Goddard Hires New Director of BFA in Creative Writing Program

Plainfield, Vt. ‐‐‐ Goddard College today announced the hiring of Janet Sylvester as the new director of the college’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Creative Writing Program.

Sylvester is a Goddard alumna who has authored three books of poems. Her writings have appeared in renowned publications including The Best American Poetry, TriQuarterly, Boulevard, Harvard Review, The Georgia Review, Poetry Daily, Blackbird, and dozens of other journals and anthologies.

“It seems fitting that I’ve been hired by Goddard College, where I earned my BA and MFA degrees,” said Sylvester. “I’ve never had a truer educational experience than I did at Goddard. Working with the excellent faculty at the creative writing program, I hope to be able to contribute to the development of what is already a cutting‐edge program in the literary arts.”

Goddard’s BFA in Creative Writing Program is the first low‐residency BFA program in the country, and allows students to develop their writing in an environment of independent, student‐centered learning. It is a 120‐credit program open to transfer students who have already completed approximately 60 liberal arts credits. “We are thrilled to welcome Janet back to Goddard – not only because of her professional background and her intimate knowledge of the college, but also because of her true enthusiasm about this one‐of‐a‐kind program” said Goddard College President Barbara Vacarr.

“Janet not only understands the importance of the low‐residency BFA model, but she has the skill and experience to grow it as an exceptional centerpiece of Goddard’s undergraduate programs.”

Sylvester is a founding faculty member of the low‐residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is a visiting professor at the University of Tampa in Florida. She has also taught at Harvard University, Old Dominion University, and at Lynchburg College as the Thornton Writer‐in‐Residence, among others. Sylvester is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Grolier Poetry Prize, a PEN Discovery Award, the DeWitt Wallace/Reader’s Digest fellowship at MacDowell, and a fellowship in poetry to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

Sylvester’s first book of poetry, That Mulberry Wine, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 1985. Her second, The Mark of Flesh, was published by W.W. Norton in 1997. She is currently circulating her third book of poems, Breakwater.


Goddard College was chartered in 1938 at its Plainfield, Vermont campus by founding President Royce “Tim” Pitkin. In 1963, Goddard became the first U.S. college to offer adult‐ degree programs, and now specializes in MA, MFA, BA and BFA low‐residency education. Offering accredited degree programs from campuses in Plainfield, Vermont and Port Townsend, Washington, Goddard’s low‐residency format offers the best of on‐campus and distance education, with experienced faculty advisors, rigorous on‐campus residencies, and the freedom to study from anywhere.

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to www.goddard.edu

This will close in 0 seconds