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November 19, 2010

Core art requirement opens to creative writing

The Committee on Creative Writing now offers courses that count toward the undergraduate general education requirement in the arts.

The winter quarter courses, entitled Reading As a Writer: Chicago Stories and Introduction to Genres: Writing and Performance, join the current slate of drama, music, visual arts, and art history courses that fulfill the requirement.

Incorporating creative writing into the Core is the next step in solidifying what has been a gradual expansion of the creative writing program at the U of C, said English professor Janice Knight, chair of the Committee on reative Writing. “Up until the past three to four years, Creative Writing has been a program that has been in the phases of development,” she said.

Although Creative Writing is not a standalone department within the University, the program continues to grow. It established “adequate institutional standing or support” to begin offering Core-level courses in addition to offering a minor and upwards of 30 courses per year, Knight said.

Considerable demand for courses in the Creative Writing program in previous years indicated to the committee that students would be receptive to the new arts options. “We have such demand for our courses that we saw a pretty widespread interest,” committee coordinator Kate Soto said. “Students want to get an introduction to creative writing.”

First-year English major Hannah Sullmer said she wanted to take a creative writing class anyway, and was happy to hear that she could “kill two birds with one stone.”

“Especially as an English major and someone who really enjoys writing and hopes to do that someday, it’s really awesome to do something that involves writing,” she said.

Two similar Core-fulfilling creative writing courses will debut spring quarter. The plan is for these options to be made available on a quarterly basis, Soto said.

Students are required to take six courses in civilization studies and the humanities, with at least one and no more than two of the courses fulfilling the arts requirement.

The two creative writing classes offered during Winter quarter which satisfy the Core requirement in the arts are being taught by experienced intructors.

Reading as a Writer: Chicago Stories, which will be taught by English lecturer Garin Cycholl, “invites writers to reconsider the influence of Chicago’s public and private spaces on genre and artistic form,” according to a department mailing.

Introduction to Genres will be taught by English lecturer Megan Stielstra. It focuses on the intersection of writing and performance and will involve various forms of multimedia pieces and culminates in a final storytelling performance. Both courses are capped at 12 students and are limited to one section each.

Soto said she hopes the Core credit will attract students from all parts of the College. “Creative writing really isn’t something just English majors can benefit from,” she said.

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