Certificate in Teaching of Creative Writing
Location: AU Los Angeles
Credits for Degree: 12 semester credits
Standard Mode of Instruction: Low-residency
Standard time to completion: 6 months
The Post-MFA Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing program, offered by the Creative Writing Department of the Division of Graduate and Professional Studies, is open to any student holding an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) or another accredited institution, and is one semester beyond the completion of the MFA degree at Antioch. During this semester, the student engages in systematic study of the theory and practice of teaching creative writing and composition, a salutary preparation for working in classroom and workshop settings at any educational level.
Although the Post-MFA Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing is not a formal teaching “credential,” it benefits the following groups:
- MFA holders who desire to teach, but have little teaching experience;
- MFA holders who are either college/university writing instructors or public school teachers who want to learn more about the intersection of creative and expository writing pedagogies, and to incorporate this knowledge into their teaching;
- MFA holders who desire to improve their marketability as teachers; and
- MFA holders who have teaching careers well under way and seek to improve their current positions through postgraduate professional development encouraged or required by their employers.
Note: The California Community College system does not recognize either the MFA or the Post-MFA Certificate as a valid teaching credential for instructors of English. In addition, the Post-MFA Certificate is not a program that leads to a teaching credential for secondary or elementary education.
Post-MFA Program Learning Outcomes
All Post-MFA students incorporate five program learning outcomes and activities into their project period work. The first four of these are accomplished during the student’s supervised teaching placement (overseen by the on-site supervisor) and one in the student’s independent research on creative writing pedagogy (overseen by the Post-MFA faculty).
Graduates of the Post-MFA program will:
- Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the range of responsibilities required of an apprentice teacher who is learning to become a professional educator. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Accountability to all chains of command (on-site teaching supervisor, Post-MFA mentor, Creative Writing Department chair, and Creative Writing Department office)
- Professional demeanor in all activities related to the program and one’s teaching assignment
- Professional documentation, as needed
- Communicating clearly and in a timely manner with students, supervisors, and colleagues
- Engaging with the life of the department of the host institution, including attending faculty meetings (when invited)
- Demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics that exist in a particular writing classroom or online setting, including the differing viewpoints and learning styles of individual students.
- Professionally critique one’s own strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, and adjust one’s own teaching as needed.
- Demonstrate the ability to develop an assignment or lesson plan that responds to the class’s stated learning goals.
- Develop a critical vocabulary from research in pedagogy to identify and articulate various teaching methodologies and their relation to student learning styles.
The Post-MFA Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing is completed in three stages with the following learning activities:
Stage I: Pre-Project Period Residency
The entering Post-MFA Certificate student must attend a ten-day residency on the Antioch University Los Angeles campus during which the student completes the following requirements:
- “Overview of Post-MFA Certificate Program and Readings in Pedagogy” seminar/ orientation
- “Designing a Flexible Workshop Syllabus” seminar
- A Residency Workshop in their chosen writing genre
- Attend all lectures and panels involving Certificate students or pedagogy faculty
- Attend five additional Residency learning activities, such as seminars, lectures, panels, roundtables, etc.
Post-MFA students are encouraged to generate a list of possible teaching placements (locations and supervisor contact information) before beginning in the program, and to bring it to the first on-campus residency. Students with a list of possible placements prior to Stage I will be able to make the best use of their first on-campus residency.
Stage II: Semester Project Period
During the five-month project period, Post-MFA Certificate students perform the following off-campus activities:
- Teaching Apprenticeship: every student will gain direct experience working as a professional instructor’s “Teaching Assistant.” This apprenticeship will also include some teaching-leadership of the class, guided by the professional instructor.
- Complete Teaching Practicum: every student will have the opportunity to design and lead a teaching experience for real, eager writers, whether in Antioch’s Alumni Circle, or with community organizations like PocketMFA.
- Engage with Contemporary and Urgent Texts: every student will read widely in the pedagogy of creative writing and engage regularly in vigorous zoom discussions with the faculty and other students.
- Develop a Teacher’s Toolkit: A top priority of the program is practicality and flexibility, and every student will leave the program with an immediately useful set of tools and documents to take on their journey to making a living as a creative writing instructor.
The details of each of the above are negotiated with each student’s mentor and specified in the Project Period Contract.
Stage III: Post-Project Period Short Residency
Post-MFA Certificate students are required to attend at least the first three days of their post-project period residency. A student may choose to attend as many additional days of the post-project period residency as the student wishes. Requirements are as follows:
- Participate in the Post-MFA Panel
- Exit Meeting with Post-MFA Faculty
- Deliver the Annotated Bibliography of Readings in the Field of Writing Pedagogy
Current Tuition and Fees
University Tuition and Fees