Spalding University, which will begin Fall 2021 classes on Monday, has new faculty chairs leading two of its largest academic schools.

Dr. Svjetlana “Lana” Watson, previously a member of the nursing faculty of Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, is the new Chair of the Spalding University School of Nursing, and Dr. Sara Story has been promoted to the position of Chair of Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, where she is a longtime faculty member.

Both Watson and Story officially started their new positions on July 1. They also both hold the title of Associate Professor at Spalding.

Dr. Watson, who will oversee all of Spalding’s undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, spent the past five years as director of the traditional and accelerated tracks of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at IUPUC. There, she developed innovative models for clinical placements and enhancing preceptor training.

Lana Watson, Spalding School of Nursing Chair
Dr. Lana Watson, Spalding School of Nursing Chair

“I am excited to join the long tradition of nursing education at Spalding University,” Dr. Watson said. “I feel I was called to accept this position because of Spalding’s dedication to service and its strong relationship with the community it serves. My previous work included growing healthcare access in underserved rural areas through retention efforts of new nurse graduates. Spalding’s strong service focus closely aligns with my personal beliefs and education philosophy. As an educator, I am student-centered and believe with appropriate student support, success is within reach for every student. Growing and improving the program will be my first priority.”

Dr. Watson earned the degrees of BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice from Indiana Wesleyan University. She also taught on the nursing faculty of Spencerian College

Dr. Story has been a full-time member of the Spalding occupational therapy faculty since 2013. She is a Spalding alumna who earned the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, and Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership from the university. She also holds an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) from the University of St. Augustine.

Dr. Story will oversee Spalding’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate programs, which are among the largest graduate programs on campus, as well as its certificate program in Upper Extremity Rehabilitation. In addition, the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana assistive technology resource center, also known as enTECH, is a division of ASOT that is under Story’s leadership.

Sara Story
Dr. Sara Story, Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy Chair

Dr. Story enjoys using 3D printing to develop inexpensive assistive technology devices that aid clients of all ages in carrying out everyday tasks. Dr. Story is board-certified in gerontology through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Like Watson, Dr. Story is also an accomplished scholar and researcher who frequently presents at professional conferences and publishes scholarly articles.

“I am excited and honored to serve as Chair of the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy at Spalding and to take on this leadership role with such a dynamic faculty,” Dr. Story said. “Spalding is my alma mater, and ASOT has been a leader in occupational therapy education and research for years in this region, preparing hundreds of skilled, compassionate therapists. I am proud to work with devoted faculty who inspire students to grow and continue Spalding’s mission to meet the needs of the times.”

Dillon named Communication Interim Chair: Spalding also announces that Dr. Pattie Dillon, who is the Chair of the School of Liberal Studies, will also serve as Interim Chair of the School of Communication for the 2021-22 academic year. Dillon is a professor of history who has served as Faculty Senate President and Faculty Trustee.


In addition to the new Chairs, Spalding has had three faculty members step into new leadership roles as academic program directors for the 2021-22 academic year.

They are: Dr. Leslie Cairo, who will direct the Master of Social Work program; Dr. Nikki Jones, Doctor of Social Work program; and Professor Charles Maynard, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.


Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing – the state’s largest fall-spring reading series – will take place in a virtual format Tuesday, Nov. 10 through Friday, Nov. 20, featuring readings by faculty of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter Kevin Willmott will make a special appearance on Thursday, Nov. 19 to accept the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature.

All readings will take place virtually and are free and open to the public, but you must register separately for each event in order to receive the link to attend. The complete schedule of the festival, which is held in conjunction with the School of Writing’s fall residency, is listed below, and each session has a unique registration link.

Register here to attend Willmott’s presentation and prize ceremony, which will occur 5:30-6:45 p.m. Nov. 19.

The Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature was established to honor exceptional literary works that exemplify Spalding University’s mission. The $7,500 prize will be awarded to Willmott for his body of work in November during his virtual visit to the School of Writing, home of the nationally distinguished low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program.

