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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

St. Bonaventure to Offer New Major

St. Bonaventure University has unveiled a new undergraduate major that combines the imaginative power of creative writing with the technical skill of professional communicators.

Classes in the new Professional and Creative Writing major begin in fall 2015.

“The landscape for writers has changed dramatically in the past decade and a half,” said Dr. Pauline Hoffmann, dean of St. Bonaventure’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “Writing isn’t just ink-on-paper any more. Technology has dramatically changed the way writers write and the way readers read. It has also changed the way we deliver our writing. Our new major will give students the tools and insights to thrive in that professional environment.”

The Professional and Creative Writing major is a collaborative effort between the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Department of English. The course of study, which leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree, builds upon existing and new course offerings in both programs.

The new major will train students to write effectively in different genres and in multiple media to respond to a variety of professional and creative needs.

“The major will give students the perspective and skills in multiple media and modes so much in demand by employers and so essential for effective creative expression in professional and creative environments,” said Dr. Patrick Panzarella, chair of the Department of English.

The new major will sharpen students’ creative and professional writing abilities, while always drawing on the creative impulses that led them to the writing major in the first place.

Panzarella says the “focused and intensive education” has two aims: “We want students to perfect their craft, and we want them to understand the publication process and the process of joining and sustaining creative communities,” he said. “We want to prepare students to fulfill their roles as writers in the larger world.”

Opportunities for writers are everywhere, including media, business, entertainment, non-profit, and publishing industries.

Aside from exploring more traditional areas of creative writing like fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, St. Bonaventure’s program offers students opportunities to explore newer areas, like video game scripting and blogging. An emphasis on digital technology is woven throughout the curriculum.

The program also has built-in a significant experiential learning component to give students real-world skills and experience in writing- and publishing-related fields. Students will have the opportunity to work in on-campus media, professional internships and the senior-level Writers Project. Students will serve as the editorial staff for an online literary magazine that will service not only the university, but the wider Western New York community as well.

“This will allows students to balance the art and the craft of writing in a way that allows them to really understand what it means to be a working writer,” said Hoffmann.

The Professional and Creative Writing major draws on a St. Bonaventure tradition of writing that includes six Pulitzer Prize winners and alumni in all facets of writing and communications careers, from sportswriters and bloggers to magazine editors, public relations practitioners, news anchors, publishing executives and college professors.

For more information about the major in Professional and Creative Writing, contact the university’s Office of Admissions at 1-800-462-5050 or visit

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