Friday, November 13, 2009

Creative Writing at Andalusia

It is quite fortunate for all concerned that Andalusia is located in the town that is also the home of Georgia's public liberal arts university, Georgia College & State University (GCSU). It is also the institution, earlier called Georgia State College for Women, where Flannery O'Connor earned her undergraduate degree in June 1945. This university of 6,500 students offers several programs that provide wonderful opportunities for collaboration between Andalusia and GCSU. The most obvious of these is the Creative Writing Program, where graduate students are instructed in the craft of writing and are encouraged to publish in their respective genres. Professors who teach in that program routinely hold classes at Andalusia and bring visiting writers for tours. The students visit Andalusia to tour the house, to volunteer, to walk the nature trail, or to find a place simply to read and write. No one can deny that Andalusia is an ideal place to inspire writers. Students in the Environmental Sciences department use the property for algae sample studies and ecosystem monitoring. GCSU also offers an alternative to traditional middle school education through a program called Early College, which prepares students to complete high school, gives them an opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit, and assists them in meeting requirements to earn the Georgia HOPE Scholarship. The Early College students take field trips to Andalusia and are given topic prompts to write creative papers, some of which will be posted on Andalusia's website. The Foundation partners with GCSU on a variety of programs including the February lecture series, The Big Read, the Southern Literary Trail, and more. Andalusia has the potential to expand this partnership with GCSU and other colleges, universities, and institutions as we seek to increase the appreciation and understanding of the life and work of Flannery O'Connor.


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