Willmott, who in 2019 shared the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman, is also Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of Kansas and has spent his filmmaking career taking on the subject of racism in America. He is a frequent collaborator with Spike Lee, most recently on the critically acclaimed Vietnam film Da 5 Bloods. Willmott’s other films include the mockumentary CSA: The Confederate States of America (which he wrote and directed) and Chi-Raq, a retelling of Lysistrata in a violence-wracked neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side (which he co-wrote with Lee). The film critic Richard Brody called Willmott’s work “brilliantly imagined fictions.”

“Kevin Willmott is an extraordinary screenwriter and teacher,” said Kathleen Driskell, Chair of the School of Creative and Professional Writing. “BlacKkKlansman, which he wrote with Spike Lee and others, is the kind of work we aim to recognize with our Spalding Prize and bring to our students’ attention. BlacKkKlansman is courageous, unflinching, and beautifully written. Like his earlier work, it’s a relevant social commentary on our times.”

In 2019, the year Willmott won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay with co-writers Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, and Charlie Wachtel, the film was nominated for a total of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The screenplay was adapted from Black Klansman, Ron Stallworth’s memoir detailing his work as the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, during which he infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan of Colorado Springs. BlacKkKlansman premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix. The American Film Institute named it one of the top films of 2018.

Willmott has visited the Spalding MFA program twice before, most recently to talk about Chi-Raq. Prior to Willmott’s visit, all School of Writing students and faculty will read and discuss the screenplay for BlacKkKlansman and will view that film as well as Da 5 Bloods, Destination Planet Negro!, and CSA: Confederate States of America.




7:30 – 8:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Tuesday, November 10. Faculty Reading. Register:

  • Rachel Harper (fiction), This Side of Providence
  • Fenton Johnson (creative nonfiction, fiction), At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life, The Man Who Loved Birds
  • Lesléa Newman (writing for children and young adults), Gittel’s Journey: An Ellis Island Story
  • Douglas Manuel (poetry), Testify
  • Larry Brenner (writing for TV, screen, and stage), Growing Up Dead, Saving Throw Versus Love
  • Lynnell Edwards (poetry), This Great Green Valley

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Saturday, November 14. Faculty Reading. Register:

  • Leslie Daniels (fiction), Cleaning Nabokov’s House
  • Greg Pape (poetry), Four Swans: Poems
  • Jacinda Townsend (fiction), Saint Monkey
  • Roy Hoffman (fiction, creative nonfiction), Come Landfall, Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations
  • Erin Keane (professional writing, poetry), Demolition of the Promised Land
  • Sam Zalutsky (writing for TV, screen, and stage), Seaside (Now streaming on Amazon, iTunes, VUDU, and elsewhere)

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Tuesday, November 17. Faculty Reading. Register:

  • Kirby Gann (fiction), Ghosting
  • Jeanie Thompson (poetry), The Myth of Water: Poems from the Life of Helen Keller
  • Keith S. Wilson (poetry), Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love
  • Edie Hemingway (writing for children and young adults), Road to Tater Hill
  • Eric Schmiedl (playwriting), Browns Rules
  • Dianne Aprile (creative nonfiction), The Eye is Not Enough: On Seeing and Remembering

1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, November 19. Faculty Reading. Register:

  • Nancy McCabe (creative nonfiction, fiction), Can This Marriage Be Saved?, Following Disasters
  • Jeremy Paden (translation), Under the Ocelot Sun
  • Gabriel Dean (writing for TV, screen, and stage), Terminus, Qualities of Starlight
  • Silas House (fiction), Southernmost
  • Beth Ann Bauman (writing for children & young adults), Jersey Angel

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Thursday, November 19. Spalding Prize winner Kevin Willmott. Register:

  • Kevin Willmott, Academy Award-winning screenwriter. Credits include BlacKkKlansman, Da 5 Bloods, C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America. Willmott will be awarded the Spalding Prize for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Literature for his body of work.

