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umass76


Jan 17, 2011, 8:14 PM

Post #2001 of 2090 (13481 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

P.S. Sorry for the poll mix-up -- those three individuals who voted on the old poll regarding program preference should feel free to vote again (the poll now up is a fresh poll and will be much easier to read and follow). --S.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jan 17, 2011, 8:14 PM)


klondike


Jan 18, 2011, 12:20 AM

Post #2002 of 2090 (13460 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth,

Do you have statistics about the percentage of graduates of these programs who wind up with tenure-track jobs? Because otherwise, your tallying what the P&W trollers like isn't worth much.


umass76


Jan 18, 2011, 10:23 AM

Post #2003 of 2090 (13439 views)
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Re: [klondike] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi K.,

CW PhDs, like CW MFAs, get their jobs because of their publications, not their pedigree. There are no hiring committees out there saying, "Wow, you went to Ohio University, when can you start?" If anything MFA pedigree matters more than Ph.D. pedigree, even for those with a CW Ph.D., unless one has a critical-dissertation Ph.D. So I wouldn't choose a CW Ph.D. by placement statistics (which are, anyway, available, without "track" break-outs, via www.PhDs.org) because CW-track stats aren't separately kept -- by anyone -- which can't make them a pre-requisite for a ranking of CW Ph.D. programs, and because you'll find that the placement is still fairly unimpressive across the board. In a 2009 survey I did of the faculties of the top 50 USNWR universities and SLACs, the University of Wisconsin-Madison had more English professors on those faculties than the 32 colleges and universities with CW Ph.D. programs combined. And that includes both critical-dissertation and creative-dissertation grads from those programs. So again, the CW Ph.D. has too limited a track record for statistics like the ones you're requesting, which don't exist in "break out" form anyway for CW Ph.D. students, so applicants will have to use other measures. Certainly, applicant popularity would only be one of these -- selectivity, funding, location, reputation of department, average time of completion, foreign language requirements, faculty, cost of living, etc., will have to be the significant considerations. I do agree (for various reasons that would take too long to get into) that applicant polling is less compelling for CW Ph.D. programs than for CW MFA programs; that said, the programs that end up at the top are pretty clearly the ones most MFA students have heard of and respect. It's not coincidence that (say) University of Denver is at the top, and University of Oklahoma much further down. Talk to anyone and you'll feel immediately that the polling fairly accurately reflects the scuttlebutt out there.

S.


klondike


Jan 18, 2011, 4:38 PM

Post #2004 of 2090 (13405 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

My point is simply this: a PhD is a professional degree, and PhD programs' first priority is to professionalize their students, to prepare and help them to enter the academy. It's not necessarily a matter of pedigree; it's a matter of how well a school succeeds in professionalizing students. A ranking needs to be based on this, and a ranking that does not include this is misleading. An MFA program is an arts degree, so a ranking based on what fellow applicants and graduates say about these programs is for more appropriate.


umass76


Jan 19, 2011, 1:43 AM

Post #2005 of 2090 (13365 views)
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Re: [klondike] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't agree with your characterization of the CW Ph.D. -- a course of study structured to be remarkably similar to a two-year MFA program with academic course requirements (as many MFA programs already have) coupled with a three-year post-MFA fellowship (with the only major distinction being preliminary examinations) -- but I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the question. The CW Ph.D. is a new enough phenomenon that I do think there can be disagreements about what the purpose of the degree actually is. --S.


spamela


Jan 19, 2011, 12:52 PM

Post #2006 of 2090 (13345 views)
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Re: [klondike] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree--job placement should be a major consideration for people applying to CW PhDs. That was one of the first questions I asked when I was trying to decide on a program. Of course, that's changed since the recession hit, but it's probably changed for everyone.


blob


Jan 19, 2011, 1:29 PM

Post #2007 of 2090 (13338 views)
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Re: [klondike] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
My point is simply this: a PhD is a professional degree, and PhD programs' first priority is to professionalize their students, to prepare and help them to enter the academy. It's not necessarily a matter of pedigree; it's a matter of how well a school succeeds in professionalizing students. A ranking needs to be based on this, and a ranking that does not include this is misleading. An MFA program is an arts degree, so a ranking based on what fellow applicants and graduates say about these programs is for more appropriate.



klondike


Jan 19, 2011, 2:59 PM

Post #2008 of 2090 (13324 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth,

