Academic Catalog

English: Creative Writing Concentration (BA)

Program Description

Paying deep attention to how humans use language and cultural signs is an ethical and spiritual discipline, one that teaches intellectual humility even as it empowers us to transfigure the world. Our programs in creative writing, literature, and social justice foster each student’s capacity for empathetic understanding, imaginative insight, and compelling wordcraft. By exploring cultural productions (literature, film, technologies, social movements) of various peoples and time periods, our students learn how to wrestle—rigorously, inventively, and fearlessly—with complex human questions about race and class, gender and sexuality, faith and truth, and material Christian practices. By the time they graduate, students will have had extensive training in charitable critical thinking, analytical interpretation, persuasive argumentation, and intercultural competencies. These skills prepare students for a wide range of careers in areas such as publishing, marketing, and digital media; creative arts and entertainment; education and library science; law, medicine, or ministry; environmental studies; non-profits, social advocacy, and civil rights policy.

English Major: Creative Writing Concentration

The creative writing concentration of the English major gives students the opportunity to take multiple workshops in the areas of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. These courses focus particularly on questions of literary craft: how do certain author choices affect the reader? How might imagery and indirection, metaphor and ambiguity, communicate more powerfully than attempts to simply "say what you mean"? And how do writers build a supportive workshopping community, one that promotes disciplined creativity and fruitful criticism?

Both concentrations of the English major are well-suited for a wide variety of careers. The creative writing concentration is especially appropriate for students interested in pursuing a Master of Fine Arts and/or a career in imaginative writing.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the English major, students should be able to

  1. Interpret texts and cultural artifacts using “close reading,” a method of literary and cultural analysis that attends to a work’s genre, its linguistic and aesthetic features, and its effects on readers
  2. Place literature and other media in a historical context, understanding how any text (and its criticism) is part of a “long conversation” over time and across space
  3. Identify ways that texts can enforce, resist, or ameliorate problematic social systems of power
  4. Articulate the value of literary ways of knowing, especially in regard to metaphor, ambiguity, irony, paradox, and mystery
  5. Identify various literary and rhetorical strategies for putting Christian values in conversation with other religious and social perspectives
  6. Produce analytical writing that asserts a clear and significant claim, marshals compelling evidence, charitably anticipates and addresses alternative interpretations, and responsibly integrates and cites researched sources
  7. Articulate the value of recursive processes of drafting, revising, and sentence-level editing, whether in critical or creative writing