A! Magazine for the Arts

East Tennessee State University offers a master's in storytelling.

East Tennessee State University offers a master's in storytelling.

ETSU has storytelling program

September 26, 2017

East Tennessee State University offers an undergraduate minor and a master's concentration in storytelling.

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, Tennessee. ETSU 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. A few years ago, the university added undergraduate courses that help students use this art form in many different disciplines and career fields.

The ETSU storytelling minor is beneficial to students in a variety of fields. Kennesaw State near Atlanta, Georgia, has a similar program, but ETSU's is different because it has courses dedicated to performance genres and professional applications of storytelling to such fields as education, business, ministry and health.

The interdisciplinary undergraduate storytelling minor provides students with grounding in the field of Performing and Applied Storytelling. The coursework blends content knowledge and delivery skills, theory and practice, thought and feeling, art and professional applications, and fosters skills essential to the new economy of networking, creativity and self-presentation.

The storytelling minor is an 18-credit-hour interdisciplinary sequence. Four core courses are required "Introduction to 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, literature, theater and more.

ETSU students are available through Tale Tellers to present their storytelling to your organization. The primary touring season runs from September through November, and mid- February through April. They sometimes can accommodate a need for high-quality story performance outside of the normal booking season.

The program offers short summer intensive master classes on topics in contemporary storytelling. Established in 1992, ETSU Institute instructors have included many of the best-loved performers and teachers in the storytelling world. ETSU Summer Institutes are a great way for interested students to get a taste of the spirit and energy of the ETSU Storytelling Program.

These popular three-to-five day workshops may be attended by anyone - either for university credit or on a non-credit basis. Generally one graduate credit hour is available per institute. In-state tuition is available to all who enroll.

The Professional Communication master's degree, with concentrations in Storytelling and Communication studies, is an advanced platform for understanding and practicing the powers of communication, story and narrative.

For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, contact the ETSU Storytelling Office by phone at (423) 439-7606 or email Interim Coordinator Storytelling Program at reeddk@etsu.edu. Additional information is also available at www.etsu.edu/stories.

Storytelling Festival