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Friday, Nov. 20. Faculty Reading. Registration:

  • John Pipkin (fiction), The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter
  • Rebecca Walker (creative nonfiction, fiction), Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness, Adé: A Love Story
  • Robin Lippincott (fiction, creative nonfiction), Our Arcadia, Blue Territory
  • Kira Obolensky (playwriting), Hiding in the Open
  • Charlie Schulman (writing for TV, screen, and stage), Goldstein: A Musical About Family
  • Kathleen Driskell (poetry), Blue Etiquette

The reading schedule may change without notice. Check Facebook for updated information: For more information, call 502-873-4400 or email [email protected]. ‘

Faculty Focus Friday is a new Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. The first faculty member we’ll meet is Assistant Professor Minda Reves, who is in her first year as Director of the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program within the School of Liberal Studies. Reves, who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California-Riverside, is a successful freelance writer outside of her teaching duties. She’s had articles in essays published by the Oxford American, Longreads, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, Dropbox and elsewhere. She is an active member of Louisville’s literary scene serving on the Young Author’s Greenhouse board and leading community-based writing workshops for Sarabande’s Writing Labs.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I love the students and my colleagues and staff. Everyone is great, and there is a lot of openness, positivity, compassion and willingness to learn about each other amongst everyone on campus.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

I am the director of the undergraduate creative writing program. Personally, I write personal essays, memoir and a lot of article and content writing.

Why is your program a good option for new students to consider as their major? 

A lot of times students who are passionate about creative writing seem to shy away from it because either society or their parents have taught them that there is no money in writing despite the fact that there are millions of people around the world making a living as writers. I feel like college is the place for exploring what you are passionate about, and over the years we have pulled away from that. As the new director of the program, I am putting an emphasis on giving students the freedom and empowering them to find out what fascinates them through creative art. I am also realistic because I know after their time here they have to go into the workforce, and I have a strong understanding of what a writer’s life can look like. Whether you want to write full time, or if you have a day job and need to remain connected to the writing community, I can help these young writers find their path.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s BFA in Creative Writing and Spalding’s School of Liberal Studies 

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office?

I have a pretty minimalist aesthetic, so I think the most interesting thing about my office is how empty it is. I’m sure I will get more books and things, but I am into design and decor and have a specific aesthetic that will prevail as I spend more time in this office.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Getting to see people grow and light up as they are encountering new thoughts. I also find it rewarding that the same cycle is happening within me. I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students?

Changing the world starts with changing people, and the first person you can change is yourself. I think when students or peers see you are willing to change it inspires others to grow and change as people. Change is scary, and it’s easier to stay small and closed off. But the more you face your fears and step up, I think that inspires others, and it becomes a chain reaction.

Follow the Spalding BFA in Creative Writing program on Instagram at @spaldingcreativewritingbfa

Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series, will take place Saturday, Nov. 16, through Friday, November 22, with faculty and alumni of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. Bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang headlines the festival as Distinguished Visiting Writer.

Yang is the author of the Printz Award-winning American Born Chinese and the National Book Award Finalist Boxers & Saints, a boxed set of graphic novels. Yang has served as a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Yang will deliver a public reading and discussion of Boxers & Saints at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 21, at the Egan Leadership Center’s Troutman Lectorium at Fourth and Breckenridge. A reception and book signing will follow. Students and teachers are particularly encouraged to attend this event.

Plenty of free parking is available for the campus readings. All readings and events are free, ticketless, and open to the public.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.) The Anne and William Axton Series, in conjunction with the Louisville Literary Arts Writer’s Block Festival, presents award-winning novelist Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You. Book signing will follow.

5 – 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. Faculty Reading. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.)  Greetings by Kathleen Driskell.

  • Dianne Aprile (creative nonfiction), The Eye is Not Enough: On Seeing and Remembering
  • Douglas Manuel (poetry), Testify
  • Beth Ann Bauman (writing for children & young adults), Jersey Angel
  • Charlie Schulman (dramatic writing), Goldstein: A Musical About Family
  • Lynnell Edwards (poetry), Covet

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18. Celebration of Recently Published Books. Book signing to follow. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.) Introduction by Kathleen Driskell. Books provided by Follett.

