As a leading story organization in the U.S., NSN is occasionally afforded opportunities to advance our art in ways that only make sense to pursue at the national level. At our first quarter board meeting a few days ago, Dr. Irene Nielsen brought such an opportunity to our attention. As more and more people become involved in all forms of storytelling, there are a growing number of programs which seek to provide instruction to story practitioners.
Dr. Nielsen has offered to lead a study to investigate the feasibility of offering non-institutional programs of story instruction an opportunity to voluntarily comply with standards of excellence, resulting in their accreditation by the National Storytelling Network. This note seeks to enlist interested members to participate in the feasibility study.
If you have questions or concerns about this initiative, or if you think you might be interested in helping with the study, I encourage you to read on. I’m asking those who may be interested in participating in the feasibility study to use this form to indicate their interest. Someone will follow up shortly.
For clarity – we have authorized only the feasibility study. The clients of this potential accreditation will not include institutions of higher education (colleges and universities), which already submit to institutional accreditation. Our “ask” at this point is “would you like to help conduct this research and possibly shape a formal proposal to go forward with such a program?”
This is not an effort to dictate anything about how to tell stories – or even how to teach people about storytelling. Accreditation simply means that an organization provides clear information about the goals and objectives of their course of instruction, and that their program delivers on its promises. NSN’s role would be, if we move forward following the study, to evaluate the applicant program’s published documents and to establish a process to ensure that they comply with their own promises. Students of these programs would thus be assured that they will receive the instruction they pay for, and that they have a process for addressing those situations in which they may feel that the instructional program has failed to live up to its own commitments.
This is also not a “storyteller certification” program. While there’s a natural linkage with educational programs that seek to reflect the capability of individual storytellers (e.g. levels of competence), there are no such provisions in this proposal. Our goal is simply to ensure transparency and accountability for instructional programs. If one of those programs were to offer some form of certification to its graduates, the accreditation would serve simply to undergird the credibility of the program itself, not the resulting certification.
NSN is excited about the potential for this program and look forward to the feasibility study report later this year.