MFA Diversity and Inclusion

Fostering Diverse Voices

We are committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity in the MFA Creative Writing program. On this page, you will learn about some of our ideas and actions.
The Creative Writing faculty members and staff believe a respect for policies and practices that foster diverse voices and viewpoints, and that protect all members of our community against discrimination and maintain appropriate professional boundaries, is integral to the success of our students and our program. To that end, our program is committed to proactively fostering diversity and inclusion throughout its curriculum, admissions, hiring, and day-to-day practices.

If anyone feels discriminated against, our Program Director is always available to talk about any concerns you may have or to answer any questions. You can also contact the Creative Writing Faculty Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (Kate Bernheimer, Susan Briante, Manuel Muñoz). If you feel that you’ve witnessed or experienced discriminatory conduct, all of us are good points of contact for your concerns. You may also report your concerns to the Office of Institutional Equity. The University’s policy strictly prohibits retaliation against an individual for reporting perceived discrimination or participating in a resulting investigation. Don’t be silent!

The Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

Consisting of members of the faculty as well as student representatives, the Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity was formed in 2016 to support our program’s commitment to these values. 

2019 - 2020 Committee: Kate Bernheimer, Associate Professor, Chair; Susan Briante, Associate Professor; Manuel Muñoz, Associate Professor & Program Director

2018 - 2019 Committee

2017 - 2018 Committee

2016 - 2017 Committee


The Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

On a cyclical basis, our program faculty produce a Statement on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity to reaffirm our commitment to these values. We consider this collaborative statement to be a living document that reflects our ongoing engagement with diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts. It changes as we change and as institutional mandates transform. Please find our first two statements below.

2019 - 2020 Statement

2016 - 2018 Statement


The Conversation

An occasional MFA Program series called The Conversation was begun in 2016 and is a chance for us to share important ideas on diversity, inclusion, and equity with our passionate literary peers. Each segment takes up a different theme and is organized by an MFA student, or group of MFA students, in tandem with an MFA faculty member, who work as equals to moderate a horizontal program-wide dialogue on the theme. It is intended to inspire us in our professional work as committed artists, teachers, and community members. The Conversation is an investigation and celebration of our vital and evolving ideals as a creative writing program. It is an egalitarian conversation among ardent practitioners in a diverse field.

Below, you will find descriptions of some past installments of The Conversation.


The Conversation on Gender Bias: Candidate in Fiction Eshani Agrawal and Associate Professor of English Manuel Muñoz were our conversation guides. They asked us to read “Scent of a Woman’s Ink” by Francine Prose as a starting point.

The Conversation on Syllabus Diversity: Organized by Danielle Geller, MFA candidate in Nonfiction, and Julie Iromuanya, Assistant Professor of English, they asked us to read David Mura’s essay “Ferguson, Whiteness as Default, and the Teaching of Creative Writing” in advance of the event.

The Conversation on Reading Contextually: Miranda Trimmier (MFA candidate in Nonfiction), Raquel Gutiérrez (MFA candidate in Poetry and Nonfiction) and Associate Professor of English Susan Briante moderated a conversation about effective strategies we use--or could use--to foster productive classroom discussions about intercultural texts. Questions considered included: How do we talk about creative work that engages with potentially polarizing issues (like race)? And how do we teach our students to become more critical readers and writers? 

Many Voices

Many Voices is an MFA organization that provides social and professional support to graduate students of color enrolled in the University of Arizona’s creative writing MFA program. Many Voices’ goals include: increasing professional development and networking opportunities for students of color; promoting community-building; advocating for a more diverse creative writing MFA program; disseminating information to UA writers of color pertaining to academic, financial, and social needs and supports, networking opportunities, literary events, and professional opportunities; serving as a liaison between faculty, staff, student organizations, and the community at large; increasing opportunities to study literary works by writers of color; and fostering the creative development of writers of color at the UA.