Hometown: Midland, Mich.
Major: Professional Writing
WCSU Degree: Master of Fine Arts in Professional Writing
Internships: Teaching practicum - taught speechwriting at University of Virginia College at Wise in Wise, Va.
Activities: Director of Executive Communications and Chief Speechwriter for Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical Company in Midland, Mich.
Honors and Awards: 3.8+ GPA
Fletcher Dean received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Business Communication from the University of Virginia's College at Wise in 1987. He's been a professional writer for a number of years, but decided to enroll in WestConn's distance-learning Master of Fine Arts in Professional Writing program.
"It was clear to me that if I wanted to take my writing to a higher level that I would benefit from a program such as the M.F.A. in Professional Writing at WestConn," Dean says. "Throughout my career I've been focused on non-fiction writing -- first as a news reporter and more recently as a professional speechwriter. But I wanted to polish my speechwriting skills and push myself into fiction writing, and knew the best way to do that was to immerse myself into a program such as this where I was surrounded by other good writers and excellent mentors."
Dean says the M.F.A. in Professional Writing program was a perfect fit. "It combines writing on both the creative and practical levels and was flexible enough -- both in structure and approach -- to allow students to mold a great deal of their study around their own interests. Combine that with some great faculty and writing mentors and it was clear to me that this was the best program I could hope for. It was particularly well-suited for me as a working professional because it allowed me the time to fit a lot of my study around my professional life. I considered a great number of low-residency writing programs on the graduate level, but this was the only one that brought together everything I was looking for. Plus, this particular degree -- with an emphasis on professional writing -- is seen as a real plus by employers who hire writers and communicators. So a side benefit is that it looks very good on the resume."
Dean says he found many mentors and influences at WestConn. "Not only the professional staff but students, too. All of the faculty members have been extremely open and willing to help and share experiences if you ask. One mentor in particular, Mark Misercola, has been especially helpful. We have similar backgrounds on the professional side and he understands what I'm trying to accomplish within the framework of my home and professional life. Another hallmark of this program is that you can -- if you allow yourself -- form some very strong bonds with fellow students. Ron Samul, for example, was a semester ahead of me and helped me get started and was a great friend to call on to bounce ideas off of. Anne Witkatvich was another great friend who I've continued to stay in contact with.
After graduation, Dean’s long-term goal is "to turn my thesis into a publishable book. I just began a new job in July of 2007, so I'm not looking to change careers or companies. I'm combining what I've learned in this program with what I've come to understand through my professional career to craft a book on public speaking that I'm hoping will find a nice niche in the publishing world. I'm also hoping to use this terminal degree to teach as an adjunct at one of my local colleges. I've always enjoyed teaching and find that it's a good way to force myself to stay current and to constantly challenges my own beliefs so I don't become stale. And, of course, I have to return to my fiction projects."
Dean's advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Dream big. Each of us has a dream about what we want to accomplish or be or do with the rest of our lives. As long as we're dreaming, we might as well dream as big a dream as we can. It doesn't cost one cent more to dream big than it does to limit yourself. Enlarge your concept of what's possible, think about your biggest dream and ask yourself this one question: Why not?”