I appreciate all the work you've done on this, so I hope this doesn't come across as me going after you, but, regardless, saying that a CW PhD is like an MFA program, with a few more requirements and a post-MFA fellowship, is either naive or disingenuous, suggesting that it's an arts degree and not a professional degree; it comes across as a preemptive rationale for post-degree unemployment. If you poll current CW PhD candidates, I think you'll find job placement is a top concern, and this is something that good graduate programs in all disciplines work hard on. It's true that the newness of the degree makes it difficult to measure this, but that's because it remains unseen how seriously the academy takes this degree, even while they are offering it. This remains the central problem, one that needs to be addressed but cannot be solved by polling folks like us. I'm not chastising you for not doing more work -- clearly you do quite a lot -- but rather I'm saying that we need to refocus the issue. And by "we," I mean the entire CW arts-education complex, including those offering the degree, those on hiring committees, etc. Of course there will never be a consensus, in or out of the academy, but it's an important discussion.


umass76


Jan 20, 2011, 2:46 AM

Post #2009 of 2090 (13278 views)
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Re: [klondike] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi K.,

On the contrary, I think it's really the only mature way to have a discussion on the topic. For instance, you implied, above, that a Ph.D. is a Ph.D. is a Ph.D. -- the degree simply is a professional degree, no matter what, at all times, whatever the field and whatever the history of the degree in that field. That (with respect) is naive. The history of the CW Ph.D. is not the history of the Ph.D. in Astrophysics -- and not just because one is a very new phenomenon. In fact, there's an ongoing debate as to whether the CW Ph.D. should even exist, and as to whether the very notion of a CW Ph.D. is a contradiction in terms, i.e. whether the introduction of preliminary exams to a degree which was (and is) intentionally structured as a two- to three-year MFA-like experience (plus a three-year fellowship) actually renders that degree a "professional" degree with the same expectations attached to it as, say, a law school degree or a medical school degree or even (yes) a traditional Literature Ph.D.

Does the CW Ph.D. prepare students to teach more than an MFA does, assuming a funded student in both instances? No. Does the CW Ph.D. prepare a student to do academic research in a way an MFA with academic requirements (which is basically all of them) does not? No, indeed at most MFA programs the MFA students take doctoral coursework -- alongside doctoral students -- for everything but their workshops (the IWW being a very unique and unusual exception, because of the animosity between the Workshop and the UI English Department). So again, your claim is that merely calling the degree a Ph.D. and requiring prelims renders the CW Ph.D. categorically identical -- in its status as a professional degree -- to, say, the Ph.D. in Astrophysics.

And that might be true, if an "MFA in Astrophysics" were considered a co-terminal degree with the Ph.D. in Astrophysics and equally qualified graduates to get tenure-track jobs, despite the fact that (as you and I agree) the MFA is not a professional degree.

In other words, your argument relies on your own personal expectations for a CW Ph.D. course of study, uninformed as those expectations are by the actual history of the degree and (FWIW) the very different expectations of others who pursue the degree. You may well do a CW Ph.D. and expect to be placed in a tenure-track job, but many CW Ph.D. students -- and many of those who pioneered the degree in the first instance, it's clear -- in fact see the experience as an extension of the MFA, born of a time when MFA programs rarely offered teaching experience (and certainly did not offer sufficient time to publish the ms. or mss. needed for a tenure-track job) so that the CW Ph.D. had a real void to fill. The point is this: The CW Ph.D. doesn't move the ball an inch: one still needs a book or two or three to get a full-time CW job and one needs teaching experience and one needs a terminal degree, which could be either an MFA or Ph.D. in the CW field.

How could you expect me, or anyone, to penalize -- say -- Ohio University because it fails to place a graduate who hasn't done the necessary work himself/herself to publish a book...? CW jobs don't open, as in other fields, for those who are merely in the midst of promising research -- with tenure secured later, after publication of a book based on that research -- instead, one has to have a published book (or two) in hand to get a CW job that's full-time, and so neither Ph.D. programs nor MFA programs can be held responsible for, or assessed on the basis of, job placement in the same way as the Physics program at Harvard.

I think your desire to refocus Ph.D. rankings in CW on job placement is born out of a fear of joblessness we all have -- and a desire to see programs do more to help recent graduates, a desire we all share -- and not the reality, which is that the CW Ph.D. as currently conceived and executed is not much different from the MFA in terms of its professional value. And the MFA is not a professional degree. You write, "if you poll current Ph.D. candidates, I think you'll find job placement is a top concern." Well, MFA students would say exactly the same thing. But like most CW Ph.D. candidates, they wouldn't think their degree is going to "place" them in a job in the way (I can tell you) a budding attorney expects from his/her law school, or a medical student from his/her medical school, or even (as I see in my own doctoral program in English Literature) a traditional-dissertation English graduate student expects from their course of study.

Best,
Seth


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jan 20, 2011, 2:50 AM)


__________



Jan 20, 2011, 6:27 AM

Post #2010 of 2090 (13265 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

The point is this: The CW Ph.D. doesn't move the ball an inch: one still needs a book or two or three to get a full-time CW job...