  • K.L. Cook (fiction; creative nonfiction; poetry), Marrying Kind; The Art of Disobedience: Essays on Form, Fiction, and Influence; Lost Soliloquies
  • Helena Kriel (screenwriting), The Year of Facing Fire (a memoir)
  • Keith Wilson (poetry), Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love
  • Katy Yocom (fiction), Three Ways to Disappear

5:30 – 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20. Faculty Reading. (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.) Greetings by Lynnell Edwards.

  • Erin Keane (professional writing; poetry), Demolition of the Promised Land
  • Roy Hoffman (creative nonfiction; fiction), Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations; Come Landfall
  • Jason Howard (professional writing; creative nonfiction), A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music
  • Maggie Smith (poetry), Good Bones
  • Silas House (fiction), Southernmost
  • Kathleen Driskell (poetry), Blue Etiquette

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. Distinguished Visiting Writer Gene Luen Yang discusses ‘Boxers & Saints.’ (Egan Leadership Center, 901 S. Fourth St.) Introduction by Kathleen Driskell. Book signing to follow. Books provided by Follett.

5:45 – 6:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22. Faculty Reading. (Citation Room, 1st fl., Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway)

  • John Pipkin (fiction), The Blind Astronomer’s Daughter
  • Kira Obolensky (playwriting), Hiding in the Open
  • Robin Lippincott (fiction; creative nonfiction), Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South; Blue Territory
  • Rachel Harper (fiction), This Side of Providence
  • Bruce Romans (screenwriting), Executive Producer of Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix and AMC’s Hell on Wheels

The reading schedule may change without notice. Check Facebook for updated information: For more information, call 502-873-4400 or email [email protected].

About Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing: Spalding’s graduate creative writing school, Kentucky’s first school of writing, offers three low-residency programs, including the flagship 65-credit-hour MFA in Writing program; a 35-credit Master of Arts in Writing, offering tracks in creative writing and professional writing; and a 15-credit graduate certificate in writing, also with two tracks. The School of Writing offers concentrations in fiction; poetry; creative nonfiction; writing for children and young adults; writing for TV, screen, and stage; and professional writing. Students begin the semester in the spring, summer, or fall with a residency in Louisville or abroad, then return home for an independent study with a faculty mentor for the rest of the semester. Students may customize the location, season, and pace of their studies. See for more information, or find us on Twitter @SpaldingWriting.

Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing welcomes acclaimed television and film writer and producer Bruce Marshall Romans to the faculty. Romans, whose television writing and producing credits include Hell on Wheels and Marvel’s The Punisher, will deliver a lecture about writing for TV at the upcoming November residency before taking on full teaching duties with the Spring 2020 semester, when he will lead a writers’ room workshop at the May residency and mentor screenwriting students in independent study.

Romans writes and develops film and television projects in Los Angeles. His television credits include selling a variety of original drama pilots to networks including ABC, NBC, Fox, Lifetime, and FX. He has written and produced four seasons of Hell on Wheels on AMC, Steven Spielberg’s Falling Skies on TNT, Marco Polo and Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix, and Messiah, also for Netflix (to be released January 1, 2020). He is currently writing/co-executive producing a new drama, Deputy, for Fox, as well as developing and writing an original television pilot, also for Fox. His film credits include producing the independent film Blackbird and writing the independent film How You Look to Me.

A Louisville native, Romans is brother to Preakness Stakes-winning racehorse trainer Dale Romans and son of noted trainer Jerry Romans.

Learn More about Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing
Check out the School of Writing’s faculty and program blog

Bruce brings years of Hollywood experience to our programs, and we’re delighted he’s agreed to come on faculty to develop and teach a new workshop that will mirror an actual Hollywood writers’ room,” School of Writing Chair Kathleen Driskell said. “Our Spalding School of Writing students will now have the opportunity to work together to pitch ideas, break, and write episodes for an existing TV pilot in an enriching one-of-a-kind instructional experience.”

