Department of Literature, Journalism, Writing, & Languages

Points of Distinction


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Points of Distinction

LJWL’s Creative Events and Publications

The Literature, Journalism, Writing, and Languages Department provides creative opportunities for students to expand their knowledge, acquire hands-on experience in their fields, and meet writers, scholars, and professionals with years of expertise and wisdom. These distinctive programs are designed specifically to complement the curriculum in the classroom, and we encourage all students from all programs to participate in one or more of these opportunities over the course of their study in the department.

Writer’s Symposium by the Sea

The Writer’s Symposium is an event held once a year to model, inspire, and encourage great writing. Many significant writers have come to the campus and met with classes, student groups, conducted workshops, and participated in in-depth interviews about the craft of writing. Those interviews are broadcast in an unusual collaboration with UCSD-TV, which then broadcasts them throughout the world in its UC channel and on YouTube. Symposium interviews have been viewed by approximately 2 million people around the world. When writer Ray Bradbury died in 2012, the New York Times provided a link in its obituary to Bradbury’s appearance at the Writer’s Symposium, prompting another 60,000 views online. Some of the writers who have appeared are Bill Moyers, Amy Tan, Anne Lamott, Ray Bradbury, Kathleen Norris, Philip Yancey, Garrison Keillor, Eugene Peterson, Rob Bell, Donald Miller, Mary Karr, Anchee Min, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Bill McKibben, Michael Eric Dyson and dozens of others.

Campus Publications

The Literature, Journalism, Writing, and Languages Department sponsors and supports several campus publications in which students are encouraged to participate as they explore their creative talents.

The Point Weekly, PLNU’s student-run newspaper is a real-life journalism experience where students plan the content, provide the content, take the photos, edit the stories, lay out the pages, write the headlines for both the print edition and the paper’s website. The faculty adviser provides oversight, and then critiques the paper with the staff on the day of each publication. The adviser also guides and advises throughout the week as stories are developed. If a story has particular sensitivity or legal consideration, the adviser is consulted on a more in-depth basis. Students taking the LJWL course WRI 215 make up the staff of the paper. They gain experience by interviewing the president, the landscaper, students, whomever, and cover stories that the staff feels is in the broad campus interest. They also take the criticism that naturally comes with such an enterprise. It is very much like a community news organization. When they graduate they have a portfolio of evidence showing that they know how to work in the journalism world.

Driftwood, Point Loma Nazarene University’s annual creative arts publication,is a hands-on media workshop that presents fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, literary essays, art, photography, films, and music. Contributors from the University community include students of all majors, faculty, staff, and alumni. Beginning fall semester and continuing through spring term, the student editorial team of LJWL’s WRI216 course builds the book-length Driftwood (including a CD and DVD) from the ground up, with a new design, layout, theme, contents, and distribution strategy each year. In the process, WRI216 students learn not only the more creative and glamorous aspects of the modern literary journal, but also the nuts and bolts of real-world publication, including practical editing, staff supervision and readership accountability, print specifications, promotion, public relations, advertising, and sales. The result is a professional-quality production, a showcase for the PLNU community, and a point of distinction for both the LJWL Department and the University. Submission deadline is usually mid-October.

The Mariner is PLNU”s yearbook, a publishing enterprise like none of the other experiences in the PLNU students’ life. Its role is to capture the spirit, the people and defining moments of that school year. Unlike the newspaper, which tries to capture news of the campus as it happens, the Mariner tries to capture what the students will want to remember 10, 20, and 50 years from now. When a researcher tries to determine the ethos and events of a particular year, this will be one of the sources he or she will use. So students enrolled in the LJWL WRI 217 course are constantly paying attention, taking photos, taking notes, throughout the school year, and determining what will constitute the content of that year’s edition. Students deal with publishers, budgets, deadlines, and make important editorial judgments.

The Writers’ Studio—Training Student Tutors and Helping Struggling Writers

The Writers’ Studio is a theoretically based writing center where qualified students enrolled in College Composition courses go, to work with theoretically and pedagogically trained tutors. The tutors who work in the Studio are undergraduate students who have completed Advanced Grammar and Usage, LIN 365, and Writing Theory and Pedagogy, WRI 370. These trained tutors work alongside the College Composition Students to meet them at their point of need and at all stages of the writing process. Each writing student works with one tutor for a minimum of ten weeks. The consistent one-on-one contact between tutor and student writer enables them to develop a rapport with each other, to get to know one another, and to trust each other. As a result, the student writer is able to explore topic ideas, bring into the Studio process drafts, experiment with writing styles, etc. and receive risk-free feedback from her or his tutor. The tutor affirms what the writer does well and looks for areas that need more work and for error patterns in the student’s writing and/or thinking and teaches the student what s/he needs to know to eliminate the error. The tutor does not write for the student writer: the pen remains in the writer’s hand; instead, the tutor asks questions to lead the student writer into an understanding of what the student writer knows but has not yet discovered and put into her or his draft. Their working together enables them both to develop listening skills, critical and analytical thinking skills, grammar and writing skills, communication skills, and relational skills. The tutors learn how to teach basic writing and thinking skills, they develop patience, an understanding of varying learning, thinking, and personality styles and adaptability in teaching to the student’s varying styles. They learn how to help a writer develop confidence as a writer and thinker so that the writer can move into other courses and meet the writing demands. They work as a professional alongside both the student writer and the professor, creating a link between the two.

Study Abroad—Expanding Our Students’ Cultural Horizons

The Literature, Journalism, Writing, and Languages department knows that studying abroad offers a classroom unlike any other and will perfectly complement your traditional classroom studies at PLNU. LJWL has featured study abroad opportunities for select literature classes in order to broaden cultural perspectives through expertly-guided travel in other countries; to increase students’ understanding of literature by providing deepened historical-biographical contexts for the literatures; and to nurture a life-long desire for reading and travelling.

We offer two programs led by LJWL faculty, but you can go virtually anywhere through the Study Abroad Office.

  • Tour the British Isles during the summer while reading Irish and British literature.
  • Study in London for a semester and read British literature, poetry, and drama in its geographical context.

Study Journalism in Washington DC—Washington Journalism Center: http://www.bestsemester.com/wjc/

The Literature, Journalism, Writing, and Languages department has a deep connection to the Washington Journalism Center as one of our now retired faculty members, Sue Atkins, helped design the program and one of our 2009 Journalism graduates, Rose Creasman, is Program Coordinator and Assistant Instructor for the program. We have had several Journalism students study in this program in years past. We strongly encourage our students to participate in this program.

Distinctive Programs

Distinguished Faculty