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The MFA program is designed to meet the needs of writers, scholars, educators and others who wish to improve their writing skills and abilities or to publish or write for personal or professional advancement. The proposed model is especially well suited for candidates who have family, work, or other personal commitments that also need to be balanced. The low-residency MFA program offers an opportunity for students to apply their prior knowledge and experiences to a study of a wide variety of genres and styles, including:
The program is carefully balanced between mentored study, learning with and from one's peers, individualized original writing, and applied field experience in a chosen community of practice.
The Creative Nonfiction concentration allows students to delve into such forms as the essay, memoir, or other more experimental forms of nonfiction writing. Within the chosen subgenre, each student is free to explore experience within such contexts as nature, the family, travel, sense of place, cultural landscapes, the world of work, or other contexts of personal and professional interest. In addition to continuous writing and revising of their own work, students will read assigned works of nonfiction and essays on nonfiction writing.
Students selecting the Fiction concentration will focus on the novel, writing for children, or writing for young adults. In each sub-specialization, they will create original works appropriate to their chosen sub-specialization, as well as read assigned works and essays related to writing in their chosen field.
The Program's curriculum emphasizes common core courses, specialization core courses, applied field experience, and the culminating products - the Creative Thesis and the Final Professional Presentation. Every course syllabus will specify learning outcomes, educational processes and formative evaluations that help participants achieve those outcomes, and summative assessment at certain stages during which participants are asked to demonstrate the degree of mastery. In this regard, it models the best practices suggested by the regional accreditation associations.
The Creative Thesis: The Creative Thesis is the penultimate written product produced by the student to demonstrate learning. Students in this proposed Program will be asked to write theses that seek to integrate original writing with scholarly discussion of the writing's place in the larger history, culture and tradition of its genre. The First and Second Core Faculty will oversee the thesis, and a third faculty member will act as a consultant in reviewing the final document. When all three faculty members have approved the Creative Thesis, the student will receive credit.
The Final Professional Presentation: The FPP is a culminating presentation in which each student will teach his /her community of peers about the topic of inquiry in the Creative Thesis. The student will present the findings of his/her Creative Thesis, including reading original writing, setting those works in the larger culture, tradition, and craft of his/her genre and sharing scholarly works that informed his/her program of study.