EN311 Creative Writing

for SP 2012

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


EN 311 Creative Writing


SP 2012 HO


Shawver, Brian


Associate Professor of English


B.A. in English, University of Kansas
M.F.A. in Creative Writing, University of Iowa

Office Location

319 Copley

Office Hours

MW: 11-12; TR: 12-2

Daytime Phone

816 584-6474



Class Days


Class Time

10:00 - 10:50 AM

Credit Hours


Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, by Janet Burroway, 3rd edition
ISBN: 9780205750351

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
EN311 Creative Writing: Practice in various forms of imaginative writing,particularly prose fiction and drama, and lyric and narrative poetry. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Recommended prerequisite: one or more literature courses. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

“Creative Writing” is a not a very specific name for a course; after all, most classes in the English department can be said to deal with writing that is creative. Essays you write in a composition or technical writing class can involve just as much imagination and creativity as a novel or poem, and when we study works in a literature class we’re looking at the creative writing of someone else.

But in an academic sense, the phrase “creative writing” has come to mean the study of how to create imaginative works of literature such as poems, short stories, and plays, and that’s certainly the project we’ll engage in throughout the semester. To do this, we’ll have to reject the insidious myth of the writer as a romantic genius, inspired only by the muse, and instead look at all the hard work that is required to produce moving, provocative narratives and poems. We’ll spend some time in peer-review workshops, but we’ll also write many exercises; explore the technical aspects of rhyme, meter, and dramatic structure; analyze a number of published works; and have complex discussions about the nature of art. It’s a truly engaging subject that offers a multitude of rewards, and to fully exploit its potential, everyone in the class will have to work very hard.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Compose creative works that indicate an understanding of the fundamental elements of literary and dramatic narrative and poetic composition
  2. Employ a writing style that shows control of tone, grammar, diction, and figurative language
  3. Improve creative work by undergoing a revision process that incorporates peer and instructor feedback

Core Assessment:

The Core Assessment Instrument will take the form of a portfolio that is handed in during the last week of the semester. The portfolio will include copies of the original three writing assignments the student handed in during weeks four, nine, and fourteen, along with a revised version of each of these assignments. The portfolio will also contain a reflective essay that examines the changes between the drafts; the technical and artistic reasons these changes were made; the extent to which the changes were prompted by outside feedback; and whether and how the revised drafts represent an improvement over the originals.  This assessment is designed to assess primarily Core Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 3, and will make up 40% of the course grade.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Your work will be evaluated based on the following seven components.

Participation: Every student will be expected to attend class regularly, participate in discussion, offer concrete and constructive advice during workshops, bring the required books and materials to class, write and share in-class exercises, and in general exhibit a respect for classmates, the instructor, and the material.

Short Story Draft: You will turn in a draft of a short story that is no longer than fourteen pages and no shorter than six. This is not a rough draft, but one that you believe is ready to be shared with the class (because it will be).

Dramatic Scene: You will write a dramatic scene, based on your short story or a section of your short story.

Poetry: You will write and revise a portfolio of five poems that will be discussed in class.

Exercises/Quizzes: You will do in-class work related to readings and concepts.

Evaluations: You will write critical evaluations for the works that are presented to class by your peers.

Final Portfolio: Throughout the semester you will receive feedback from your peers and your classmates about the work you present. Your portfolio will include the final versions of these creative works, versions that will presumably incorporate some of the critiques and suggestions you’ve heard. The portfolio will also include all previous drafts of the work for comparative purposes, although the final version is the one that will be graded more specifically. You will also include in the portfolio an essay that explains your composition and revision processes, and that evaluates your progress as a writer throughout the semester. This should be an ongoing process throughout the semester—you should be working on the revision of your work as soon as you get feedback on it, and perhaps even earlier. 


Participation                                                                                                     100 points

Short Story Draft                                                                                              150 points

Dramatic Scene/Presentation                                                                           50 points

Poetry Drafts                                                                                                    150 points

Evaluations                                                                                                      150 points

Quizzes/Exercises:                                                                                           100 points

Final Portfolio:                                                                                                  300 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:

If you do not turn in the work by the deadline, in the acceptable form (I will explain when the assignments are given whether they should be e-mailed or turned in as hard copies), it is considered late. Anything that comes in after deadline will receive half-credit, unless it comes in more than 48 hours past the deadline. If the work comes in more than 48 hours after the deadline, it will not get any points.

