Sena Jeter Naslund-Karen Mann Graduate School of Writing
Kathleen Driskell, MFA
Karen Mann, M.A.
Associate Programs Director
Lynnell Edwards, PhD
Associate Director of Communications and Alumni Relations
Katy Yocom, MFA
Ellyn Lichvar, MFA
Coordinator of Student Services
Renee Culver, MFA
The Sena Jeter Naslund-Karen Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University is a welcoming community of writers dedicated to improving their craft through intense writing and reading, critical and creative thinking, and diverse opportunities to study closely with intellectual, literary, and professional leaders who are also expert teachers. The school provides a compassionate, flexible, and noncompetitive graduate learning environment that establishes lifelong writing habits and fosters a commitment to the global literary community and to excellence in writing.
Affiliations and Accreditations
Spalding University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the Graduate Certificate in Writing, Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing (Post- Master’s), the Master of Arts in Writing, Post-Master’s Certificate in Writing Enrichment, and the Master of Fine Arts in Writing. The School of Writing is a member of AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs), and students and faculty receive the Writer’s Chronicle, free registration to the AWP annual conference, and access to information for writers. The School of Writing is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Kentucky Poetry Society, and the Playwrights’ Center.
The Sena Jeter Naslund-Karen Mann Graduate School of Writing offers concentrations in fiction; poetry; creative nonfiction; writing for children and young adults; writing for TV, screen, and stage (screenwriting or playwriting); and professional writing. Students may enter a program in spring, summer, or fall. Students may customize the location, season, and pace of their studies.
The emphasis of the program is on the student’s own writing. Each semester begins with an intensive residency course, after which students return home for an independent study course.
The student prepares, in consultation with their mentor, an individualized Independent Study Plan. The Plan is created around the students’ own writing goals. For example, prose writers may be working on a novel or memoir; TV writers may be developing a TV series; poetry writers may be working on a collection of poetry; while professional writers choose modes of writing that best suit their professional goals, which may be to advance established careers or to shift into a new career path.
The faculty is carefully chosen from candidates nationwide who are appropriately credentialed and are publishing writers and excellent teachers. Students work with a variety of faculty mentors, a practice that fosters an assortment of dialogues regarding issues in the craft of writing, criticism, and aesthetics. Through workshops, lectures, conferences, annotation, and correspondence, faculty members provide an intellectually stimulating and emotionally supportive educational experience for their students.
For many, the low-residency format offers an educational opportunity not otherwise available. The residency provides an exciting and intense group experience. During the independent study, more important than the convenience of staying at home is the quality of instruction provided.
The student-faculty ratio (averaging three-to-one) is much lower than most traditional programs. This structure offers more personal attention for the student. And, while writing habits are being established, the student works within a natural home setting instead of an isolated, solely academic environment. The low-residency model is ideal preparation for the life of a writer.
Programs in the School of Writing
The School of Writing offers concentrations in fiction; poetry; creative nonfiction; writing for children and young adults; writing for TV, screen, and stage (screenwriting and playwriting); and professional writing.
The School of Writing offers three programs:
- Master of Fine Arts in Writing (MFA)—65 hours, four semesters plus a graduation residency
• Master of Arts in Writing (MAW), with tracks in creative writing and professional writing—35 hours, two semesters plus a capstone residency
• Graduate Certificates in Writing*, 15 hours, one semester:
(1) Graduate Certificate in Writing, with tracks in creative writing or professional writing
(2) Post-Master’s Graduate Certificate in the Teaching of Creative Writing
(3) Post-Master's Certificate in Writing Enrichment