Romans joins Larry Brenner, Gabriel Jason Dean, Helena Kriel, Charlie Schulman and Sam Zalutsky on the screenwriting faculty of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing, which houses three low-residency graduate writing programs: the nationally recognized Master of Fine Arts in Writing, a 65-credit terminal degree focused on creative writing, as well as the new 35-credit Master of Arts in Writing and 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Writing, both of which offer creative and professional tracks. The School of Writing offers intellectual rigor, emotional support, affordability, flexibility, and community at the world’s first certified Compassionate University. The low-residency model helps students fit graduate school into their lives.

The School of Writing accepts applications year-round with an early placement deadline of February 1 for entry in the Spring 2020 semester, which begins with a 10-day residency on Spalding’s campus, May 22-31, or the Summer 2020 semester, which begins with a 10-day residency in Paris, dates TBA. To apply, visit


With Commencement approaching on June 1, Spalding is publishing a series of stories and Q&A’s that highlight students from a range of degree programs who are set to graduate. Next up is Allison Campbell, who is earning the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is also a Student Media Ambassador and has contributed guest blogs for this site on her decision to transfer to Spalding, her thoughts on attending MFA in Writing lectures and her experience in the study-abroad trip to Ireland.

What is your favorite Spalding memory?
My favorite Spalding memory is taking a giant leap out of my comfort zone and studying abroad in Ireland with fellow Spalding students, faculty, and staff.

Which accomplishments are you most proud of during your time at Spalding?
During my time at Spalding, I am most proud of my completion of an internship with Louisville Literary Arts, pitching a novel to two literary agents whom I connected with through my internship, and writing stories that have helped me develop my writing craft.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
My favorite spot on campus is the Mansion because it’s antique and creaky like out of an old movie.

At Spalding, we like to say that, “Today is a great day to change the world.” For many of our students, Commencement is a world changing experience. After graduation, how do you plan to change the world, big or small, and who inspires you to be a #spaldingworldchanger?
After graduation, I plan to change the world with my writing by telling stories that can help inspire people, make them laugh and make them feel like they aren’t alone. My brother, Sean Campbell, who works in financial aid at Spalding) inspires me to be a #spaldingworldchanger because he always does the right thing, loves to help other people and challenges me to be the best person I can be.

Literature has always held a special place in Taylor Riley’s psyche. Maybe she developed it from her mother, who read books to Taylor while she was still in the womb. Or maybe it was her grandmother, who told her she knew her granddaughter’s name would be in the paper someday. Whatever the cause, Taylor’s passion for reading and writing was evident from childhood, as she watched and reported on things she witnessed in her neighborhood.

On June 1, Taylor will graduate from Spalding University with her Master of Fine Arts in Writing degree. And in addition to serving as a 2019 class representative and receiving an Eileen Egan Graduate Award, she is already making changes in her community.

Taylor, who earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Kentucky, is currently using Spalding’s MFA education, along with her writing talent, as a voice for those living in small-town America. Working as the editor of the Henry County Local has given her the opportunity to shine a light on important local stories and issues that might otherwise go unheard and unnoticed.

“We need to be able to keep our government accountable for its actions,” she said. “Keeping the public informed, asking questions and always seeking the truth is the most effective way I know how to do that.”

While studying for her MFA at Spalding, Taylor’s desire to pursue narrative journalism became a need. She began working on a book of essays, Fearful Female, which is currently in the publishing process. The essays focus on her personal fears and how she’s overcome them, as well as broader fears she feels that many women can relate to. She hopes her book will help other women identify and overcome their own fears.

“The MFA program at Spalding really helped me sharpen and hone my writing,” Taylor said. “But it also helped me come out of my personal shell, make new connections and network with others in the industry.”

