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English Professor Judy Wilson Appointed to Associated Writing Programs National Board

Published Monday, March 29, 2021
Judy Wilson
Judy Wilson

SMSU English Professor and Director of Creative Writing Dr. Judy Wilson has been appointed to the national board of the Associated Writing Programs (AWP), and will also serve as the Chair of the Midwest Region Council, which represents all the creative writing programs in the Midwest.

Her appointment is for four years, and will begin in late summer, she said.

Wilson is in her second stint as the Creative Writing director at Southwest Minnesota State University. She has been at SMSU since 2002 and yearly attends the national AWP conference, which draws approximately 9,000 participants.

She will represent the Midwest Region on the national board. It is one of six regions in the U.S., and represents over 200 writing programs, including high school, college, master’s and Ph.D. programs.

One of her objectives is to “boost membership. The stronger your membership numbers the stronger voice you have at the national level,” she said. “The numbers have been falling off the last four to five years, and now with this pandemic, a lot of organizations are trying to save money by scaling back on membership (fees). That will be a big job going in, to boost membership.”

She also wants to “increase visibility for our Midwest programs, build stronger reputations for the same, downplay business model approaches to all things liberal arts, and push for increased diversity and equity at every level.”

The AWA board “produces the standards that writing programs adhere to, it controls how we operate our programs, and what has to be offered. It handles program reviews and assessments, too. It is the organization that sets the bar — the gold standard as far as creative writing is concerned.”

Wilson is the founder and Executive Editor of Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art & Thought,” which has an international reputation and features Indigenous writers from around the world, filling a gap in the mainstream literary culture. She is also the coordinator of the campus literary journal, Perceptions.