Even though I’ve been actively teaching in the university setting for more than 10 years, I’ve nearly always been in front of non-writing majors. (Right now, at the University of Virginia, I teach media studies majors.)
However, my undergraduate degree is a BFA in creative writing, and recently the AWP approached me to write an essay offering advice to undergraduate students pursuing that same degree. You can now read it over at AWP’s site.
Here’s a little bit of what I had to say.
“If it were up to me, every undergraduate writing program would help their students better understand the economics of the writing life and how authors or artists do manage to put together a full-time living from doing what they love. It is possible, but instruction and mentorship surrounding these issues remains rare in traditional programs. So it is up to you, dear student, to demand it from your program and its professors, or find it elsewhere.”
I do find it telling (and unfortunate) that my skills and abilities have so far been most highly valued by university degree programs not directly related to creative writing or English. Maybe that will change in time.