The tradition of outreach at ASU dates back to its days as the Arizona Territorial Normal School, when producing original literary work was encouraged in student and faculty publications. From the 1906 journal known as The Tempe Normal Student to the weekly 1932 Phoenix radio program that featured original poetry and prose from the college, through the 60s and 80s with the publication of The Prospector and Catalyst, and today through Channel 8’s Books & Co. and the award-winning Hayden’s Ferry Review, ASU creative writers have been reaching out to the community. Since the MFA program was established in 1984, our faculty, staff and students have been involved in projects in valley elementary schools, high schools, reservations, libraries, detention centers, Alzheimer’s units, and hospitals. More recently, through Piper Global Initiatives, students and faculty have been involved in exchanges with institutions and writing communities around the globe. In this way, the Creative Writing Program has opened the “classroom” to include the world.
The Young Writers at Work Program
Young Writers at Work projects are found in primary and secondary classrooms, libraries and community centers in our immediate community and beyond. These workshops are often one- or two-week residencies, wherein our graduate students teach in settings where the participants are not likely themselves to become writers. The program sends our MFA candidates from their own classrooms to the classrooms of others, where an understanding of writing is not based on theory or privilege, but on the real world, with the real considerations of age, ability, interest, and life experience. The program began in 1985 in the Phoenix Public Libraries, and our first partners were The Friends of the Library. Many venues have followed, with community partners never hard to find. Some partners provide funds for the graduate students.
The Young Writers Program
The Young Writers Program (YWP) was founded in 1999 to provide arts-based opportunities for Arizona students in grades 4-12 to experience writing as a powerful means of expression and self-discovery, while simultaneously addressing important writing concepts and skills that increase chances for achievement. As part of ASU’s Office of Youth Preparation, YWP is committed to providing opportunities for Arizona students to experience success in their academic and personal lives. YWP works in partnership with ASU’s Creative Writing Program, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and other organizations to provide a unique educational resource to Arizona’s communities by training, placing, and supporting Master of Fine Arts candidates to work as teaching artists in local schools, community-based organizations, and other ASU outreach programs that serve youth. This approach enhances ASU’s ability to strengthen its communities by providing 4-12th grade students with creative writing programs designed to foster an understanding and enthusiasm for writing as a life-long skill, providing classroom teachers with ideas for curriculum enhancement, and providing opportunities for MFA students to develop as teaching artists by practicing in a wide variety of educational settings. For more information please visit: http://ywp.asu.edu.