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spypop22


Jan 21, 2011, 5:32 PM

Post #2026 of 2090 (10371 views)
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Re: [pongo] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


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


Pongo: familiarity with these conventions bear a positive correlation to an age above thirty. And many thanks for your very thoughtful, kind, considerate style book suggestion. With tact that exquisite you must be nearing your own centenary.


klondike


Jan 21, 2011, 5:42 PM

Post #2027 of 2090 (10367 views)
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Re: [blob] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm just glad we're all on board that "--" is the way to go.

Blob, an academic degree and a professional degree are not necessarily too different things. And please, stop giving the degree agency here. Saying a PhD is a professional degree is not the same thing as saying the degree is "getting" you a job. Playing with agency like that is just sloppy rhetoric, a la, "guns don't kill people..." Anyone in a PhD program who doesn't feel that their program is professionlizing them to work in academia (a huge part of which is research), then you're probably in a bad program. Sorry, I promised I'd step out of this debate when I realized it wasn't going anywhere, but I suppose that's what these board are for.


spypop22


Jan 21, 2011, 5:44 PM

Post #2028 of 2090 (10366 views)
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Re: [blob] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


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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.


Hi Blob,

Please don't have a heart attack. Historically the double hyphen had a meaning; nowadays I'm not sure. Kids don't get it. Personally, I read it as a writer or editor's instruction to a typesetter: INSERT EM DASH HERE. That said, I'm north of several generations. So when I see it, I think the author must be in my neighborhood. I see no harm in pointing out that said neighborhood is ringed by barbarians or liberators or both, depending on your point of view.

I think the CW PhD probably hasn't had time to decide whether it is a professional degree, or a writing apprenticeship, or what. That's what makes it interesting. I just wanted to suggest that it's appealing precisely because it buys time while the people pursuing it decide what they are going to pursue professionally, too.


spypop22


Jan 21, 2011, 5:52 PM

Post #2029 of 2090 (10360 views)
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Re: [spypop22] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess I should add that yes - a single hyphen probably makes sense nowadays - I don't tell the bartender 'how do you do' anymore - if you were to have dinner at mine you'd find I'm a big fan of semicolons, but I also think it's imperative to live in the world as you find it. I wouldn't want to prescribe punctuation to anyone, but my future posts will probably use single hyphens to represent dashes. Apologies in advance to all offended parties.


klondike


Jan 21, 2011, 6:25 PM

Post #2030 of 2090 (10352 views)
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Re: [spypop22] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

You might not say "How do you do?" to your bartender anymore, but your bartender still understands that if s/he uses rum instead of cachaca in a caipirinha it becomes a caipirissima, just as a writer should know that if s/he uses a hyphen instead of an em dash it can change the meaning of a sentence.


indievirtue


Jan 21, 2011, 6:48 PM

Post #2031 of 2090 (10348 views)
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Re: [umass76] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, I have read your defense on the MFA methodology, and I assumed (incorrectly in this case) that you applied the same logic to your Ph.D. ranking. I apologize for that, but then one must ask the question why you would even post such a "ranking" or even call it that. If it's a poll of where people applied to or wanted to, then call it that.

Second, I did read it, and I think D.W. Fenza did a marvelous job of explaining (though in a long-winded fashion) why I disagree immensely (and anyone I showed it to who's ever studied statistics) as it "has deposited on the Web a long and tedious defense of the methodology behind his rankings, but his lugubrious exegesis does nothing to bolster the credence of the rankings."


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Jan 21, 2011, 6:58 PM

Post #2032 of 2090 (10337 views)
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Re: [indievirtue] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Seth's work aside (not that it's not important), "" is preferable to "--" and two spaces after a period are neither the norm nor necessary anymore.

At least, this is the majority opinion of publishing industry professionals who grew up with computers rather than typewriters.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jan 21, 2011, 8:28 PM

Post #2033 of 2090 (10316 views)
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Re: [ericweinstein] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

The question isn't between an em-dash and two hyphens, but one hyphen and two.


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/


ericweinstein
Eric Weinstein


Jan 21, 2011, 10:11 PM

Post #2034 of 2090 (10295 views)
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Re: [pongo] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
The question isn't between an em-dash and two hyphens, but one hyphen and two.


There's no question, then. One hyphen is wrong.


