LITERARY ARTS AND THE ACADEME
March 27, 2008
It’s graduation season, the month we march. For a writer and somebody who stayed for the longest time in the university, I can only ponder on the future of literature in the academe. For one, I observe that most of our schools have taken it upon themselves to prioritize ‘in’ courses. That is to say, the programs that attract the most number of enrollees.
If you think about it, our universities seem to cater to the demands abroad. The courses that produce professionals needed abroad get the upper hand. This can be observed even in some commencement exercises in the region. B.S. Nursing graduates get ‘special treatment’ in these events. They are the first ones to be called, and prior to the march, even their invitations and graduation programs get printed first. The others just have to wait.
Nevertheless, I still think that the academe can help this country become a republic of readers and writers. Here’s how I think it should be done:
- Hire more prize-winning writers in the faculty. M.A. units can sure help, but I think literary arts is contagious. If the teacher is himself/herself a writer, more students will develop love for literature.
- Reward student writers. Budding pen pushers who qualify for national writing workshop fellowships, get printed in prestigious publications, win prizes in contests ought to be lauded. Posters or tarpaulins should be displayed in campus in their honor. Their published works should also be posted in the bulletin board.
- Invite prominent authors for speaking engagements. This will make students realize that not all famous writers are dead. This will also expose them to their wit and eccentricities.
- Hold poetry performances. But then, nobody must read from song magazines thinking that it’s poetry.
- Post announcements about call for submissions for national workshops, publications and contests.
- Support campus-based writer’s groups by offering financial grants.
- Sponsor literary workshops and contests, and publish a literary journal regularly.
The academe has to spearhead the development of literary arts in the country. It has to continue being the haven of writers.