The college developed the Western writer-in-residence proposal to attract a major author, who is from the western region or who writes on the subject of the North American West, to MSU on a visiting basis for a period of 1 to 3 years. This position, which is housed in the Department of English, will raise MSU’s profile in the field of creative writing and as a research and educational hub in the study of the American West. The college hopes to make the Western writer-in-residence a permanent position at MSU and is seeking funding for an endowment to support the program.
Award-winning author Rick Bass will serve as MSU's first Western writer-in-residence. During his three-year appointment at MSU, Bass will teach courses in creative writing, as well as serve as a guest lecturer in other classes. He will also participate in public readings and other community events.