Hans Landa: You'll be shot for this!
Aldo Raine: Nah, I don't think so. More like chewed out. I've been chewed out before.


umass76


Jan 22, 2011, 3:41 AM

Post #2035 of 2090 (10269 views)
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Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

IV,

David is a well-intentioned man whose knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the ranking of MFA programs is, with due respect, less than nothing. I know more of nuclear science than he does of what I do -- which is surprising, given that his organization is tasked not only to do what I do but to do it better. That that organization doesn't get called out for its failures in this respect is remarkable.

Your initial question about the rankings was so replete with errors I don't really understand why you're even invested in this issue -- if you don't even know that the data you say is available is not available; if you don't even know that 75% of the rankings in the P&W rankings chart are wholly exempt from even your scattershot criticism (because they're not compiled the way you claim they are); if you don't understand that single-year applicant polling has never been intended to stand alone nor has it ever stood alone (as it's cross-checked for accuracy against five years of polling and hard data measures with which the polling is consistently 70% to 90% correlated); if you think polling well-researched applicants regarding which programs they've decided to pay their hard-earned money to and are willing to invest in (and move to) for the next three years of their lives is no different than a tween calling in a two-second vote to Ryan Sechrest for Sanjaya; in short, if you don't even understand how the rankings are compiled or what they mean or the context in which they're generated or how they're used or what they're intended to accomplish or how they came to exist or what the history of MFA rankings in the U.S. is -- etcetera, etcetera -- I can only conclude that either A) like David, you work for an organization with a well-known, politically-motivated policy of opposing all national assessment schemes for MFA programs (which policy is habitually and intentionally obscured by a wholly pretextual "principle"-based opposition to rankings), or B) you attend or have attended a program the rankings don't treat well for the sole reason that the program in question doesn't treat its students particularly well. In either case, the options before you are clear, and trying to bait me isn't one of them: either get over it, or educate yourself so that you're able to participate meaningfully in the discussion.

S.


__________



Jan 22, 2011, 6:15 AM

Post #2036 of 2090 (10263 views)
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Re: [umass76] [In reply to] Can't Post

My super-sleuthing detective skills tell me the tweens voted indievirtue right into the top twenty-five*. Congratulations, indievirtue!

(Don't take it so hard, man. Last year, I was suspected of working for the Columbia Mafia).

Seth, you know we love you...




*Methodology here


six five four three two one 0 ->

(This post was edited by __________ on Jan 22, 2011, 6:15 AM)


Tabby


e-mail user

Jan 22, 2011, 1:33 PM

Post #2037 of 2090 (10225 views)
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Re: [kdge] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


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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.



http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


blob


Jan 22, 2011, 2:54 PM

Post #2038 of 2090 (10212 views)
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Re: [klondike] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Klondike, I agree that getting a job and a professional degree are not the same thing (though I still argue that a phd is not a professional degree).
But the reason I brought the getting a job bit up so much is because it seemed like the main criticism of the rankings was that it did not factor in job placement post graduation. My point was only that that with an academic degree placement is not a measurable factor of the quality of the program the way it is for a professional degree (an MBA for example).

However, having said that, I don't think the rankings hold much weight right now because I don't think there isn't a properly established methodology yet.

In Reply To


umass76


Jan 22, 2011, 6:03 PM

Post #2039 of 2090 (10190 views)
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Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

FWIW, of the current Top 12 CW Ph.D. programs according to informal TSE polling (N = 64; total annual applicant pool to CW Ph.D. programs is almost certainly less than 650 based on projections from known admissions data), all but 2 (University of Houston and University of Cincinnati) would rank in either the Top 10 (#1-10) or Honorable Mention (#11-20) sections of a Placement ranking for programs with doctoral degrees in Creative Writing (or English with Creative Dissertation). Six of these ten ranked programs would be in the Top 10, and four in the Honorable Mention category. So there does seem to be some very rough correlation between the unscientific, still-in-progress polling and placement statistics -- realizing that the placement data collected by the NRC is for English departments, not CW Ph.D. graduates in particular -- especially when you consider that even a program ranked #19 in placement among CW Ph.D. programs (i.e., a program that "only" ranks in the middle third of the roughly 33 CW Ph.D. programs out there) is still considered "average or above" in placement by the NRC rankings. So while the #19 CW Ph.D. in placement may technically be in the "bottom half" of all CW Ph.D. programs in that category, the NRC does not designate it as "below average" in placement when compared to all English departments nationally (which is why using the Honorable Mention designation for such programs would not, hypothetically, be unreasonable).

S.


