The department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka is, for all those who have either gone or currently going through it, like our aboriginal home. Where we feel like wanderers to the world, like strangers in some faraway land, transcends in endless migrant streaming motions, we remember there is no greater joy than going back to the department which turned us into blessed hearts, longed by a place we cherish dearly. This is what the department of English and Literary Studies is to all of us.
Prof Ikenna Dieke
Head, Department of English and Literary Studies
The Department was one of the foundation academic units with which the university started in 1960. At its inception, the Department was headed by Dr. J. Noonan from Britain who held that office until 1967 when the Nigerian Civil war started. Below is a list of the people that have headed the department till date: Dr. J. Noonan 1960 – 1967, Dr. D.I. Nwoga 1970 – 1970, Prof. Echeruo 1970 – 1974, Dr. D.I Nwoga 1974 – 1975, Prof. E.N Obiechina 1975 – 1980, Prof Chinua Achebe 1980 – 1981, Prof. Juliet.I Okonkwo 1981 – 1986, Prof C. A. Okafor 1986– 1990, Dr. Maduakor 1990 – 1992, Dr. M.C. Njoku 1992 – 1995, Dr. W.DO. Nwaegbe 1995 – 1995, Prof. C.A. Okafor 1995 – 1996, Dr. N. Oji 1996 – 1997, Prof. N.F. Inyama 1997 – 2001, Prof. A.N. Akwanya 2002 – 2005, Prof. D.U. Opata 2005 – 2008, Dr. P. A. Ezema 2008 – 2009, Prof. Sam Onuigbo 2009 – 2010, Prof. A.N. Akwanya 2010 – 2013, Prof. D.U. Opata 2013 – 2016, Prof. I. Dieke 2016 – to date.
The Department was one of the foundation departments of the University with Dramatic Arts as a sub-department. The Senate of the University of Nigeria approved a full departmental status for Dramatic Arts in 2004 and at the same time approved for it a change of name to the Department of Theatre Arts. The parent Department also had a change of name that same year to the Department of English and Literary Studies in order to bring out more clearly its scope of coverage. In the accreditation exercise of 2005 the Department came out with full accreditation status, and it has since 2010 been the proud possessor of a fully equipped modern language laboratory donated and furnished by a former student and former member of staff, Dr Mrs Virgy A. Anohu of FINHOMES Ltd.
The Department has exerted considerable influence in the development of other universities, especially in the Eastern zone as many of the foundation members of their departments of English are alumni of this Department. The Department continues to play an active part in the training and upgrading of manpower for these sister departments. The programmes developed in this Department have also been influential in the development of the programmes of many sister departments across the country.