Inside Moravian
e-Newsletter of the Moravian College Campus Community 10/8/14
A soldier sits on a military truck writing in a journal.
 

ABOVE: Beginning in spring 2015, Moravian College will offer a workshop-based writing course designed specifically for student veterans. This course is open to student veterans who are enrolled at LVAIC institutions, Northampton County Community College and Lehigh County Community College. Photo courtesy of Department of Defense, Minnesota National Guard

 
 

Putting Military Experience into Words

Moravian College to Offer Inaugural Veterans Writing Workshop in Spring 2015

The logo for the College's INFOCUS program.

ABOVE: Moravian's Veterans Writing Workshop will coincide with the College's IN FOCUS initiative for 2014-2015, “War, Peacebuilding and the Just Society.” IN FOCUS is Moravian’s college-wide innovative program to promote in-depth examination of complex issues from multidisciplinary perspectives.

It’s no assumption to say that every returning war veteran and military personnel member has a story to share. Beginning in spring 2015, through its inaugural ENGL 299: Veterans Writing Workshop, Moravian College will offer student veterans the opportunity to put pen to paper and join a writing community on its Bethlehem campus.

According to Joyce Hinnefeld, associate professor of English and English Department chair, the College’s new writing class joins an expanding catalogue of literary workshops and programs in the country, assisting veterans who may be grappling with wide-ranging emotions as they assimilate back into civilian life.

“This course is exciting and moving for me because there is so much happening with veterans’ writing right now,” Hinnefeld explained. “In recent years, there has been so much powerful writing by veterans, much of it coming out of similar kinds of workshops.”

The workshop-based writing course, designed specifically for student veterans, will help writers shape narratives that address the many facets of their military experiences. While members of the class will read and discuss a variety of texts, they will work primarily on the writing of their own narrative works, including fiction and memoir. This course is open to student veterans who are enrolled at LVAIC institutions, Northampton County Community College and Lehigh County Community College. It will be held on Wednesday evenings, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., on Moravian’s Main Street Campus. Click here to view the course's promotional flyer.

This new course will coincide with the College's IN FOCUS initiative for 2014-2015, “War, Peacebuilding and the Just Society.” IN FOCUS is Moravian’s college-wide innovative program to promote in-depth examination of complex issues from multidisciplinary perspectives.

While immediately drawn to course, Hinnefeld admitted she was initially hesitant to lead the class because she has no military background. “There was a sense that I’m not qualified,” she explained. “I had read that these classes often work best when led by a veteran who can relate to the experiences of the students.”

Eric T. Fair, an Army veteran who is advising the workshop, vehemently disagreed. An established author, with published articles in The Washington Post, Fair felt Hinnefeld was in fact the ideal candidate to lead the course, noting her expertise with the written word. In some ways she, not a fellow veteran, could offer the students a better learning experience when it comes to writing, Fair contended .

Once the course begins in January, Hinnefeld wants to build a supportive community within the class, where participants feel comfortable regardless of their service time, experience and rank. Initial interest in the course has already been strong. “I have no idea what to expect,” she admitted. “There could be a range of emotions for both me and the students. But there is potential for that in any writing class, I have learned.”

Students enrolled in the course will be invited to present and discuss their work at the LVAIC Conference on War and Peacebuilding: Drawing on the Power of Narrative and Dialogue to Build a Just Society in the Lehigh Valley on Friday, March 27, 2015. The conference will be held at Moravian College.

“This course will help us to grow with respect to one important INFOCUS goal this year, to increase our understanding regarding the impact of war regionally as well as nationally and globally, and to make stronger connections between people who have been most directly involved in the recent U.S. wars, and the rest of the populace,” said Kelly Denton-Borhaug, associate professor of religious studies and co-director of Peace and Justice Studies.

Denton-Borhaug co-chairs this year's INFOCUS initiative with Daniel Jasper from the Department of Sociology.

Moravian College students should follow normal registration procedures. All others should contact Moravian College’s Comenius Center at comenius@moravian.edu or 610-861-1400 for registration information.

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