The major is particularly well-suited to a liberal arts college, say professors Rebecca Wee and Kelly Daniels, who will lead the program, because imaginative writers must know more than simply how to write.
Writers follow their interests — science, psychology, music, painting, philosophy, or whatever they may be. Creative writing encourages the habit of close observation coupled with reflection.
The new major naturally follows the development of many related opportunities for writers at Augustana in recent years.
* Tenured faculty in both poetry and fiction
* A literary series, The River Readings. The annual series brings about half a dozen literary artists from around the country and world to campus. These writers meet with classes to discuss their work and careers, and conclude their visit with a public performance in the beautiful Wallenberg Hall.
* Saga, Augustana's student-run art and literary magazine, publishing student fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual art work twice a year. The journal's board of editors regularly stages public readings in support of Saga.
* An extracurricular writing group, After Hours. Student writers, faculty mentors and other imaginative people meet in the Reading and Writing Center one night each week to challenge themselves with fun, spontaneous writing prompts, then read and discuss each other's work.
* A book press, East Hall Press
* Two writing fellows teach at in the department each year. This fellowship program generally invites recent graduates -- one poet and one fiction writer -- of the famed Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.
Creative writing as a major will require 10 courses, plus a Senior Inquiry project. An internship is recommended but not required. At least four of the courses will be workshops; five will be literature courses, and majors may choose one of two new courses called Forms of Poetry and Forms of Fiction (a mix of critical and creative writing).
The four-credit Senior Inquiry project requires students to complete and revise a creative manuscript, to read selected contemporary literature, and to reflect in writing on either their current relationship to literary tradition, or what they wish to do with their educations.
Creative writing students will be encouraged to work with Saga, to engage in internships with local arts management groups, to study abroad and to generally take advantage of all opportunities to grow as people and writers. Students may customize their majors in a variety of ways. Already many writers take independent studies and one student recently studied creative writing in Prague.
Wee and Daniels say creative writing will be well-suited for students who want to double-major.
Creative writers should graduate as excellent rhetoricians, trained in both critical and creative writing. During their time at Augustana, students will be strongly encouraged and guided to submit work for publication, thereby learning the business of creative writing. Students will gain the habit of keen observation and honest reflection.
Some students will wish to continue with a master of fine arts degree, a popular, though highly competitive option. Augustana's relationship and proximity to the University of Iowa make our students especially well positioned to be accepted at the Writer's Workshop, or other top programs. Many others with creative writing backgrounds find fulfilling work in editing and publishing, journalism, marketing or business in general.