I just got off the phone w/ my son. He’s a FY at Kenyon and planning on declaring his English major w/ concentration in Creative Writing very soon. He told me today that he attended a departmental meeting this week and learned some interesting things are coming to the Eng/CW dept.
First, as you may or may not know Kenyon just completed renovating/building the new English Quad. As such, they’ve also hired several new Eng/CW profs. They’ve done this to grow the dept’s offerings aaaaannnnd… have a Creative Writing major!! This may not happen right away, but it’s coming! They also want to add a bunch of new classes. My S said these are still being discussed but he said some possibilities being thrown about are: Writing the Novel (probable year long class), Graphic Novels (might be in conjunction w/ Art Dept), Screenwriting (currently in the Film Dept, might become part of an interdiscipline). He said there were others, but these were off the top of his head.
Secondly, to take any of the Advanced(300 level) writing courses there has historically been a thorough application process. But one of the things they have noticed is that this process skews toward students who have been able to attend very elite high schools. Factors such as: taking CW classes, attending CW camps, and taking part in literary magazines (all in a high school setting) are what will differentiate b/w kids who are accepted and those who are not. If you are a student who didn’t have these in your high school, you are already starting from the back of the line and will have much more difficulty being accepted into the higher level writing classes. These higher levels courses are required for the current Creative Writing concentration.
The profs are also not happy about non-English major students not being able to take these classes. They are acknowledging the non-inclusiveness of the whole thing… and are looking to make changes!
My son is a little disappointed that some of these changes are coming a bit late for him. He won’t be able to major in CW, only have the concentration. But he’s also excited!! These are good changes and it looks like some will be coming very quickly. He and most of his friends in the dept had been planning on spending a year abroad… now some are seriously re-thinking that plan. Some are thinking about only going abroad for a semester, if at all, b/c they want more opportunities to experience any changes.