Student Writers of Indiana Awarded Indiana Arts Commission Grant

Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012

Student Writers of Indiana, a program in the University of Evansville’s Department of Creative Writing, has received a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission.

Student Writers of Indiana (SWIP) sends talented UE students to local middle and high schools to provide needed education in the art of creative writing to underserved students. The Indiana Arts Commission grant, totaling $2,960.09, will support the cost of producing anthologies of students’ work, space rentals, postage, training, and classroom supplies.

“Studies show that arts education has a dramatic impact on the learning experience in general, especially for underserved students,” said Margaret McMullan, professor of creative writing and Melvin M. Peterson Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing, who co-directs SWIP. “This program not only impacts local youth and UE students, but also inspires teachers and community leaders to further support the arts.”

“Creative writing addresses multiple Indiana Department of Education academic standards by offering enjoyable ways for students to improve their vocabulary, critical analysis skills, and reading comprehension,” adds Rob Griffith, associate professor of creative writing and co-director of SWIP. “Only 35 percent of secondary schools nationwide offer creative writing courses, so there is a great need for programs like SWIP.”   

In its first year, SWIP served approximately 1,200 students at 10 schools, trained 19 teaching fellows, and developed a strong base for ongoing leadership. In future years, the program will reach out to students across Indiana with an annual statewide creative writing competition, culminating with a conference. An annual anthology will showcase students’ best poems and short-short stories, and anthologies will be distributed to schools and libraries statewide.

SWIP was established in Fall 2011 with a $21,000 grant from the Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund. The program is housed in UE’s Department of Creative Writing, which offers one of the few Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing programs in the nation. Currently, 90 students from around the nation are enrolled as majors.

The University of Evansville wishes to thank the Indiana Arts Commission for its generous support of Student Writers of Indiana. The IAC’s Regional Initiative Grant program is supported by the Vanderburgh Community Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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