creative writing in the bureaucracy

Last week I was informed that I had three days (not even) to submit a course proposal for a creative writing workshop (my dream come true!) Naturally, I put all else aside and frantically, feverishly composed what I thought was a strong draft of a creative writing syllabus and proposal. I searched through old papers, notes and syllabus of workshops I’d taken in the past. In the end I had what I thought was a strong draft, a theoretically based creative writing workshop on power and pleasure. Pretty hot, huh? 

I submitted the proposal and was then invited to a meeting to answer any questions. It was crazy early in the morning, but I went to bed early, woke rested, and arrived bright-eyed, with a mug of decaffeinated green in hand. (I’m not drinking any form of caffeine anymore.) At the meeting, I found out that there were eight proposals for a course that would be taught only three times next year. Several of the proposals were put under different course numbers to make more room.

All that was left were course proposals from full time faculty. I didn’t have a shot in hell. They were going to look out for each other, no matter how amazing my proposal was.

I ended up getting pushed to a summer session, which is completely separate from the school year. Essentially, they can put as many creative writing courses in the summer as they want, but there is no guarantee that they’ll make. If I teach this course, I cannot teach a composition course this summer. Basically, I am risking my summer wage to teach a class that may or may not even have enough students to make.

I left the meeting completely neutral. I wanted to be excited! I was teaching a writing workshop, finally! But it wasn’t quite a win. It was just kind of…strange. I left wondering, what just happened?

2 thoughts on “creative writing in the bureaucracy

    1. sherewin Post author

      I guess I was pretty naive. I didn’t realize how political it was going to be. Well, I knew it would be political, these things always are. I just didn’t think I’d be contending against full-time faculty. In the end, hopefully I will be able to teach the course this summer. Hopefully it all works out. Right now I still feel stunned from the intensity of putting it all together, the meeting, the interaction. Everything.


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