Friday, March 09, 2007

UI Held Hostage Day 412 - March 9

March 9, 3:25 p.m.

This is one of those days when progress seems to be being made with regard to a number of the subjects I care about.

Iowa City: A Writing Community

A "learning community," whether inside a corporation or a geographical area, is seen to be an important element when trying to improve the economy, as well as the quality of life, of those involved. (Put "learning community" into Google and you get over one million hits.)

Seven years ago, when I was writing a regular column on K-12 issues as a school board member, I suggested the possibility of the Iowa City District becoming the nation's preeminent "writing district." Nicholas Johnson, "Let's Focus Efforts and Resources," Iowa City Press-Citizen, December 7, 1999. At that time the UI's president was Mary Sue Coleman, and she was proposing that the UI become the nation's preeminent "writing university."

Now a variation of the idea is back, from Provost Michael Hogan, in a proposal for a creative writing program for undergraduates to supplement the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the International Writing Program and the Playwrights Workshop.

My hope is that -- if it's not already happening -- this proposal will include collaboration with the Iowa City high schools' language arts teachers. Check out the West High School Language Arts Department program of studies by way of example. (I haven't take the time to check, but I suspect Iowa City's other two high schools -- Tate and City -- are also impressive.) With a faculty of 20, and the range of courses they have, it would be enough to make any college proud. They have seemingly dozens of courses, including "Creative Writing Workshop," "Essay Writing Workshop," "Playwriting" and "Advanced Playwriting."

I cannot quickly find online the final report of the National Commission on the High School Senior Year. A preliminary report and summary is available: The Lost Opportunity of Senior Year: Finding a Better Way," January 2001. Among other things the Commission pointed out that there are at least some high school seniors whose time would be better spent taking college courses than waiting out graduation from high school.

Be that as it may, there would be nothing to lose, and a good deal to gain -- especially in light of the number of Iowa City high school graduates who go on to the University of Iowa -- if the school district and the University would make the transition from the high school to the universiy creative writing programs as seemless as possible.

Besides, it would multiply the contribution to making Iowa City "a writing community."


More to come on "Fair Share," drug courts, Colloton, and UICCU ("Optiva") governance . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh gawd, i can't wait... i'm holding my breath until your next uiccu post. why do u tease us so??? why make us wait??? the credit union desperately needs your help with 'process!' they need your wisdom nowwwwwww