Lawrence University is launching a new Creative Writing major and a new Statistics and Data Science minor, both beginning in the fall.
They both mark significant additions to the school’s liberal arts curriculum.
Creative Writing: Students in the English program now have two curricular tracks to choose from, one leading to a major in Creative Writing and the other to a major in Literature.
“We’ve seen more prospective
students articulating their desire to focus directly on creative writing,” said
David McGlynn, professor of English and chair of the English department. “More
current and prospective students are seeking graduate-school and career
opportunities in writing. We believe the new track system will allow students
more flexibility to pursue their goals.”
Lawrence has offered a minor in creative writing for nearly a decade. New courses are being added, including an introductory creative writing course designed for first-year students and a senior seminar in creative writing for graduating seniors.
For a full story on the launch of the new Creative Writing: English major, go here; find a web page with more detail here.
Statistics and Data Science: The new Statistics and Data Science minor will be housed in the Mathematics department and will strengthen offerings in an area that is increasingly in demand. The use of statistics and data analysis has grown in fields across the liberal arts spectrum, making it a sought-after minor in a lot of disciplines.
“Data scientists are working with
bioinformatics, genetics; it’s huge in economics, and it’s become a huge thing
in political science,” said Andrew Sage, an assistant professor of statistics
who came on board a year ago and has helped bring the new minor to fruition.
Sage was hired in 2018 and Abhishek
Chakraborty joined the faculty in 2019, giving Lawrence two professors deeply
invested in statistics and data and allowing for the addition of numerous
courses and the development of the minor.
For a full story on the launch of the Statistics and Data Science minor, go here; find a web page with more detail here.
Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: email@example.com
Students looking to major in Creative Writing can now do so at
Lawrence University, marking a significant shift in how the school’s English
curriculum is structured.
Beginning in the fall, students in the English program will have two curricular tracks to choose from, one leading to a major in Creative Writing and the other to a major in Literature.
new ‘track’ system in the English department—essentially two majors, one in
literary analysis and the other in creative writing—beautifully showcases the
range of talent within our faculty while giving students the opportunity to
explore their passions as readers, critics, and writers to the fullest range of
their ability,” said Provost and Dean of Faculty Catherine Gunther Kodat.
See details on the new Creative Writing: English major here.
McGlynn, professor of English and chair of the English department, said the
newly launched Creative Writing: English major will allow students who want to
focus on writing to do so with more depth and purpose. It will build on—not
replace—an English major with deep roots, one that has produced a wide range of
novelists, journalists, technical writers, poets, and book editors through the
seen more prospective students articulating their desire to focus directly on
creative writing,” McGlynn said. “More current and prospective students are
seeking graduate-school and career opportunities in writing. We believe the new
track system will allow students more flexibility to pursue their goals.”
has offered a minor in creative writing for nearly a decade. Many of the
writing courses — taught mostly by McGlynn and colleagues Melissa Range and
Austin Segrest — are already in place. But new offerings will be added,
including an introductory creative writing course designed for first-year
students as well as a senior seminar in creative writing for graduating
the Literature: English major also will see new classes added, including one
that focuses on academic writing at the advanced level and expanded offerings
in the study of historically underrepresented writers.
“Both tracks will allow students more opportunities to focus on what they want to do with the English major,” McGlynn said.
has had no shortage of successful writers coming out of its English department
through the years. Most recently, Madhuri Vijay ’09 had her debut novel, The Far Field, longlisted for the 2020
Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
writing students learn how to work hard and to have faith in themselves over
the long haul,” McGlynn said. “Developing as a creative writer takes years and
the process can’t be cut short. But when we, as professors, find students who
love to write, we do our best to encourage them to go big, to go for it.”
addition to those who have become novelists or published authors, English
graduates from Lawrence have found success in dozens of other fields where the
ability to write and think analytically is so important.
