This past May I graduated with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. I knew going in freshman year that I wanted to major in Creative Writing, so I was taking a variety of English courses from the get-go. The Writing Program is within the English Department that falls within the college of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Since I was taking courses within the program for 4 years, and most of my friends were as well, I wanted to share some areas that could use improvement or courses that need to be removed/changed. While I did learn and grow within the program, I was expecting much more from the program in terms of opportunities, courses, and general education, than was provided to me. I feel that the program could benefit from some restructuring and actual awareness of what their students want to learn in relation to writing.
The first program fault, that is a rather major fault, is their language requirement. Requiring four semesters of a language (101, 102, 201, and 202) is extremely unnecessary and a waste of time. No writing student I knew planned to write their stories or novels in another language, and most of us don’t even speak the second language we were forced to learn. Requiring two semesters (101 and 102) would be fine as that allows us to decide if we want to continue learning and fills the general education requirements. Anything beyond that should be an option as those were two classes I wasted. Instead of not learning French, I could have taken two more English courses and learned more about writing.
The second program fault is its lack of options for writing courses. Aside from the four workshop classes (that are required anyway) there are not really any options for courses that focus on actual writing. There should be more workshop courses, or just courses in general, that focus on different types of writing. While there are business and technical writing courses available, those aren’t what we wanted. We wanted science fiction and fantasy courses. Romance and drama, horror, and all sorts of genre classes! Writers need to be given the opportunity to study these genres, practice writing in them, and hone in on a genre they already love. The UofA writing program needs to acknowledge that we are the future of writing, and provide genre focused courses.
Finally, and this is a bit more of an English department issue, the tenured professors. If you are going into the program, avoid them at all costs! They are the meaneset, cruelest, careless people I have ever met. They have their heads so far up their asses because they’re pretty sure they’re the shit. They expect their students to just magically know everything they spent the last 30 years learning, and then get mad when you don’t. They don’t teach, they just expect. Now, there are some great professors within the program that are happy to help out their students. But I have never met a tenured professor who cared about their students.
One thing to remember, no program is perfect. I am aware of this fact. However, there is always room for improvement and these things I have spoken about would vastly improve the program if they were addressed and changed. There were good things about the program as well, such as the kind (younger) professors who wanted us to grow and the internship opportunities provided through the program.
I hope you found this beneficial, interesting, or just entertaining. It was somewhat of a chance for me to rant about my personal issues with the program! Please like and share this post (especially with the University of Arizona!!!).