of Literature, at the end of the under-graduate programme, should have developed more sophisticated skills in writing as well as in speech, together with a greater insight into human nature, a more mature under-standing of human relationships and a greater competence in giving creative expression to them.


The qualities of precision, conciseness, politeness, elegance and style are some of the major behavioural attributes associated with a good grounding in the study of the English Language. Students of English and Literature should be able to demonstrate these
qualities in their oral and written communication in English in all domains.Other behavioural attributes should derive from knowledge of the general functions of language and their application in our daily acts of communicative interactions. Some of these functions impose considerable demands on the competence of both the speaker and hearer.

1.  The informative function of language involves the passing of information from one individual to another, from government to the governed, and from one organization to another. Good language lies at the root of effective communication of information at all levels;

2.  The use of language to establish rapport, social contact, and to extend politeness to one’s interlocutor is a behavioural function;

3.    The expressive function of language involves the use of language to express ones internal feelings and emotions and so the choice of words and
expressions do sometimes have emotive connotations

4.   The recognition of the tone of language is very important because tone of language relates to how the listener or reader perceives the effect of the speaker’s or writer’s choice of words and the tone of delivery (e.g. friendly, aloof, considerate, critical, condescending, rude, polite, etc.)

Admission Requirements:

i.   Admission Requirements for the Four-Year Full-Time Degree Programme (UME)

Candidates seeking admission into this programme should possess any of the following qualifications:

At least five Ordinary Level credit passes in WASC,WAEC, SSCE/GCE,NECO SSCE or at least five merit-level passes in the Teachers’ Grade II (TCII) examinations or its recognized equivalent at not more than two sittings.  The subjects should include English Language and Literature in English, and other Arts subjects.

Note:  University Matriculation Examinations (UME) subjects are:

 Use of English

Literature in English

One Arts Subject and

Another Arts or Social Science subject.

ii.  Admission Requirements for the Three-Year Degree Programme (Direct Entry)

In addition to i above, candidates who possess any of the following qualifications may be considered for admission:

At least two Advanced Level passes in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) or the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or its recognized equivalent. The subjects should include Literature in English and one other Arts subject.

At least a credit-level pass in the Diploma in Theatre Arts (DTA) of the University of Benin or an equivalent qualification (with at least an Upper Credit-level pass) from any other recognized University.

Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE) with at least a credit-level pass in English Language as principal subject from a recognized College of Education.  In addition, Candidate should have at least an overall credit-level pass.

At least an Upper-Credit level pass in the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Mass Communication from a recognized Polytechnic or College of Technology.

iii.  Admission Requirements for the Five-Year (Part-Time)  

 Degree Programme

In addition to (b) above, candidates who possess any of the following qualifications may be considered for admission:

 At least two Advanced Level passes in the GCE or HSC.  The subjects should include Literature in English

Nigeria Certificate of Education (NCE) with at least a credit-level pass in English Language.  As the principal subject from a recognized College of Education. In addition, Candidates should have at least an overall credit-level pass.

At least a credit-level pass in the Diploma in Theatre Arts (DTA) of the University of Benin or an equivalent qualification (with at least an Upper Credit-level pass) from any recognized University.

At least an Upper-Credit level pass in the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Mass Communication from a recognized Polytechnic or College of Technology.

Programme Structure

The Department offers a four years B.A. degree programme and a five-year B.A (Hons) Part-Time degree Programme with courses in English Language, Literature in English, and Oral Literature.  Students are required to take courses in both Language and literature throughout their period of studentship.  They also take the General Studies courses and some electives from other departments.  There are provisions for a Single-honours and a combined-honours courses. Students are expected to write their projects at their final year.

The Department operates a four-year degree programme.  Candidates with H.S.C, N.C.E or G.C.E. (A/L) may, however, be admitted into the second year of the four-year programme. Also candidates with G.C.E. admitted into the Faculty of Education may enter the third year of the four-year programme provided they have attained a level considered adequate by the

Department.