Searching for creativity

Haley Olson, Staff Writer

With the spring term right around the corner, the English department is facing a crucial dilemma within the department.

With currently, 16.5 professors hired within UND, that number will be dropped down to 15.5 professors for Spring of 2017. Within these professors, the creative writing department will have an absence of hired professors to teach the course. Leaning on graduate students to teach the introductory level course.

The budget cuts have been cited as the reason that we were not able to begin the process of hiring a new creative writing faculty member earlier.

— Sheila Liming

With this absence, UND has been making cuts within the department; partly with the outcome that the budget cut made in the Spring of 2016 was made final.

To go along with the cut of professors, UND has decided to cut traveling funds.

Professors are now expected to travel and partake in academic work and conferences, but on their own terms.

“With regards to creative writing, in particular, the budget cuts have been cited as the reason that we were not able to begin the process of hiring a new creative writing faculty member earlier, once we learned of our creative writing faculty members departures,” Sheila Liming, assistant professor in the English Department, said.

With about 40 graduate students within the English department, the department cannot fulfill the essential requirements to continue on with a creative writing program until positions are filled. As a result, UND is not able to accept any graduate admissions for the creative writing program.

“For the meantime, though, the fact of those absences has resulted in our inability to accept graduate students who are creative writers.” Liming states. “Graduate students who focus on creative writing, specifically, will suffer in being denied dedicated support and oversight from creative writing faculty.”

Though the position for creative fiction writing will be fulfilled, the poetry position will remain vacant. The courses will still be offered for interested students as long as there are graduate students or lecturers that are still within the University.

“Graduate students who focus on poetry, in particular, will continue to be underserved by departmental resources,” Liming said.

Last year, UND had one creative poetry writing professor, who left based off of budget cuts and personal reasons. Not only is this cut influential at the graduate level but influences undergraduates as well.

“An undergraduate English curriculum without creative writing courses is like an undergraduate chemistry curriculum without a lab component,” Liming states. “Undergraduate creative writing classes taught within the English Department at UND have historically been very popular and are usually filled.

“This shows that there is a student demand for these classes, and student demands ought to be taken into serious consideration by university administration and faculty alike,” Liming said.

In regards to future professors, Liming and other English professors are in the midst of interviewing possible applicants. Though the department will not have the position filled for next semester, Liming hopes to have it filled for the Fall semester of 2017. As an alternative class, creative writing can be taken for a fine arts essential studies course.

Haley Olson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]