The Department of English and Modern European Languages, established in 1921, is a major research, post-graduate and under-graduate department of the University of Lucknow. From 1921 to 1926, the Department was headed by British Professors. In 1926, Professor N.K. Sidhanta took over as the Head of the Department and left it in 1951 to become Secretary of the Radhkrishnan Commission- the first Commission on Education constituted in post independent India. He went on to become Vice Chancellor of the University of Calcutta, University of Delhi and Member Union Public Service Commission.
The Department has a rich tradition of high-level teaching and research which continues even today. The undergraduate and postgraduate courses are revised and updated every three years. Over 200 research scholars have received their Doctorate degrees from the Department on different aspects of English Language and Literature. The Department has been working towards enriching and strengthening literary and language studies by teaching and guiding research in areas as diverse as British Literature, English Language Teaching, Stylistics and Discourse Analysis, American Literature, Contemporary Literature, New Literatures in English, Literature and Films, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Colonial and Post Colonial Literature, Indian Writing in English, Literatures in Translation, Comparative Literature, Drama, Theatre Studies, Translation Studies, Cultural Studies and Creative Writing. Innovative courses relevant for the student community, to enhance their employability, and also courses for general users of English have been developed as Add on Courses in collaboration with professionals, academics and other stakeholders. The Department also offers Advanced Diploma, Diploma and Proficiency courses in Russian, German and French.
The Department has many firsts to its credit. In the 1960s the study of Linguistics with special reference to English was introduced in the M.A. English Course and the first Language Lab with four booths was set up- thus initiating the concept of Language Labs in English Departments across the country. American Literature as a part of the Post Graduate Course was also introduced in the same decade. This year in 2014 the Department will be the first in North India to launch an Interdisciplinary American Studies Course as an Add on Course. The Department always strives to cater to the regional aspirations of the people and bring Regional/ Cultural Studies centre stage in the academia, internationally. It is always our endeavour to evolve more effective and culture specific innovative pedagogy for classroom teaching to cater to the large numbers and multilayered complexion of the classes. As a quality sustenance measure we have developed globally competent value added components, which are ICT enabled, to the new Add on Courses designed for the students of the University. The fifty year old English Literary Society provides a platform for students to participate in Dramatics, Debates, Creative Writing, music, dance and other academic activities.
The Department is recognized under the State Governments Centre of Excellence Scheme and has set up a Centre for Cultural Texts, Records and Translation of Indian Literatures. This is the first Inter-Department Centre in the University working in collaboration with other Departments of the Faculty of Arts (Hindi, Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Linguistics, Urdu, Oriental Studies in Persian/Arabic/ Sanskrit). The Department is the first in the University to offer paid Consultancy developing and designing need based courses for national and international organizations /institutions/ agencies.
Many members of the faculty have been recipients of the Fulbright, Indo-Canadian, Commonwealth and other International scholarships and national level awards and have published widely in national and international journals.
Prof. Nishi Pandey the present Head of the Department received the Saraswati Samman 2013 from the Department of Higher Education, Government of Uttar Pradesh for her academic/research achievements and contribution to Higher Education.
Many prominent scholars like Prof. N.K. Siddhant, Prof. A.V. Rao (Vice Chancellor of University of Lucknow for two terms), Prof. Ramesh Mohan( Vice Chancellor, EFLU), Prof. D.D. Sharma, Prof. Raj Bisaria and many others have been associated with this department. The renowned writer Ahmed Ali studied and taught in this department in the 1930s and the 1940s. The long list of distinguished alumni includes-
Thirteen Major/ Minor Research Projects have been completed by the Department and one UGC and one State Government Project are in progress.