Julianna Baggott, Assistant Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida State University, writes in with this of-the-moment response to a recent NY Times article: "Tough Times Strain Colleges Rich and Poor"
Julianna has kindly reached out to this blog community in recent months--perhaps forecasting a trend toward more transparency and accessibility to program information in the MFA application process. Have a read!
In Reponse to the NY Times Article
I read it and thought immediately of all of you.
Let me preface by saying that I've never suggested that anyone go into creative writing for the money, and I never will. That said, if you're passionate, I don't know that there's any good time to defer a dream. In fact, maybe, in light of the job market, now is a good time to slip under the umbrella of graduate study, to reemerge when the market rebounds... one hopes.
I think that everyone here at Florida State is very aware of trying to protect our graduate programs and, in particular, TA lines. I would be surprised if that weren't true of all well-respected programs. What's more, in discussions here, amid all of the talk of the economic crisis, suggestions have actually come up to take a specific look at creative ways to try to boost stipends, cutting in other areas. As long as we're cutting, we may as well think about cutting strategically!
Toward the end, the article in the NYTimes states that "Given the current climate, some say, colleges need to re-examine all of their economic assumptions." Maybe I'm just an optimist, but this is an opportunity for universities to make difficult decisions. Some of those decisions might actually end up benefiting creative writing programs, which have grown exponentially on a national level in the last couple of decades and continue on an upward sweep.
Of course, you all have to look long and hard at the funding (as well as cost of living) of the here and now. You shouldn't have to defer a dream, but you also shouldn't have to get heaped in debt for one either.
-- Julianna Baggott, Assistant Director, Creative Writing Program, Florida State University
Email Julianna with questions: JCBAGGOTT at aol dot com, or check out the FSU Creative Writing Program