"Go where light is," encourages Theodore Roethke in his poem "A Field of Light." For RMC students, the "light" has been their own creativity. It is through increasing student interest that a creative writing major emerged at the College.
Five years ago, 14 student editors were asked what major they would have taken had they had all the choices in the world. The overwhelming response was creative writing. As a result, the English program developed a 42-credit major that combines a variety of writing courses with literature courses to teach students the genres of writing, as demonstrated by quality writers from a wide range of cultures.
The creative writing major at RMC works to provide numerous opportunities to encourage student growth and creativity. For the last 22 years, the English program has sponsored an annual student writing competition. Beginning with essay, poetry, and fiction categories, playwriting and writing to theme were added as interest grew. Submissions rose from 12 in 1990 to more than 260 last year, and an art competition was added as a way of enhancing student writing. In 1997, the student literary journal Soliloquy was reborn, and a senior seminar in writing was developed three years ago for the specific purpose of encouraging students to be writers, communicators, and editors. Each year the English program sponsors an evening of "Voices" for students to share their award winning pieces that have been selected for publication.
In recent years, students on campus have used their writing skills to publish the literary journal (Soliloquy), write for the student newspaper (The Summit), initiate their own creative newspaper (Under the Rock), and complete internships with local newspapers, television stations, the RMC publications office, and The Writer's Voice of Billings. Over the past several years, writing students have had the opportunity to participate in the New York City Writer's Tour, a three-credit course focused on workshops and seminars on publishing, editing, magazine writing, and project development. They will meet with professional writers, editors, and agents who will introduce them to important aspects of writing and the publishing profession.
The creative writing major at RMC allows students to develop highly prized writing capabilities that provide them with skills necessary for life after college. RMC writers have become newspaper editors, sports journalists, and government writers, as well as professors, attorneys, and physicians.
When the faculty approved the creative writing major in the spring of 2008, it was honoring a "light" that students, faculty, administration, and board members had helped to grow. "Go where light is," urges Roethke. And we did.
English education students take extensive coursework in English and education curricula to prepare them for careers as middle school and/or high school English teachers. We are pleased to say that our English education program has an excellent record of placing students in teaching jobs.
Why should you come to Rocky Mountain College to major in literary studies?
Shakespeare's Renaissance contemporary Sir Philip Sidney - renowned for his chivalry and for his sonnets - argued that studying literature provides the best education, opening a "golden world" of knowledge, surpassing all other fields of study. It still is true.
RMC's literature classes are challenging and thought-provoking, and its faculty are dynamic, enthusiastic, and highly qualified. They are ready to mentor students individually from their first freshman writing classes to their applications for internships, graduate schools, or jobs.
What makes RMC different? We offer a solid foundation in American and British literature, as well as in works of writers from around the world. Just as important, our program listens to students and responds to their needs - from offering individual tutoring when needed, to designing unique classes to meet particular students' interests. Our literature courses, however, not only open a golden world of humanity's finest ideas and most inspiring voices; they also encourage students to be analytical, to think critically, and to communicate effectively.
We recognize that college education does not end with graduation; instead, an English degree is a prelude to the world after college, whether your goal is teaching, business, graduate school, or law school. Our graduates have become newspaper editors and writers, teachers, college professors and administrators, and medical doctors; while still others have used their knowledge of ideas, as well as their critical thinking, analytical, communication, and creative skills to find success in corporate life - diverse lives and careers, but all began with an English degree from Rocky Mountain College.