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writing1Numerous surveys of employers indicate that companies of all kinds want to hire people with excellent communication skills.

“It’s self-evident to me that if you cannot communicate well through writing, you probably cannot communicate well orally, either,” says Karl Elder, the institution’s Fessler Professor of Creative Writing and Poet in Residence who has been at Lakeland for nearly four decades. “I’ve had people (in hiring positions) tell me, ‘Give me somebody who can write!’ We prepare our students here well.”

If you’re wondering what kind of career you can pursue after majoring in writing, Elder has a passionate response: “When a parent asks me, ‘What can my son or daughter do with a writing degree?’ I say, ‘Any freaking thing they want!’ You can go into just about anything. Writing provides tremendous preparation.”

The writing major has been a staple at Lakeland for more than three decades, and Elder points out that recent graduates from the program enjoy careers in advertising, newspaper journalism, teaching at all levels, computer programming, corporate training, law, counseling, radio, industrial intel, information analysis and many more fields.

“I hate to sound obnoxious,” Elder says. “But you will develop your consciousness here.”

Elder likes how his friend, a professor in the southern U.S., responded when asked why she writes. “She said, ‘Because it makes me a better person.’ I identify with that,” Elder says with a smile.

Individual attention

Lakeland’s experienced writing staff takes great pride in working one-on-one with all students. While the primary instructors are well-versed in all facets of the written word, Elder is a national award-winning poet while Jeff Elzinga is a fiction and film expert and Nathan Lowe specializes in creative non-fiction.

“We give our students a real taste of everything they need,” says Elder. “When our students leave this institution, they will be fundamentally sound.”

Writing at Lakeland

Students who major in writing will:

  • Understand the key terms, histories, forms and structures of several significant genres of writing
  • Have the confidence to present their writing within various genres clearly and professionally
  • Use language and literary devices in creative and unique ways
  • Work both independently and within a community of writers
  • Have access to acclaimed writers at the annual Great Lakes Writers Festival


Connect with Lakeland's Writing Program on Facebook.


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