I was disappointed to read that the University of Alaska Board of Regents cut the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at the Anchorage campus.
This was the only low-residency creative writing program in the state, meaning an engineer on the North Slope could continue working full-time, then learn alongside nationally prominent authors in the summer; a mother could raise two little kids, care for her sick father and correspond with professors around the state on writing poetry; a lawyer could pursue his passion for fiction without interrupting his practice (these are real-life examples).
Creative writing is about exploring the best in humanity. It expands the possible by inciting our courage and conviction. It turns students into creators. Cutting an advanced creative writing program betrays a lack of confidence in Alaskans to become visionary creators.
Poetry and other creative genres are invaluable to any individual, but they also augment skills in strategy and innovation that are essential in facing an uncertain economy. Fortune 1,000 companies increasingly value lateral thinking and screen for emotional intelligence through personality tests. For top positions, it’s no longer only what you can do, which will become easy enough to automate; it’s how you think and what you alone can create.
Will the University of Alaska Anchorage’s creative writing faculty set up a new program at Alaska Pacific University? Will they find private donors to continue their work? I am confident they will find the more surgical and creative strategy that the board overlooked.
New York City, New York
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