Had a great talk with another teacher of creative writing yesterday.
She tells her creative writing students that communication verbally and by the written word are crucial skills that can carry you far in life. She tells her students that the ability to tell a good story can impress and be persuasive. It might even convince a job interviewer to give you a job.
I liked that.
What makes me uneasy is when English teachers of all stripes are trying to increase the number of English majors so the department has a lot of majors and all the classes are filled. Or to increase the number of creative writing track students.
That is putting the needs of the department before the needs of students.
We know that few of our student creative writers will end up making a living as creative writers (I do have a few). We know that the path of creative writing is a challenging path, and other goals-- besides raking in a lot of money--should be crucial to a student if s/he goes down this path.
Creative writing teaches useful survival skills. It also assists in self-understanding.
I won't make a religion out of it, however, and try to gain converts for the church institution of the English department.