By Barbara Green, Assistant Academic Chair, Composition/WAC
What does this internal Kaplan University festival have to do with students and Kaplan University’s programs of study, one might ask? Like many students, many faculty and staff also find it refreshing and reinvigorating to engage in activities outside the day-to-day work routine. Writing and creativity outside of their passion for teaching and working with students can bring a renewed inspiration about, and engagement in, writing that can’t help but spill into the classroom and into their love of teaching.
By participating in activities like the literary journal and festival, faculty bring their excitement to the classroom, and excitement in a classroom, more often than not, yields inspiration in students about writing whether its writing for a composition or science class. That inspiration can also hold benefits for students who may learn that writing isn’t limited to course work, but rather, that writing is all around us and can be used to be creative, successfully apply for a job or promotion, or even as a catalyst for personal writing that can take many different shapes and purposes.
For many, August means the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, new backpacks and messenger bags anxiously awaiting books to hold, and glimmering computers ready for use. August is back-to-school time. However, for Kaplan University faculty and staff, August brings with it a unique, creative, and literary excitement. August is the month in which the School of General Education’s Composition/WAC Department hosts its annual Virtual Literary Festival.
From its inception, the festival’s main purpose was to celebrate faculty and staff from all over Kaplan University who had their fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and or photography published in either of the bi-annual issues of Capstone, Kaplan University’s internal literary journal, for the year. The festival puts the spotlight on Capstone artists by holding readings in which authors/artists share their work, discuss their writing process, inspirations, psychology behind the work, etc., and answer questions from an audience of very interested and enthusiastic colleagues from all areas of the University.
This year, the festival will be celebrating its fifth year, and during its five-year run, the festival has grown significantly. Now, in addition to honoring Capstone artists, the festival also features 50-minute workshops in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and photography by the reviewers of Capstone submissions. In addition, the festival also presents mini-workshops in specific areas of creative writing such as past workshops in horror writing, editing, and revision, haiku, blogging, National Novel Writing Month, and more. Lastly, for the third year, the festival will also be offering short literature themed presentations from faculty and staff. This year’s theme is “monsters and madmen” in literature and should prove to be exciting, illuminating, and hopefully, a little scary!
So this August, Kaplan University students, faculty, and staff are invited to come to the 2016 Virtual Literary Festival on August 23 and 24 from 11:00 am–7:00 pm ET, pull up a chair, and take in some creativity.