An important feature of our MFA in Creative Nonfiction program, distinctive among private, arts-based schools, is a teaching opportunity offered to qualified, interested graduate students. Through our Graduate Student Instructorship (GSI) program, all Creative Nonfiction MFA students may elect to take Composition Theory and Praxis, a semester-long course offered every fall. Taught by Department of English faculty with expertise in the field of Rhetoric and Composition, the course is specifically designed to prepare students to teach Writing and Rhetoric I and II at Columbia College Chicago.
In addition, classroom assignments and discussion are framed by theoretical principles that can be applied in most any first year writing setting. Students who successfully complete the course, one intended to professionalize as well as educate, are invited to continue in the GSI Program, where they are supported through a program that mentors and observes them throughout their teaching experience.
Students who elect to enter the program can expect to:
- Be educated in the theory and praxis of first year writing;
- Be trained to create their own syllabus and teach Writing and Rhetoric I and/or II at Columbia College Chicago;
- Be supported and mentored by Rhetoric and Composition Faculty and the Director of the Graduate Student Instructor Program through personal interactions, classroom observations, and faculty development initiatives;
- Participate in the culture of the First Year Writing Program and attend faculty development sessions;
- Be consistently evaluated (at the end of each semester) with respect to teaching efficacy and professionalism both in and out of the classroom.