A! Magazine for the Arts

Undergraduate storytelling minor to be available this fall at ETSU

May 17, 2013

JOHNSON CITY – Building on the success of its master's concentration in storytelling, East Tennessee State University has established an undergraduate minor in the field, which will be available to students in the 2013-14 academic year.

Storytelling has grown immensely over the past few decades, particularly in East Tennessee, with the establishment and popularity of the National Storytelling Festival and what has become the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough. ETSU has enhanced that growth by offering a master of arts degree program in reading/storytelling with a concentration in storytelling for many years, drawing students from around the nation and several foreign countries, and the university now plans to provide undergraduate courses that will help students use this art form in many different disciplines and career fields.

According to Dr. Joseph Sobol, a professor in the department of curriculum and Instruction in the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education and coordinator of the ETSU Storytelling Program, the ETSU storytelling minor is different and will be beneficial to students in a variety of fields.

"There is one other university that has a course sequence similar to this – Kennesaw (Ga.) State near Atlanta – but this one is unique in having courses dedicated to both performance genres and professional applications of storytelling to such fields as education, business, ministry and health," Sobol said. "Also, the ETSU minor encourages interdisciplinary work in related disciplines of either performance or professional applications."

The storytelling minor is an 18-credit-hour interdisciplinary sequence. Four core courses are required: "Introduction to Contemporary Storytelling," "Storytelling II: Oral Traditional Storytelling," "Storytelling III: Telling Personal Stories" and "Applied Storytelling: Storytelling for a Purpose."

In addition to those required courses, participating students may choose six credit hours from approved related courses in education, communication, English, folklore, sociology/anthropology, business and marketing, history, and more.

"We're shooting for 10 to 12 declared minors in the first year, though we would gladly accept more," Sobol said. "We expect many more to take the initial "Introduction to Contemporary Storytelling' course, and hopefully they will be enticed to go further."

The ETSU storytelling minor was approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents this spring.

For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, contact the ETSU Storytelling Office by phone at (423) 439-7606 or by e-mailing Sobol at sobol@etsu.edu or Dr. Delanna Reed at reeddk@etsu.edu. Additional information is also available atwww.etsu.edu/stories.