This is not entirely true. I know a program director (teaching CW PhD students) who has a CW PhD, but no book(s). Just 3-5 magazine publications; two of them at a journal affiliated with their MFA, another at a journal edited by a former classmate.

(If you're curious what school, PM me, I guess. It's on your *up and coming program* radar, so it does seem relevant).


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(This post was edited by __________ on Jan 20, 2011, 6:34 AM)


spypop22


Jan 20, 2011, 7:02 AM

Post #2011 of 2090 (13258 views)
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Re: [__________] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I also know a Program Director with no books and, as it happens, no PhD.

What's more, he advocates hiring newly minted PhDs without publication credits on the grounds that publishing is kinda obsolete anyway. Within a few years (he thinks) CW programs will train and then employ writers WITH NO EMPHASIS on getting the results published anywhere.


__________



Jan 20, 2011, 7:24 AM

Post #2012 of 2090 (13255 views)
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Re: [spypop22] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Cool, man.


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libbyagain


Jan 20, 2011, 8:02 AM

Post #2013 of 2090 (13252 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

A Ph.D., a professional degree? I'm still shaking my head about that one, though maybe I'm defining "professional degree" (to my mind, a degree designed to lead toward a profession) differently than the definition in operation here?

Last I checked (and honestly, I've not really checked--simply lived, and assumed) a Ph.D. was a research degree. Mine sure was. There was teaching involved, but no "teacher training." As for expecting a job based on it. Wow--well, sort of, in that it was a pre-requ. for a job, in my field (English lit.) at the college/university level. But insofar as "expecting" a job was concerned--uh; nope. That had utterly to do with the peccadillos of the marketplace.

I gather that some English lit. Ph.D. programs now have a vigorous job placement bent. That's relatively new, as in . . . 10 years or so. Mine (UW-Madison) had none.


(This post was edited by libbyagain on Jan 20, 2011, 8:04 AM)


pongo
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Jan 20, 2011, 9:21 AM

Post #2014 of 2090 (13240 views)
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Re: [libbyagain] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Vanderbilt now has a system where every new English PhD gets a one-year contract teaching there, so they come out with actual experience. But there's no major outplacement program. And it isn't specifically for CW students.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


klondike


Jan 20, 2011, 12:37 PM

Post #2015 of 2090 (13207 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth,

Your hyperbole is misplaced. Continue with your methodology, if you think it's the right course. My point remains that we need to look at it from a different angle.


umass76


Jan 20, 2011, 5:39 PM

Post #2016 of 2090 (13175 views)
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Re: [__________] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi all,
I've no doubt there are exceptions to the rule -- but if y'all check out the annual Wiki for CW job-seekers you'll see (and I did an analysis of this for poetry job-seekers) the current standard for full-time hires is 2.1 books (just to be precise on the math) and approximately 1 national prize. At smaller programs politics and personal relationships can sometimes carry enough sway to put people in positions which -- were a national search truly executed -- they would not get. Plus, there are spousal hires and other types of hiring based on many factors of which publication is only one.
S.


umass76


Jan 20, 2011, 5:44 PM

Post #2017 of 2090 (13171 views)
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Re: [klondike] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

K.,

I don't mean to come off wrong -- I actually think you have a good point, and believe me, I share your concern about job placement. But I'm wary of including measures in rankings which constitute data-dumps that simply don't exist -- i.e., we can look at job placement by Department, but there aren't and probably won't ever be (or at least not for many years) break-outs by CW-track status. That lack of data would concern me more in trying to figure out how to conceive of CW Ph.D. rankings if I felt there were sufficient jobs out there, and/or if I thought publication was unimportant enough to full-time CW hiring, that it seemed sensible to pick a CW Ph.D. based on job placement data (...again, data that doesn't exist). But as we're not in that situation, I feel like, well, I do agree with you in many respects, but I don't know where that gets us. So I hope I'm not sounding dismissive -- I mean to sound (if anything) concerned but also unsure of where to take your observations going forward. I actually think that Ph.D. programs and (critically) MFA programs should do much more re: placement.

S.


indievirtue


Jan 20, 2011, 7:40 PM

Post #2018 of 2090 (13139 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I find that statement odd considering how your ranking was compiled. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't your Ph.D. ranking essentially a tabulation of where people told you they applied or wanted to apply to? I've read your defense of why this makes sense, and I don't feel it's worth my time to break down point by point the fallacies made in those arguments. What I will say is that unless I'm mistaken about how you compiled your ranking, and if that's the case I apologize, essentially you're creating a popularity poll based solely on the people who reply to your poll from two websites... which is even more ridiculous than it seems when you consider there's information on the number of people who apply to programs, which in line of your logic would be more accurate than simply tallying the votes of only people who respond on two websites. In other words, your "ranking" is based on the system that American Idol uses to pick a winner.


