West Virginia Wesleyan College :: NewPages Guide to Creative Writing Programs

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West Virginia Wesleyan College

Low-Residency MFA

Contact Information:

59 College Ave, Box 46

Buckhannon, WV 26201

Website: www.wvwc.edu/academics/gradprograms/MFA/

Program director: Jessie van Eerden

Program contact: Jessie van Eerden

Phone: (304) 473-8329

Email: vaneerden@wvwc.edu

Program Information:

Degrees offered: MFA

Type of program: low-residency

Length of program: 2 years

Genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry

Enrollment: 25

Total credits required: 49

Application deadlines: Oct 1 for winter residency, Mar 1 for summer residency (rolling admission)

Scholarships: yes (see website)

Assistantships: no

Core faculty: Mark DeFoe, Devon McNamara, Richard Schmitt, Jessie van Eerden, Doug Van Gundy, Eric Waggoner

Visiting faculty: Gail Galloway Adams, Mary Carroll-Hackett, Sarah Beth Childers, Laura Long, Karen McElmurray, Sara Pritchard, Carter Sickels, Aaron Smith, Crystal Wilkinson

Publishing/editing courses: no

Recent visiting writers: Maggie Anderson, Diane Gilliam, Terrance Hayes, Julia Kasdorf, Ann Pancake, Jayne Anne Phillips

Program description: Students join an extraordinarily warm community every summer and winter for an intensive ten-day residency that initiates an independent semester of apprenticeship completed off-site through correspondence with a mentor. Students work with a mixture of new and returning faculty, working one-on-one with a different mentor within their discipline throughout each residency and off-campus period. Located in central Appalachia, the program welcomes and fosters writing that explores place and identity, though that emphasis is secondary to fostering excellence in all writing. Interested students may substitute a residency in Ireland for one campus residency. Faculty-student ratio never exceeds 1 to 4.

The low-residency model is designed for serious, motivated writers. The model enables students to work toward a degree while balancing their work commitments and community life at their places of residence. Students are expected to dedicate 25 hours per week to the semester project they design with their faculty advisors. The low-residency rhythm of community and solitude, as well as its requirements of self-discipline and commitment, echoes the rhythm of the writing life. Wesleyan’s MFA is for writers who care deeply about writing and want to get better at it in the company of dedicated peers. Although we offer a postgraduate teaching fellowship, the program’s focus is not teacher preparation, but writing and working toward a manuscript of publishable quality.