Diné College launches creative writing program

Diné College will offer a new bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in creative writing starting in the fall.

College President Charles Roessel said research showed there was a demand for the degree program.

The program was approved last month by the Board of Regents. Diné College primarily serves Navajo students and is located on the Navajo reservation, with campuses in Arizona and New Mexico.

“We are an indigenous-centered institution with critically-acclaimed and published faculty here at the College,” Roessel said in a news release. “It’s only fitting to offer this degree program because it will allow the Navajo People to sustain the tradition and role of storytelling through the intense study of the creative writing discipline.”

Paul Willeto, dean for the School of Arts, Humanities and English, said an informal survey showed 54 percent of respondents said they would be interested or knew someone who would be interested in a creative writing degree program. It also indicated the most popular genres were poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.

“We created the program after looking at programs offered by six regional universities,” Willeto said. “This program is ideal for someone who wants to be a working writer, or if they want to continue on with graduate studies or a position in communications.”

Students interested in the creative writing program at Diné College can email Shaina Nez, program coordinator, at shainez@dinecollege.edu.

State has 16 schools on coronavirus watchlist

Sixteen schools are on the state Public Education Department’s COVID-19 watchlist.

The list, which comprises schools that had two rapid responses in a 14-day period, includes St. Michael’s and Taos High School. Meanwhile, no schools are on the closure list, in which a school reports four rapid responses over the same period.

The state announced it will no longer provide a weekly watchlist, in lieu of a broader by-the-numbers release that will be distributed starting Wednesday.

Highlands gets grant for distance learning

New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas announced it received a $510,363 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a distance-learning site in Mora for the university’s students and the community.

The Education Beyond Campus project is a partnership with Collaborative Visions, a nonprofit organization in Mora.

The project will allow the university to bring its educational components to the rural community, said Edward Martínez, a former natural resources management professor at the university who was the lead researcher for the grant.

The Helping Hands building will be outfitted with desktop and laptop computers, broadband internet access, smartboards, laser printers, Zoom videoconferencing capability and more. Data cable will be installed throughout the building to support the computers and classroom technology.

SFCC closes campus for spring break

Santa Fe Community College and the Higher Education Center will be closed for spring break starting Monday.

The college also announced the campus will remain closed to the public in response to state health orders, with most classes conducted online.

Classes and online student services will resume March 22, and many eight-week classes will begin on that date. Registration is available for late-starting credit classes at sfcc.edu. Registration for continuing education classes is available at sfcc.augusoft.net.

The New Mexican

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