Chris Cain | Towson University

Professor and Chairperson, Department of English

Professor Cain examines the Rochester New Testament (ca. 1125 CE, Rochester, England)
at the Walters Art Museum.

Ask English professor Chris Cain why anyone would want to study Old English, a language
that has gone unspoken for almost 1,000 years, and he has the perfect answer. “Of
course, it depends on the person you are,” he grins, “but how about because it’s fun!
It can simply be for the enjoyment of broadening your intellectual horizons – the
joy of learning.”

It’s just that kind of infectious enthusiasm that informs Cain’s conversation about
Old English literature in particular and Towson’s English department in general. While
noting that Towson is the only university in the area where an Old English class is
offered, he also gives high marks to his department’s other offerings to students.

“We’re a young department, which brings a lot of fresh energy and excitement to what
we do,” he says. “Our faculty are not only excellent teachers, but also are really
savvy in the digital humanities. Together, I think we cover all of the possible bases
that a student who’s interested in English studies could possibly want.”

“If you’re taking a humanities degree, you’re gaining a set of important skills that
don’t have an expiration date.”

Christopher Cain

But why English over a career-track major? Cain again has a ready answer. “With some
professions, there’s no telling that a profession you’re training for today is going
to be in demand tomorrow. But if you’re taking a humanities degree, you’re gaining
a set of important skills that don’t have an expiration date. You’ll always be in
possession of some assets that will be valuable throughout your working life.”

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“The most important thing that we teach students in our department is how to read,
how to write, and how to put those two skills together,” he notes, “so they can become
more informed and independent thinkers about the world around them.”

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