For twenty years, two-year college faculty have caucused at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs convention.   As writers and teachers, we’ve found that having a place to discuss the unique joys and challenges of teaching at the two-year college has been invaluable. As technology developed, we moved many of these conversations online, and continue them throughout the school year, strengthening our bonds and communication into a nationwide network of two-year college faculty.

We invite you to join in the conversations, to utilize our resources on program design and pedagogy, and to find community at the caucus, both online and at our annual conference meeting. I’m honored to serve as your caucus president, and hope to see you here on the site, on our Facebook page, and in 2019 at our conference meeting in Portland.

Mary Lannon, President

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History and Mission

The mission of the Two-year College Creative Writing Caucus is to connect creative-writing instructors at two-year institutions across the country and promote two-year college initiatives while providing a voice for two-year college concerns within the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

The Two-Year College Creative Writing Caucus was formed in 1994 with the work of Frank X. Gaspar, among others. Since then, we have grown from a few dedicated members meeting over dinner to well over two hundred active participants as evidenced by the high attendance levels at the annual meeting held during the AWP National Conference and Book Fair. The Two-Year College Caucus sponsors a table at the AWP Conference Book Fair, hosts off-site events, promotes accepted panels presented by members and two-year college instructors, and offers two-year college faculty and those interested in academic careers at two-year institutions a unique networking opportunity.

Two-Year College Creative Writing Caucus members network to create AWP conference session proposals, with veteran presenters and former AWP Board Members offering feedback on applications.

Recently, we  have undertaken the initiative of supporting and growing the presence of Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) and other creative writing programs, and institutional membership with AWP.   We hope that this website can be a place to provide  resources to faculty and institutions interested in developing creative writing course documents, as well as a full AFA program in creative writing, and two-year degrees in writing or creative writing certificates. In addition to the Hallmarks of an Effective Two-Year Program,  we will share the experiences of faculty and directors who have been through the program development, accreditation, and the process of creating articulation agreements with four-year colleges.

Our membership is open to all who may benefit from our work and our conversations.     For more information, or to receive our monthly newsletter, contact Two-Year Caucus President, Mary Lannon at cwtwoyearcollegecaucus@gmail.com.


Recent Posts

Grading Contracts in the Novel Writing Workshop

By Lynn Kilpatrick


To answer the first question, yes. I teach a Novel Writing Workshop at Salt Lake Community College. I developed this course with a colleague when we realized how many of the students in our Introduction to Creative Writing and Fiction Writing courses were actually writing novels.

To answer your second question, no. Most students can’t actually write a complete novel in 16 weeks, who can? But they can either make significant progress or work very hard on a few chapters. It was the contrast between these two things (write more or write better) that led me to use a grading contract when I taught the novel course last fall.

My grading contract is based on a fairly popular model developed by Peter Elbow and Jane Danielewicz. I simply took their contract, which was developed for a composition class, and adapted it for my own purposes.

I chose to use a grading contract mainly because it would free me from two overwhelming tasks: grading their novels and telling them what or how much to produce. Instead, students chose their own goals, and I was freed to give them feedback on unfinished work.

Some students had parts of novels and wanted to finish them. Their grading contracts stipulated the amount of pages they would produce each week as well as a grand total. Their final portfolios would be everything they had written. Several students in this category opted to do National Novel Writing Month during November. These students shared work with me via Canvas or Google Docs so they never had to print out their Novel In Progress.

Other students were still fishing about for ideas, toying with the thought of writing a novel. For those students, I allowed them to write less, perhaps three or four chapters, and to polish more. Their portfolios consisted of two or three heavily revised chapters.

Having taught this novel course five or six times, I realized that grading contracts provided the perfect compromise between having them write too much or providing too little feedback. Because students were able to set their own terms, they seemed happier with the results.

I should say that this course does not have a General Education designation (other Creative Writing courses have a Humanities designation). Without that, faculty who teach the course feel free to treat the class like an Arts studio course: the purpose is to produce, and to practice our craft.

Of course, students who care about getting As exist, even in Novel Writing courses. For those students, I offered them a second tier of activities: more conferences with me, doing extra (such as NaNoWriMo), or producing more chapters, which they revised more. Students in this course tend to be self-motivated, so I didn’t have a problem with students not wanting to write. And, of course, there were the students who were content to earn a C by doing just a little bit less.

Overall, I feel my experiment with grading contracts was successful. The student who wrote a whole novel was the happiest, probably, but the student who revised and almost finished a novel she’d been working on for five years seemed just as happy. And the great majority were students who produced at least two versions of a “first” chapter, practiced writing query letters, and felt that they had greater knowledge about whether or not they would, actually, write a novel.


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