When USC announced in January its plans to close its Masters of Professional Writing program, there was a cry of disapointment from alumni, writing teachers and the Southern California literary community.
And yet it's not over for the program: Los Angeles' loss is Montpelier's gain. The MPW program is being transferred from USC to the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
VCFA has one of the oldest and most prestigious low-residency creative writing MFA programs in the country. With the addition of the USC program, VCFA will now also offer a standard two-year, full-residency program starting in September under its new name, the School of Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
The initiative came from VCFA founding president Thomas Christopher Greene, as he described in a short post in the Facebook group of supporters of USC's MPW Program.
"When I learned that USC had decided to close the MPW program from friends who teach in it, I reached out to a number of people to find out what was going on. When it became clear that the USC decision appeared irrevocable, I began conversations with University administration and program leadership there about the potential of VCFA providing a new home for the program and continuation of the excellent legacy that had been established."
The leader of the School of Writing and Publishing at Vermont College of Fine Arts will be author Trinie Dalton, who is on the faculty at both institutions.
In a welcome message, she writes, "Our new curriculum directly integrates the multi-genre and industry-forward programming nurtured by USC MPW's Director, Brighde Mullins. And, as VCFA is already a pioneer in a pedagogy that entails close mentorship, collegiate alliance between faculty and students, and individualized courses of study — I'll be tailoring our full-residency electives curriculum to meet the needs of each individual incoming class."
Greene promises that the new program will honor the traditions of USC's MPW program, which was founded in 1971.
In a statement, Steve Lamy, USC's vice dean for academic programs at Dornsife College of Letters Arts and Sciences, echoed that sentiment. "We believe VCFA will offer a wonderful new home for the [USC] program while also providing ongoing recognition for the degree's value."