Help Us Support Purdue's MFA Program

December 15, 2021


Dear Members,

The MFA in creative writing at Purdue University was informed by their administration that all funding for graduate student admissions would be immediately discontinued. To learn more, read this write-up of recent events from Inside Higher Education and the Letter to the Editor from The Exponent,  Purdue’s student newspaper, by award-winning poet and long-time director of Purdue’s MFA program, Marianne Boruch.

AWP strongly disagrees with Purdue’s logic that English, the humanities, and the arts are no longer necessary to a good education. We are puzzled, too, that the Purdue administration appears to be ignoring current research about the extraordinary benefits of a creative writing degree. Since 2016 when Daniel Pink declared, “The MFA is the New MBA,” we’ve seen mounting research that confirms the value of the MFA degree across multiple professions. As an article published this week in puts it, “Storytelling is a nuanced art. It is the packaged content of brand and voice. And it is quite possibly the center of the human experience. That is why organizations all over the world look to storytelling as the most promising tool for sustaining organizational culture.” Purdue’s decision to cut funding for their English department stands to harm not only their writing program, but students across their university.

As AWP’s executive director, I am working hard with the AWP board to offer direct support and restore needed funding. However, I am also putting out a call to action to you, our valued members. Please help us stand up for the value of excellent English and creative writing education and the integrity of Purdue’s long-standing and exceptional English and creative writing programs by doing one or all of the following:

  • Sign this petition to Save the Creative Writing Program at Purdue at

  • Write an email or letter voicing your objections to Purdue Liberal Arts Dean David A. Reingold at and Purdue President Mitchell Elias Daniels Junior at  Their contact information and a sample letter are included below. You can also reach out directly to the Purdue University Board of Trustees whose emails are listed on Purdue's website.

  • Post on social media voicing your support for creative writing at Purdue and use the hashtags #SavePurdueCW and please tag us at @AWPwriter so we can reshare your posts.

As poet Rebecca Bednarz wrote on Twitter, “If it can happen at Purdue, it can happen anywhere.” This is a time for us to come together and speak together to the value of creative writing and what creative writing education provides—for Purdue and for all creative writing programs facing funding cuts across the nation.

Thank you for listening and for your support.



Handwritten signature

Cynthia Sherman





Dr. Mitchell Elias Daniels Junior

Purdue President’s Office

Hovde Hall, Room 200

610 Purdue Mall

West Lafayette, IN 47907-2040

Dr. David Reingold

Office of the Dean

Purdue University College of Liberal Arts, Room 1290

100 N. University Street West Lafayette, IN 47907-2098  


Sample Email:

Dear ___

As a writer, teacher, and member of AWP, I strongly object to your defunding of Purdue’s excellent graduate MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Your actions penalize not only the graduate programs, but undergraduate students across your campus who will no longer have access to excellent writing support and services. In the words of Avi Kak, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the upper administration at Purdue “has lost respect for the non-STEM educators, and that’s a huge tragedy for all of us.”

Please take action today to restore funding to the MFA program in creative writing at Purdue University and its award-winning journal, the Sycamore Review.


(Your name)

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