Once and a while, I have to ask myself this question, to see if I am on the right path. Here's my list of reasons:
1) To help people get in touch with their hearts and souls, and to help them find the important stories they have to tell and to thus find themselves and perhaps help others find themselves.
2) To teach people to be better communicators, both verbally and by writing. Good communication skills are essential to our working lives and our relationships in our private lives.
3) To help people see the power of a group working together through creative writing workshops, so they may use those skills in their lives and have some respect for the work of legislators.
4) To help people begin to think independently and escape, at least in a small way, the limitations of the smaller world they grew up in compared to the bigger world they will eventually move into.
5) To help people to enjoy artistic creation--in creative writing, that would be in the forms of creative writing, such a fiction and poetry. People take classes in music without ever expecting to become professional musicians. Many may wish to write as primarily a means of self-expression.
6) To help people to discover and appreciate great writing. I have the least faith in this one, perhaps because my father was so proud that he never read a book after college, and the current generation seems tightly bound to commercial popular culture products. I tend to feel that a passion for reading high quality writing is not often taught, and is usually discovered on one's own, before reaching college.
7) To assist a few students to take up writing as a lifetime calling to benefit society through the wisdom in their writing--and to perhaps make part of a living. The last goal I list here some may feel to be the primary goal of a creative writing course. I always have a few students in each class who strongly desire to be writers, and I have had a few succeed. Personally, I don't think one should be a writer unless one is strongly compelled to be a writer. Selling real estate is more lucrative, and just as interesting.