Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Sept. 22

Diné College to become a hub for Native writing
College offers new creative writing degree

(Photo/Diné College)

(Photo/Diné College)

TSAILE, Ariz. — Diné College will soon offer a new bachelor degree with an emphasis in creative writing.

The program was approved last month by the board of regents and will begin in fall 2021.

“Based on our research, there is a demand for this degree program,” said Diné College President Charles Roessel. “We are an indigenous-centered institution with critically-acclaimed and published faculty here at the College. It’s only fitting to offer this this degree program because it will allow the Navajo People to sustain the tradition and role of storytelling through the intense study of the creative writing discipline.”

The college has had a wealth of literary talent since its founding in 1968 as the first tribal college.

“We plan to expand on our successes and grow into the hub for Native writing,” said Dr. Paul Willeto, Dean for the School of Arts, Humanities and English.

Willeto said a February 2020 informal market survey showed 54 percent of respondents said either themselves or someone they know would be interested in the creative writing degree program. The most popular genres, based on the survey, are poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

The degree curriculum includes workshop courses in those genres. Students also have a choice in a range of writing classes including world writing and Diné storytelling. At the senior level, students will work on a substantial body of original creative work.

“We created the program after looking at programs offered by six regional universities,” Willeto said. “This program is ideal for someone who wants to be a working writer, or if they want to continue on with graduate studies, or a position in communications.”

Students interested in the creative writing program at Diné College should email Shaina Nez, the program coordinator for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, at

Diné College is a four-year tribal college accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and located on the Navajo reservation with campuses in Arizona and New Mexico and primarily serves Navajo students. The school offers 13 bachelor’s degrees, 20 associate’s, and nine certificate programs. The cost of attendance is $3,930.

The college, established in 1968, is the first tribal college and was formerly named Navajo Community College.

Information provided by Diné College

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