"The individual attention that I am able to give each student within the Intensive program is the only way to teach this course. Even though we have just three short weeks with each other, the program provides a wonderful first leap onto the long road of writing," Mr. Reichard has said of creative writing workshop. As an up-and-coming author, Reichard's own journey down the "long road" has already been filled with accolades. He received his BA in English literature from Villanova University, and he studied under novelist Chaim Potok. Reichard then completed a master's degree in humanities at the University of Chicago, where he received the Catherine Ham Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Masters of Arts Program in Humanities. His collection of short stories, The Gospel According to Me, was also nominated for the Best Creative Thesis Award. As one of his students puts it, "I can tell that Patrick is going to be known as a great writer someday. You can just see that he has it in him."
Reichard sees teaching as an opportunity to take student companions along on the journey, and he values each student individually: "I think what I love most about teaching fiction writing is the diversity I see in students; each one has his/her own approach and own voice to contribute." Reichard is now a full-time English professor at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights; previously he taught literature and writing to high school students. His passion for teaching and the transformation it can bring to student writers is evident: while, on the one hand, he wants his students "to familiarize themselves with the basic elements of fiction writing (plot, conflict, character development, dialogue, etc.)," on the other hand he also wants them "to have a better sense of themselves as writers and fuller understanding of the world they live in." Of course, this sort of transformation is possible because of the power of art itself, Reichard claims, "students should take this course if they are looking for a challenge as artists, which is the highest challenge in a society that asks you to conform and consume."