(This post was edited by indievirtue on Jan 20, 2011, 7:43 PM)


umass76


Jan 21, 2011, 4:46 AM

Post #2019 of 2090 (13096 views)
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Re: [indievirtue] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've actually never written a defense of my ranking of CW Ph.D. programs, because there is no formal ranking for these programs (nor has one ever been done). I provide an informal ranking on my blog, that's it. It's never appeared anywhere but on my blog and has never been defended at length on my blog or anywhere else. What K. and I were discussing is how a prospective ranking of CW Ph.D. programs might look.

As to the formal P&W rankings of low-res and full-res MFA programs, I wrote a fifty-page methodology article that's available for free online. You clearly have not read it.

S.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jan 21, 2011, 4:50 AM)


kdge


Jan 21, 2011, 3:10 PM

Post #2020 of 2090 (13051 views)
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Re: [indievirtue] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with indievirtue and klondike, I'm not at all saying your opinion is wrong Seth, however, I do feel you are trying to say that the PhD study is equal to MFA study and therefore simply an extension, meaning it cannot be considered to be a professional degree. If that were the case their would be no need for PhD English, Creative Dissertation programs and most people do not understand that out of the thirty or so programs in the US most of them are still PhDs in English, not simply just writing. Regardless of what MFA programs require in English classes, it is not at all the same. Most people can get through an MFA program without ever taking an English course. I feel there are many MFA grads who are simply not trained to teach or participate on the academic level of English/CRW within the university, they're simply artist and do not understand the study of both equally. This is what separates the PhD and the MFA, and allows the PhD to be viewed as a professional degree. As most of us know, many of the published information on the blogsphere about this subject comes from your compilation of information, and many people look to you as the master in knowing this information, but you must be aware of your own biases and the fallacies in your own argument on this topic.


(This post was edited by kdge on Jan 21, 2011, 3:11 PM)


spypop22


Jan 21, 2011, 4:23 PM

Post #2021 of 2090 (13034 views)
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Re: [kdge] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

The really interesting thing said so far, in my opinion, is Seth's observation that MFAs don't give a writer enough time to get published. Supposing you've done your MFA, have a worthy manuscript ready at the end of it, what next?

A PhD, especially a funded PhD, is a much more attractive prop than part-time dishwashing or overtime lawyering or whatever you did before writing that manuscript, while you wait for it to get accepted, altered, published.

Is it a professional degree? Does it prepare the candidate for teaching? Does it help get teaching jobs? All good questions. How does the PhD-granting institution benefit? An even better question, I think. Why do people choose to pursue CW PhDs? To stall, buy time, avoid daily grinds while shopping a manuscript?

Personally, I would love to be a professional student. Of anything. Apparently this was once more common than it is now. I wonder if the CW PhD is on the rise due to demand from people like me, and the benefit to the PhD-granting institution is simple straightforward tuition fees.


spypop22


Jan 21, 2011, 4:31 PM

Post #2022 of 2090 (13032 views)
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Re: [spypop22] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, Seth? Those double hyphens to indicate a dash really give away your age, man.


klondike


Jan 21, 2011, 5:06 PM

Post #2023 of 2090 (13019 views)
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Re: [spypop22] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

What's wrong with "--"? Is there another way to do it? Is this like that Slate guy bitching about two spaces after a period?


pongo
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Jan 21, 2011, 5:10 PM

Post #2024 of 2090 (13015 views)
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Re: [spypop22] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Those two hyphens give away his familiarity with the conventions of professional manuscript preparation. Get yourself a copy of a professional style book.


The Review Mirror, available at www.unsolicitedpress.com

Difficult Listening, Sundays from ten to noon (Central time), at http://www.radiofreenashville.org/.

http://home.comcast.net/~david.m.harris/site/


blob


Jan 21, 2011, 5:14 PM

Post #2025 of 2090 (13014 views)
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Re: [spypop22] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

 

What? you can't be serious. What would suggest? Please don't tell me a single hypen should stand for an em-dash, I'll have a heart attack.

The problem with this whole argument is the idea that a PhD is a professional degree. It is not. It's an academic degree. Getting the degree does not get you a job the way a medical or law degree does. Instead, it prepares you to do the work that could get you the job. And the quality of the school has to do with how well it prepares you, not whether it gets you a job or not.

For example, someone can graduate from Harvard or MIT with a PhD in microbiology, but that won't get them a job in academia. Publishing papers on successful research, however will. Of course the degree helps. But the research is necessary. Publication should be necessary for a writer in academia, as it is for every other field.

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