One of the greatest attractions of UT is its massive wealth of resources, boasting 13 colleges and schools that encompass more than 170 fields of study. However, UT does not offer a creative writing major.
To better accommodate passionate creative writing students and attract even more, UT must develop a creative writing Bachelor of Fine Arts program.
As someone who is interested in creative writing myself, the fact that UT does not offer a creative writing major was a deterrent during my application process. While the University does accommodate a large number of students with a less specialized certificate program, I would have appreciated the opportunity to study in a more in-depth creative writing major.
English and Religious Studies sophomore Meg Rogers noted how a creative writing major would have made her college decisions easier.
“In deciding where to go to school, I was super drawn to smaller liberal arts colleges because I could be in a creative writing major,” Rogers said. “I really struggled with choosing between those and UT because I wanted the big college feel, but I felt like I had to sacrifice the major that I wanted. Looking back, I would have been so excited if UT had a creative writing major, and it would’ve been a no-brainer to go to UT.”
David Ochsner, the director of public affairs for the College of Liberal Arts, explained some of the drawbacks of transitioning the creative writing certificate program into a major.
“If the creative writing program at UT were to be developed into a major, one immediate consequence would be a dramatic reduction in the number of students in the program, given the current capacity of our faculty teaching in this area,” Ochsner said in an email.
However, UT can invest resources to hire a greater number of creative writing faculty and could try to cross-list creative writing classes with other departments, minimizing the number of faculty that will need to be hired. Several comparable large public universities such as University of Arkansas, University of Michigan and some of the schools in the University of California system already offer creative writing majors.
According to The University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company, the College of Liberal Arts’s private endowment has a current market value of over $410 million. Some of this money could be invested in transitioning the certificate program into a major or simply creating a creative writing major in addition to a certificate.
“The creative writing certificate allows UT students, regardless of major, to follow a course of study that will advance their skills in creative writing and receive a credential for doing so,” said Ochsner. “For those who wish to further undergraduate literary preparation as readers and writers, they would be well-served to choose English as a major.”
There are UT students whose extensive creative writing passion requires the specialized focus that a creative writing major can provide.
“I think it could be a really cool opportunity to refine the people in the classes and be surrounded by people who are all in on creative writing, want to super develop that and have that as a career, which is something that I wish for in my creative writing classes now,” Rogers said.
Creative writing should be treated with the same professionalism and severity as any other career. UT should uphold its pledge to be a “university of the first class,” at the forefront of innovation and academic achievement, by devoting resources to the development of a creative writing major and facilitating the next generation of writers.
Margaret Butler is an undeclared freshman from Austin, Texas.