Greetings Writers,

Some of you may have already heard about the recent and distressing changes at Lesley University—either through The Boston Globe, local news, or Lesley University President Janet Steinmayer’s updates. While the MFA in Creative Writing program has been fortunate to remain unaffected by the faculty layoffs thus far, there are several changes that will directly impact the program.

Although we are not officially affiliated with Lesley University, Cambridge Common Writers has always and will always continue to support and promote the MFA in Creative Writing program and its community. 

We encourage you to share your thoughts and concerns about these impending changes. It is critical for President Steinmayer and her cabinet to hear the perspectives of alums who have experienced the program and can speak to the way its structure supports the teaching and learning that occurs during the residencies.

If you are uncertain what to write, here are some proposed talking points that you may use to guide your emails:

  • We Need Two Admissions Cycles
    • Having only one admission cycle a year takes the MFA in Creative Writing program out of step with its competitors and deprives the program of necessary enrollments
    • The MFA in Creative Writing benefits from having new students join for each residency — new voices, new perspectives, new opportunities for creative interaction in workshops and seminars
  • In-Person Residencies Are Essential: 
    • The community that develops for students and faculty at an in-person MFA in Creative Writing residency is vital to student success during the distance-learning portion of the semester
    • We only have about 40 days to spend together on campus before we go home to write and work, so it is critical that students have the opportunity to build the trust and camaraderie that allows for the deep, creative risk-taking essential to successful writing

The Bottom Line: We’re concerned that decisions are being made for the primary purpose of reducing operating costs without due consideration for how these decisions are affecting curriculum, pedagogy, and the ability for the MFA in Creative Writing program to recruit and retain students.

Please feel free to include any of your own concerns beyond these examples, and to restate these in your own words/style. Please do not use invective language or directly attack President Janet Steinmayer and the administration. Our goal is to show our support for the MFA in Creative Writing program, not cast its community in a bad light which may also reflect poorly on the program itself. Your feedback should be sent to [email protected].

We also encourage alums to reach out to their former mentors to offer our support in this tenuous and uncertain time.

Regardless of any changes made by Lesley University, our mission remains the same—we at Cambridge Common Writers will always be here for alums, faculty, and current students of the MFA in Creative Writing program. We’re here to provide opportunities for connection both online and in person, to share resources to further your writing practice, and to celebrate the work our community does.

We’re grateful to have such a remarkable community to celebrate!

With appreciation,

The Cambridge Common Writers Board

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