Section 01
Nancy West
Course Description

“Storytelling: Why It Matters” 

Whether your major is Nuclear Engineering or Fisheries and Wildlife, I bet you’ve told at least one story today. Why? Because stories are vital to being human, and we do it All. The. Time. As sci-fi writer Margaret Atwood puts it, “Storytelling is not a luxury to humanity; it’s almost as necessary as bread.” Storytelling is an urge we all have, but it’s also a skill to be honed. 

This course will help you develop your storytelling skills, which, on a practical level, can be vital your profession. Imagine you’re a doctor having to tell a patient she’s seriously ill. What’s the best thing you can do in that instance? Tell a story of a patient who survived the illness. 

This course explores storytelling in big, broad ways, looking at some of its various histories, forms, meanings, and uses. It will also give you the fundamental tools to tell your own stories, whether they’re fictional, personal, or professional. As a course with a wide reach, “Storytelling” enlists the expertise of MU faculty from across campus, including Creative Writing, Digital Storytelling, History, and Political Science. Together, we’ll explore topics like the power of storytelling in politics, documentary storytelling, narrative medicine, and Greek mythology. To our knowledge, no other university offers a course quite like this one. 

Class structure is a combination of weekly lectures and discussions. There will be a midterm and final exam and a variety of short, storytelling assignments with lots of options for student choice.