As part of the MFA course of study, students are required to take at least one 1-cr practicum, which are either hands-on and practical experiences geared toward one’s specific interests and career goals, or resemble a mini-course in a professional topic. Students may elect to take more than one practicum, and if they undertake five while pursing the degree, these credits may be substituted for one regular 4-cr class. We offer the following practicum options:  

The program literary journal, Oregon East
  • WR 609 Creative Writing Pedagogy: Offered in alternate years, this practicum dovetails with the new EOU/Fishtrap Graduate Student Teachers program, but is open to all interested students. It reviews key issues in creative writing pedagogy, helps students develop preliminary teaching materials (a workshop pitch and description, lesson plans, prompts, and more), and provides opportunities for demoing lessons in front of a small group via Zoom. It prepares students to teach community writing workshops or build their experience and application toward more intensive teaching.
  • WR 609 Editing and Publishing: Offered in alternate years, this practicum teaches key issues and controversies in the contemporary literary publishing landscape and introduces students to desktop publishing, namely InDesign. This practicum prepares students to participate in the editing of Oregon East (see below) and other publications, or to start in on their own publishing projects.
  • WR 609 Professional Portfolio: Offered each year in the Spring term and geared especially toward second-year students, this practicum helps students develop and refine professional materials relevant to their personal career goals, including things such as a CV, writing samples, letters of application or submission tailored to specific opportunities, syllabi, and more. The practicum culminates in a Zoom meeting with the instructor to comb through and take a bird’s eye look at these materials and talk about the path forward in the writing landscape.
An Ars Poetica flyer for a past event
  • WR 609 Oregon East: Offered every term, in this practicum students participate in the editing, promotion, and strategy of the program’s literary journal, Oregon East. In recent years, Oregon East has only published current Eastern Oregon University students, but that policy is poised to change in Fall 2023, offering an exciting opportunity to build a regional presence for the journal and a broader network of writers and readers.
  • WR 609 Independent Study: Offered every term, in this practicum students may design a project of their own design suitable to their personal goals or work with a community partner, undertaking work or an internship for credit. Examples of independent projects include shadowing creative writing teachers, producing a zine, developing a syllabus, helping a literary organization rethink their disabilities services, and more. About 30 hours of work is expected, and a basic contract is completed at the outset that outlines the specific goals, activities, and documentation involved.

These practicums give students the concrete training and professional development to make a difference in their careers, both in and out of literary writing circles. They also add flexibility to the degree. Ultimately students can take just one practicum or as many as five.