Community Involvement

Creative Writing Club: Offered by the Department’s MFA program, the Creative Writing Club is a free after-school program for area high school students (grades 9-12) interested in creative writing.  It is directed by its founder, Professor Robin Behn. For twelve weeks each semester, MFA candidates lead the Club through a variety of units, culminating with readings by the students and an anthology comprising samples of each student’s writing.

UA Writers In The Schools (WITS): UA WITS is a program that puts professional writers into classrooms in Tuscaloosa City and County Schools to teach creative thinking and expression to students. They work with teachers to support established curriculum, and they view their role primarily as being support for the wonderful teachers in Tuscaloosa. UA WITS was founded by Kenny Kruse, Freya Gibbon, Molly Goldman, and Sally Rodgers in March 2013. They spent six months, with lots of assistance from Professor Robin Behn, planning the program and making contacts in the schools and the community. They began teaching in classrooms at Central and Northridge High Schools in September 2013 and in Eastwood Middle School in November 2013. In January 2014, the program expanded to include twenty-three writers working with twenty-one classrooms in nine schools. Those writers are comprised of graduate students and faculty from UA's English, Gender & Race Studies, and Psychology departments.

Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project: The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project offers arts and literature classes inside Alabama state prisons, assists in the development of prison library collections, and organizes exhibitions and performances of prisoners’ work.  Each semester, the Creative Writing Program offers a Prison Arts Fellowship to one MFA student to teach a class through the APAEP.

Book Buddies: Through the Book Buddies program, graduate students help out local teachers at Crestmont Elementary School and provide private, directed reading lessons to kids.  Each week, volunteers visit a first-grade classroom at Crestmont and lead discussion groups on the day’s reading.

ARTS: Marysia Galbraith (Associate Professor, New College and Anthropology) is developing a program called ARTS—Arts Renaissance in Tuscaloosa Schools—that connects the abundant creative talent at the university and in the local art community with public school students. She has been working with the staff at Matthews Elementary School in Northport to offer arts-related workshops to kindergarten through 5th graders. Some of the scheduled workshops include face jugs, coil pottery, decoupage, tie dye, blues music, African drumming, and poetry. Anyone interested in participating can e-mail  (mgalbrai@ua.edu) or student intern Lin Wang (lwang52@crimson.ua.edu) for more information, or to sign up.

Tuscaloosa Library: The youth services department at the Tuscaloosa Public Library strives to serve children from the time they are born until they go to college. We encourage them to "come grow with us." We do this by offering quality educational programming, outstanding customer service to patrons of all ages, and by building our collection to reflect our community's  needs and wants.