Spalding’s MFA program also left Taylor with a new passion. She will begin teaching monthly writing workshops at a local library and classes at Bellarmine University. Taylor believes today’s journalists need to begin thinking differently about their field. The internet and social media have revolutionized the news industry, and learning to adapt to new communication technologies is crucial. She wants to share her wealth of literary and journalistic knowledge with others eager to join the field.

“Spalding is the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said.

Nineteen years after launching the state’s first Master of Fine Arts in Writing program, Spalding University is announcing another first: the creation of a new School of Creative and Professional Writing, the first and only school of writing in Kentucky.

Building on the success of the university’s nationally distinguished MFA in Writing program, the newly formed School of Creative and Professional Writing incorporates Spalding’s two existing graduate writing programs—the MFA and a post-baccalaureate certificate in creative writing—as well as a newly created Master of Arts in Writing program, currently pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Kathleen Driskell, the current MFA program director and an award-winning poet, steps into the role of Chair of the School of Creative and Professional Writing.

Together, the three programs create a three-tiered offering for writers seeking graduate education in writing in one, two or four semesters, all offered in a low-residency format.

“With our existing programs in creative writing, Spalding is already one of the most innovative and affordable graduate writing programs in the U.S.,” Driskell said. “With the addition of the MAW and our new status as a school of writing, Spalding becomes one of the most innovative, comprehensive and affordable low-residency graduate writing schools in the country.”


Here’s a summary of the three programs:

One semester: The 15-credit-hour Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Creative Writing is earned in a single semester of creative writing study.

Two semesters: The new Master of Arts in Writing program, pending SACSCOC approval, will be offered as a 35-credit degree with two tracks—creative writing and professional writing. The latter track focuses on topics such as editing and publishing, grant-writing, ghostwriting, speechwriting and business writing. The program includes a Capstone residency.

Four semesters: The MFA will continue fulfilling its role as the university’s flagship graduate writing program, a 65-credit-hour terminal degree offering concentrations in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, writing for children and young adults, screenwriting, and playwriting. The program includes a graduation residency.

The new Master of Arts in Writing offering addresses the need for writing mastery, a key for advancement in nearly all workplaces. With completion possible in about a year, and total tuition of about $20,000, the MAW degree lowers barriers of cost and time for students for whom the MFA may be out of reach. Additionally, MAW students may opt to matriculate into the MFA program, allowing Spalding students to earn a master’s degree on the way to completing the terminal MFA, and for about the same costs as the MFA program alone.

The School of Creative and Professional Writing expects to admit its first MAW students for its Fall 2019 semester, which begins in November.

“The MAW meets the needs of writers who want advanced writing study but don’t necessarily need or want the terminal degree,” Driskell said. “At the same time, our MFA students will continue to receive the most rigorous and extensive terminal creative writing instruction possible while also gaining further opportunities to be enriched by Profession of Writing lectures and the option to participate in a Professional Writing workshop during their studies.”

Like the MFA, the Master of Arts in Writing and the post-baccalaureate certificate programs are offered in a low-residency format, in which each semester begins with a residency course conducted on campus or abroad, followed by an independent study course that the student completes from home while working one-on-one with a faculty mentor.

Students in the certificate and MAW programs meet the same admission standards as MFA students, and students in all three programs attend the same residencies and are taught by MFA faculty. This arrangement allows both certificate and MAW students to advance seamlessly into the MFA program if desired. Tuition in the 2019-20 academic year for programs in the School of Creative and Professional Writing is expected to be $585 per credit hour.


For writers who have not been admitted to the MFA program, the School of Creative and Professional Writing also offers a standalone three-credit-hour course, ENG605: Advanced Creative Writing, in which the student works one-on-one with a faculty mentor. ENG605 is completed from home and does not include a residency component.

Alumni of the MFA in Writing program include a former poet laureate of Kentucky, nationally bestselling authors, feature film scriptwriters, and winners of prestigious awards in every area of writing that the program offers.

Application deadlines for programs in the School of Creative and Professional Writing are Aug. 1 for entry in the fall (November) semester and Feb. 1 for entrance in spring (May) and summer (July) semesters.


