AWP represents writers, especially writers who teach. Because writers who teach account for an increasing percentage of the literary community, AWP has worked to set professional standards for the teaching of writing and provides information on the writers’ job market. AWP works to ensure fair standards in the hiring and promotion of writers in academe and likewise works to ensure the best possible education for student writers. AWP also advocates for freedom of expression and public funding for the arts.
Advocacy for Professional Standards
AWP’s Professional Standards Committee provides letters of support, policy statements, advice, and assistance for the programs and faculty of AWP. The committee coordinates AWP's advocacy of fair treatment of writers in the academy, including adjuncts, professors, and instructors, and it may conduct inquiries on behalf of writers who have been denied appointments, promotions, or tenure. It also facilitates the creation of new creative writing programs and conducts evaluations or independent assessments of programs at the request of their institutions. AWP has published guidelines that establish the MFA as the appropriate terminal degree for the writer who teaches in higher education, and the committee often works to reinforce those guidelines. In the evaluation of writing programs, the committee uses AWP’s Hallmarks, which set high standards for the development of creative writing programs. These hallmarks are also used in facilitating the establishment of new writing programs.
Advocacy for the Arts and for Public Funding of the Arts and Education
In partnership with other organizations, AWP defends our writers’ freedom of expression, and we seek to improve public funding for the arts and higher education. We work to watch and evaluate current threats to First Amendment rights, particularly those of writers, teachers, and publishers. AWP has cooperated with other organizations, including the Literary Network (LitNet), MLA, PEN, and Americans for the Arts.
How You Can Get Involved
AWP urges its members to stay informed about the appropriations process. Please write to your elected officials in Congress and in your state legislature in support of adequate spending on education, public libraries, and the arts. Please visit our friends at Americans for the Arts for updates and for information on how to participate in events such as Arts Advocacy Day.