skills learned in English classes, such as writing, communication, analysis,
critical thinking, have applications far beyond studying literature,” McGlynn
said. “Along with the writing comes the ability to look into the perspectives
of other people, to consider things through someone else’s point of view. That turns
out to be pretty good training for fields like social work, counseling,
psychology; we’ve had students go on to study medicine, law, business, and
library science. The possibilities really are endless.
when they get those opportunities, the writing, the thinking, the ability to
sympathize and analyze simultaneously comes in really, really handy.”
is often a popular option for a double major. The new Creative Writing major
adds new possibilities across campus that has Kodat excited.
particular, it will be exciting to see what kinds of collaborative student
projects the new track in Creative Writing unleashes at Lawrence, with its
depth of course offerings in music and visual art,” Kodat said. “Expect to be
dazzled and astonished.”
Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It will be a homecoming of sorts for award-winning writer and Appleton native Lan Samantha Chang when she returns to the Lawrence University campus to receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Sunday, June 12 at the college’s 167th commencement ceremony.
Chang, the director of the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, also will serve as the principal commencement speaker. This will be Chang’s first honorary degree.
“An understanding of the creative process is core to the education Lawrence offers,” said President Mark Burstein. “We are very pleased that Lan Samantha Chang will join us for commencement this spring so we can honor an Appleton native who has perfected her craft and now teaches it to others as director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. From her first book, which the New York Times described as ‘a taut, incisive study of Chinese immigrants in America and their almost wordless struggle to adapt to a new life,’ to more recent work, Samantha has provided us a window into the human experience.”
Chang, whose parents emigrated to the United States from China, graduated from Appleton West High School in 1983. Her honorary degree will further connect her to Lawrence. Her mother earned a bachelor of music degree in piano pedagogy from Lawrence, while her father was an associate professor of engineering at the former Institute of Paper Chemistry, which had a long affiliation with Lawrence.
“Receiving an honorary degree from Lawrence means a great deal to me,” said Chang, “in part because when I was growing up, Lawrence was the center of intellectual life in Appleton. It is a greatly respected university. I have vivid memories of being at the conservatory during my mother’s recitals and meeting her professors.”
Her path to award-winning writer followed a circuitous route. Chang attended Yale University intending to satisfy her parent’s wishes of pursuing a medical degree, but she soon decided becoming a doctor was not in her future. After earning a degree in East Asian Studies, she told her parents she would become a lawyer, another career option more designed to please her parents than her own interests. She eventually earned a master’s of public administration degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
“I realized that I didn’t want to pursue that direction either,” Chang explained of her second change of heart. “It was really just a question of coming to face the fact that I had never wanted to do anything else except write fiction and that it would be pointless to try to keep trying to do other things.”
Chang eventually enrolled at the University of Iowa and earned a master of fine arts in creative writing.
While she says her life has been much easier since then, “I don’t think I’ve ever circled as much as I did after college when I understood that I would have to disappoint my parents and pursue an uncertain life,” said Chang.
Before returning to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Chang taught creative writing at Stanford University as Jones Lecturer in Fiction, in Warren Wilson College’s MFA program for writers and at Harvard University as Briggs-Copland Lecturer in Creative Writing.
Since 2006, she has served as the program director of the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, where she also teaches English as the May Brodbeck Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Chang’s experiences as an Asian American inspired her to write two novels and a collection of short stories about the merging of Chinese and American culture and the dynamics of family and wealth in times of hardship or after war. Her works include 1998’s “Hunger: A Novella and Stories,” 2004’s “Inheritance: A Novel” and “All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost: A Novel” in 2010.
Chang’s work has been recognized with the 2005 PEN Open Book Award for “Inheritance,” while “Hunger” was the winner of the Southern Review Fiction Prize and named a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Award. Chang’s writing has been selected twice (1994, 1996) for inclusion in the yearly anthology “The Best American Short Stories.”
AboutLawrenceUniversity Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College” and Fiske’s Guide to Colleges 2016. Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.