This bears repeating: anything that is not given to me when I ask for it in class on the due date will not be graded for full credit. Anything that comes in more than forty-eight hours after the due date will not be graded at all. I encourage you to take my word for it; many students do not believe this, and have to learn from hard experience that I will enforce this policy. If you know that you’ll be absent in advance, you may arrange to turn in work ahead of time (this is true even if your absence is going to be unexcused). If a student is granted an excused absence (see the above section), the work may be turned in late, but the student must arrange a new deadline with me as soon as he/she returns to campus.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

We’re all adults, in a 300-level class, so I expect everyone to behave accordingly. Specifically, this means showing up on time, staying alert and attentive in class, respecting the opinions of your classmates and instructor, and generally engaging in the course in a productive way. There are a few other specific rules for our particular classroom:

-please make sure all electronic devices (phones, ipads, ipods, computers, etc.) are turned off before class begins. Nothing we do in class will require a computer or the internet, except the stuff we do together on the overhead. If you text message in class, you’ll be asked to leave.

-please don’t bring food to class.

-please make sure you have all your classroom materials, which includes the textbook, a writing utensil, and something to write on.

-please make sure you have read all the assigned material before you come to class.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
A detailed course outline will be provided in class.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96
Throughout the semester, there may be times when you can't make it to class because of illness, weather, etc. I understand this, and I don't want to punish anyone for legitimate absence (I'll probably miss a couple classes too). Therefore, the policy attendance policy allows students a reasonable number of “free” absences, and there is a protocol for receiving an excused absence.

Having said that, I believe that showing up for class is an extremely important part of your educational experience. Chronic attendance or tardiness issues will affect your grade in serious ways. Everyone should be aware that this is not a class you can easily skip; I will enforce the attendance policies rigorously. Here they are:

You can miss four classes without having your grade affected directly. However, being absent may affect your grade in other ways, such as if you aren't there to turn in an assignment. Beginning with your fifth absence, you will begin to lose points. Fifteen points will be taken off your participation grade with each unexcused absence, and after eight total unexcused absences, you are no longer eligible to pass the class. You will not get warnings about excessive absences—it's up to you to keep track of this.

As adults, you are entirely responsible for being prepared for each class. “I was gone last time” is never an excuse for not having prepared, or for not having an assignment ready to hand in. I have many students, and on any given day a handful of them are absent; I simply do not have time to hunt down all of them to explain what they missed and how they should prepare for next time. But, if you send me an e-mail that asks specific questions—“Could you tell me what I should read for the next class?” rather than “I was gone, did I miss anything?”—then I can let you know how to prepare, provided you contact me at least 24 hours before the next class. I also have frequent office hours, and you're more than welcome to come by and ask about what you missed.  

An important note about being on time: I take attendance at the beginning of class. If you are not in class when I take attendance, you may assume you have been marked absent. This means that if you are tardy, it is your responsibility to come see me after class to alter the record. You need to make every effort to be in class on time, however. I will only change the record four times for tardiness—after that, you'll be counted absent.
Getting an absence excused requires evidence in the form of a letter from a coach/sponsor; a receipt from a hospital stay or a doctor's note; a funeral program; or some other form of documentary evidence that allows me to verify your absence. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh or insensitive, but the fact is some people will go to great lengths to get an absence excused, and in order to be fair to students who do show up every day, I have to make sure that no one is using dubious excuses. Also, the process for receiving an excused absence must begin at least one week after you missed the class; bringing me a doctor's note in April for a class you missed in February won't work.

As you can tell, I consider what we do in class to be very important, and any student who does not commit to regular attendance will have a difficult time.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
Core Learning Outcome #1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Compose creative works that indicate an understanding of the fundamental elements of literary and dramatic narrative and poetic composition                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Creative works in all three genres employ almost all of the fundamental techniques, conventions and structures examined in class Creative works in all three genres employ many of the fundamental techniques, conventions and structures examined in class Creative works in all three genres employ few of the techniques, conventions, and structures examined in class; or creative work from one of the three genres is particularly deficient in this regard  
Core Learning Outcome #2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Employ a writing style that shows control of tone, grammar, diction, and figurative language                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Writing style indicates a consistently high degree of control over tone, grammar, diction, and figurative language Writing style indicates a moderate and consistent degree of control over most elements of language usage Writing style indicates poor and/or sporadic control over most elements of language usage, including tone, grammar, diction, and figurative language  
Core Learning Outcome #3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Improve creative work by undergoing a revision process that incorporates peer and instructor feedback                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Drafts and revisions provide extensive evidence of a thorough and objective evaluation process, and reflective essay indicates complex reasoning in the incorporation of feedback Drafts and revisions provide some evidence of a thorough and objective evaluation process, and reflective essay describes the process of incorporating feedback Drafts and revisions provide little evidence of a thorough and objective evaluation process, and reflective essay fails to describe the process of incorporating feedback  


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Last Updated:1/4/2012 10:50:04 AM