How does creative writing have practical applications for undergraduates with career aspirations outside of traditional publishing? Buzzwords such as “career preparedness,” “job readiness,” and “professional development” are prevalent in higher education today, but how can these larger institutional goals be incorporated into a creative writing curriculum that serves varied student interests? As Graeme Harper observes in Creative Writing and Education, “creative writing does not by nature stay contained in one mode of engagement, that the word ‘creative’ represents a fluidity of actions and results” (10). This presents an important challenge to educators—how do we make transparent that the skills gained through academic study of creative writing reach far beyond the publication of creative work?

With the recent turn in graduate education toward the public humanities and non-academic careers, as reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, creative writing can tailor pedagogy toward similar goals outside of academia. Joining in this call for applicability, from the 2019 Special Issue of the Journal of Creative Writing Studies to Trent Hergenrader’s Collaborative Worldbuilding, this panel discusses how creative writing courses can explicitly offer undergraduates opportunities to apply skills learned in the classroom in professional contexts. Assignments that facilitate how students can impact the communities in which they live and learn will be discussed, including professional storytelling for local businesses and communities; involvement in literary conferences and reading series; and translating written genres into more accessible forms through digital platforms, such as video games, webinars, and podcasts.

BenselCoffeyIntroCWSC2020.mov (31764 kB)
Conference presentation video: Introduction

BenselPresentationCWSC2020.mov (199661 kB)
Conference presentation video: Presentation 1

CoffeyPresentationCWSO2020.mp4 (487079 kB)
Conference presentation video: Presentation 2