RELATED | Middle-grade and picture-book author Leah Henderson joins faculty

One privilege of being a student in Spalding’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program  is that I can attend some of the lectures of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program during its residencies. During the MFA fall residency, which took place Nov. 10-18, I attended two lectures.

The first was titled, “1798: Poetry’s Punk Moment: Lyrical Ballads With A Few Other Poems,” and was given by MFA program director Kathleen Driskell, who is an award-winning poet. The lecture was very relevant to me at the time because I was taking a Romanticism class during which we studied many of the poems that were mentioned in Driskell’s lecture. It was exciting for me to hear the information I learned as a BFA creative writing student being applied in an MFA lecture. Attending the lecture made me appreciate my BFA class even more because I could see the value of what I was learning. The “punk” aspect of the lecture was taken from a quote by a Guardian book reviewer and referred to the influential and liberal language used by poets William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge during the age of Romanticism. Wordsworth and Coleridge were essentially hippies or punks because of the way they looked at the world differently.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s BFA in Creative Writing program

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s MFA in Creative Writing program

The second lecture I attended was, “What Happened to My Essay? How to Survive Writing for Magazines,” by Cathy Medwick. Medwick is former senior editor at Vogue and Vanity Fair, so she really knew what she was talking about. This lecture was very informative — I took a full page of notes. Even though I am fairly new to creative nonfiction and have not written very many essays that could be published, I found it valuable to hear how to deal with editors and the process of submission.

ALSO FROM ALLISON CAMPBELL  | Why transferring to Spalding was the right choice for me

Being able to participate in the MFA residency was a great way to learn new information while being exposed to what an MFA program is really like. The experience made me want to go to grad school even more to further my education. I am always looking for ways to improve my writing, so I really appreciated this awesome opportunity.

Allison Campbell is a senior in Spalding’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. 


For much of my sophomore year of college, I was very unhappy. There were many reasons for this, one of them being that I was feeling unsatisfied by my college experience.

At the time, I was attending a different school. Even though I was involved in many campus activities — choir, voice lessons, German club, film club, the literary magazine and the school newspaper — I still felt like I didn’t belong there anymore. Plus, I wasn’t working, and I was constantly aware of the fact that I had very little money. I questioned whether it was worth all the debt I was accumulating.

Over the summer, my parents gave me an ultimatum: Get a job to help pay for school or transfer somewhere less expensive. I was having trouble finding a job due to the chronic pain that I had in my hands, wrists, and arms that made doing certain kinds of work much harder, so this put a lot of stress on me. Even though I was going to be paying for college mostly by myself, I knew they were right. I wasn’t in a position to go to a school as expensive as the one where I was, especially with my lack of satisfaction.

Because my family lived in Louisville, my parents suggested Spalding University, which had a creative writing program that interested me and where I had applied and been admitted out of high school.  I was reluctant at first because I had many friends at my first college whom I didn’t want to leave, but my parents and I ended up going to speak to Spalding’s admissions staff.

The people at Spalding helped put my mind at ease and made the process of transferring so much easier than I had anticipated. I also liked the idea of Spalding’s six-week sessions, in which you focus on one or two classes at a time; that was very different than anything I had done before.

My ideal college was a small one with a good creative writing program, and Spalding met those requirements. I also was interested in studying abroad, and Spalding had a study-abroad program to Ireland— where I had wanted to go for a very long time. It was too good to be true.

I spoke with the director of the creative writing program, Dr. Merle Bachman, who made me feel comfortable about the classes I would be taking. I also liked that I’d be required to do an internship. I had always wanted to do one, and I thought it would be a good transition to the real world.

I also would be living on campus in the Spalding Suites, which were much nicer than the dorms I was used to.

In the end, I said yes to Spalding.

One year later, I have gone on the study-abroad trip to Ireland for two weeks, started an internship at Louisville Literary Arts, and I live closer to my family and my fiancé.

I am very happy with the decision I made, and I’m excited for the rest of my senior year.

Allison Campbell is a Spalding University senior majoring in creative writing.