Aug 30, 2008, 12:40 PM
Re: [Junior Maas] Choosing an MFA Program (2009)
Anywho, I believe the original point was how hiring committees perceive things -- tweedy old men a bit fuzzy on their MFA lore. It strikes me that an Ivy League school will always sound impressive. Say if Harvard got James Frey to head a brand new, three hundred student MFA with a 50% acceptance rate, that program would probably give you the edge over Irvine grads.
There has only been one official type ranking published since the 97 ones, and it didn't show drastic movement. Most of the other rankings online are based on where applicants should apply and movement is heavily dictated by funding. This is perfectly fine for applicants, but it doesn't necessarily reflect on the strength of a program or the quality of its alumni.
It is prestige and alumni success that hiring committees care about and not location or good TA stipends. Obviously there is some correlation between the two, as presumably the more applications you get the likelier you are to accept good writers and then the likelier you are to have alumni success. Still, by and large the same programs hyped for their alumni a decade ago (Iowa, UCI, Columbia, etc.) are still producing the most and keeping their reputation in that regard.
It also would not surprise me if the current MFA climate only reinforces the prestige of a few top programs, because recent history hasn't really seen a replacement of desirable programs but a disbursement of applicants. Now there are dozens of MFA programs that are desirable and I find it unlikely hiring committees would try to keep track of them all.
Anyway, it is still your publication history that is going to get you a job, not your school... unless it is Iowa maybe.
(This post was edited by Clench Million on Aug 30, 2008, 12:46 PM)