The History of the Arkansas Writers MFA Program

The Arkansas Writers MFA Program is one of only a handful of programs in the United States that is located in an independent Department of Writing in a College of Fine Arts and Communication focused heavily on the arts.

In 1996 the administration at UCA decided to make Writing a separate program from the English Department in order to concentrate on first year writing, writing across the curriculum, technical and creative writing.  Dr. David Harvey was brought in the start the program and begin hiring faculty.  Two years later the program became a department and not long after that, an undergraduate writing major was established.

Growing interest in the undergraduate creative writing courses in the department led to the creation of an undergraduate major in creative writing in 2009, under the guidance of new chair Dr. Scott Payne.  The University of Central Arkansas currently offers more undergraduate creative writing courses than any university in the state.  With this solid foundation, as well as with the arrival two national literary magazines, the Oxford American,  and the Exquisite Corpse, which later became the Toad Suck Review, and an established,  award-winning undergraduate literary magazine, the Vortex, the time seemed right to for the program to marshal its resources further towards an MFA program dedicated to preparing the next generation of creative writers.

The Arkansas Writers MFA Program is the product of years of careful planning and thought and the evolution of a group of teachers and administrators whose sole professional concerns are the writing arts.  Fifteen years after the formation of the independent department of writing, the first class of students in the MFA will be poised to reap the fruits of those early labors in the Fall of 2012.