Section 2: Tuesday and Thursday 12:30-1:45 PM

*Required Teaching Lab Tuesday and Thursday 2:00-3:15 PM:  You won’t be attending every class, but you’ll need to save this window in your schedule

Professor Jill Christman (

The story goes that when Vladimir Nabokov was invited to join the English Department at Harvard, the linguist Roman Jakobson protested: “Gentlemen, even if one allows that he is an important writer, are we next to invite an elephant to be Professor of Zoology?”

Times have changed and the Creative Writing Program here at Ball State now enrolls 200 majors and almost 250 minors in our combined programs, staffing those classrooms with writer-teachers. Nicknamed “The Elephants Teach,” this course is open to all graduate students in English who wish to examine the pedagogical issues specific to the teaching of creative writing at the college level.  Our readings will range from theoretical to paper-and-pen practical and may include Anna Leahy’s brand-new What We Talk About When We Talk About Creative Writing, David Gershom Myers’s The Elephants Teach: Creative Writing Since 1880, and Stephanie Vanderslice’s Teaching Creative Writing to Undergraduates, as well as the textbook we’ll be using in our shared laboratory class of English 285 Introduction to Creative Writing students:  Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing (4th Edition).   

We’ve built the schedule so that we’ll have our own classroom of (very lucky) intro-level writers with whom we can work throughout the semester.  In other words, we’ll talk about methods, lessons, readings, exercises, strategies, and grading rubrics—and then bring them into a classroom of beginning writers to breathe real pedagogical air; you’ll each attend ENG 285 an average of once/week.  By the end of the semester, in addition to having some Introduction to Creative Writing teaching under your belt, you will have articulated your teaching philosophy for the creative writing classroom, reviewed an ever-expanding range of teaching materials, developed inventive lessons and exercises, evaluated creative work, and produced a teaching portfolio of sample syllabi, course policies, writing exercises, and assignments.