Creative profession

Haley Olson, Staff Writer

UND’s English department has halted its search for a creative writing tenure track professor.

With the spring semester starting, there will be changes in many departments, including in the English department on campus. With 16.5 professors currently employed within the English faculty, there is a halt for the creative writing professor on campus. With the recent loss of their two creative writing professors within the last year, the department will solely rely on graduate students to teach the introductory courses for the time being.

Hiring a temp. will be a stop gap. They would teach as if they were on a tenure track.

— Eric Wolfe - Department Chair

With more budget cuts expected to be made, the English department halts the search for another professor with labor and cost already put forth into the effort to hire a new tenure-track professor. Though the search for a tenure-track professor has been halted, the department is now seeking a non-tenure track professor to hire for creative writing. This professor will be qualified to teach higher division classes as well as introductory courses.

“Hiring a temp. will be a stop gap,” department chair professor Eric Wolfe said. “They would teach as if they were on a tenure track.”

The department started off the year searching for a creative writing professor to start in the fall of 2017. With over 100 applicants, Sheila Liming, Eric Wolfe and Crystal Alberts narrowed it down to ten applicant interviews that were scheduled to be interviewed this semester, but they have since been eliminated from the scheduled plan.

“We have been receiving very encouraging responses from our applicants,” Wolfe said after telling them the news on the freeze of the position.

“We had ten candidates scheduled for interviews, all of whom had extremely strong teaching and publication records (some of whom were even nominated for recent, high-ranking / national book prizes),” Liming said.

“We had strong candidates, we are looking for individuals with a strong background in fiction but also have a strong expertise like poetry,” Wolfe said. “We don’t want to be without creative writing.”

The English department is waiting on the legislature to make decisions, but assures that there will be a professor to teach creative writing; with the Dean of Art and Sciences, Debbie Storrs in full support. Storrs plans on hiring the tenured professor as soon as the budget is lifted.

This will be the first semester that the English department will not have a tenured professor specifically for creative writing, but Wolfe hopes to look into the tenured position in the fall.

“The value of creative thinking is recognized by UND’s Essential Studies program, which requires that every student take at least one course in the Fine Arts,” Wolfe said. “We will have creative writing.

“Creative literary expression has always been a tremendously important part of human experience, whether that is oral narrative, poems, stories, novels, autobiography, whatever.  Therefore, it is an important part of a college education to nurture and develop that human tradition and to deepen students’ engagement with it,” Wolfe said. “We want to get back to the point in which we will have two creative writing professors back.”

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