By Fay Bcharah
“Nobody’s ever lost a job because they can write well,” said Dr. Matthew Ortoleva, Assistant Professor of English and Writing Center Director at Worcester State University. WSU has always emphasized the importance of writing skills. Not only does WSU offer the writing center, a space where students can improve themselves as writers, but as of fall 2015, it also offers a new writing minor.
Ortoleva said, “the writing minor will offer a whole breadth of different courses students can take.”
He continued, “We have structured it in a way that students from all across the university can find and craft their own pathway through the minor.”
Electives run anywhere from journalism to creative nonfiction, fiction writing, technical writing, business writing, writing in the sciences, and public writing.
Students who are Biology majors can focus the minor on science writing or even science journalism.
Molly Andes, Communication major and sophomore at WSU, declared the writing minor in the fall, and plans to use her minor for creative writing and television and film.
“The writing minor has several tracks which allow the student freedom to create a minor tailored to them,” said Andes. “You dictate your minor.”
Though there is flexibility within the minor, there are core concepts taught throughout the entire program.
“The kind of overarching idea we have is narrative,” Ortoleva said. “A lot of our courses focus on story and how story, narrative approaches, can be adapted to a lot of different concepts and situations.”
Ortoleva said the main mission of the writing minor is to give “any student across the university the opportunity to gain a credential in writing and to build the necessary skills to help them in whatever their life goals are.”
This could not be accomplished without the gradual expansion of writing faculty. The English Department just hired a new faculty member, Jamie Remillard, who has done work in science education and wrote for the National Park Service.
“We’ve reached a point where we have enough writing faculty now with a variety of backgrounds that we can offer such an expansive writing minor,” said Ortoleva.
Ortoleva knows writing is intimidating for many students but he says that doesn’t matter.
“They don’t have to take the writing minor because they want to be the next great American novelist, or even a journalist for that matter,” Ortoleva said. “Good writing skills have never hurt anybody, but they can always help somebody in whatever context or situation they find themselves.”
Andes appreciates the versatility of the minor.
“It is for everyone. If you’re on the fence about being a writing minor, it absolutely can’t hurt to look into it.”