Tabby


e-mail user

Jan 24, 2011, 9:54 AM

Post #2040 of 2090 (10081 views)
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Re: [blob] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Just realized my earlier post came up blank. Nice.

To try and recapture:

We had a professional development meeting (at--haha--Ohio University where I am a PhD in creative writing) and I asked the panel (CW, lit and rhet-comp profs who had all sat on various hiring committees) if the CW Phd was, truthfully, any kind of factor on the job market. The first answer was that schools such as Iowa or Michigan only hire writers who have an established presence. "A book" isn't enough, and the PhD isn't the criteria either. That NYU hired Jonathan Safran Foer, who doesn't even have an MFA, comes to mind.

But---if the goal is a job at a smaller, liberal arts school then a PhD is a plus, because it gives you flexibility in teaching. (And yes, the CW PhD counts here). And OU has placed people in this kind of tenure track job.


http://www.kellykathleenferguson.com


pongo
Buy this book!

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Jan 24, 2011, 11:11 AM

Post #2041 of 2090 (10066 views)
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Re: [Tabby] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I've got an MFA and some modest publications. I've been turned down for interviews (who knows if I would have gotten the job, but you have to get the interview first) because I don't have a PhD. It wouldn't much have mattered in what subject the doctorate was, but for accreditation a college needs to have a bunch of PhD's on staff, and at at least one school (where I had a friend on the hiring committee) I was knocked out of the running by that lack.

Of course, these were not for CW jobs, which are about as common as hen's teeth.


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/


jaywalke


Jan 24, 2011, 12:49 PM

Post #2042 of 2090 (10045 views)
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Re: [pongo] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


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for accreditation a college needs to have a bunch of PhD's on staff


??

I've handled an accreditation while working in the Provost's office of a SLAC, and all they cared about was the % of faculty holding terminal degrees. No one counted PhDs vs. MFAs.


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jan 24, 2011, 3:09 PM

Post #2043 of 2090 (10016 views)
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Re: [jaywalke] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

I was specifically told at one university that it was the difference between an MFA and a PhD that kept me off the finalists list, and specifically because of accreditation concerns. Of course, that person may have been lying, or it may have been a different accreditation agency.

(SLAC?)


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/


bighark


Jan 24, 2011, 3:41 PM

Post #2044 of 2090 (10007 views)
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Re: [pongo] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

(Small liberal arts college)


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jan 24, 2011, 4:18 PM

Post #2045 of 2090 (10001 views)
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Re: [bighark] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Ah. Thanks. Might, in fact, have different standards than something aspiring to be a research university.


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/


pongo
Buy this book!

e-mail user

Jan 24, 2011, 4:31 PM

Post #2046 of 2090 (9998 views)
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Re: [pongo] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually, now that I think on it, I did get an interview at the SLAC where I was teaching at the same time. I bombed the interview, but I wasn't kept out of it by my MFA. So there's going to be some variation between schools and types of schools.


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/


daleth


Feb 9, 2011, 11:17 PM

Post #2047 of 2090 (9711 views)
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Re: [pongo] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post

Anyone interested in an academic career should check out the fora at chronicle.com, the website of the Chronicle for Higher Education. It's not specific to artists (i.e. MFA types), but it is skewed towards the humanities, so truly massive amounts of useful advice can be found there. "Useful" in the sense of, if you want an academic job in the humanities, you will want to know what they have to say. The folks there discuss everything you could possibly want to know about the interview process, for example. Good stuff.

And of course, the Chronicle's website also has job postings.


Daleth Demented (Blog)


gcsumfa


Feb 17, 2011, 12:44 PM

Post #2048 of 2090 (9558 views)
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Re: [spypop22] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


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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?


Some of us old timers have already engaged in this song-and-dance with Seth--look through the thread.

I'm telling you all that you're wasting your time on this one: Seth believes that the CW PhD is an extended Studio-Academic MFA, *except* for his super duper special program at Wisconsin that he shills whenever he gets a chance--the one that is so unique, and so different from most other CW PhD's!

I'll be happy to answer your questions, since--unlike Seth--I'm a student at a CW PhD program (he's gone out of his way to distinguish his program from those of ours, so I'm sure he'll understand):

"Is it a professional degree?"

A: Yes, though not "professional" like a business or law degree. I think "professionalization" is a better word to describe the process of earning a PhD in the humanities. Taking and passing qualifying exams is an example of such professionalization. There is not an MFA program in the country that offers doctoral level qualifying exams, and anyone who has actually prepared for and taken qualifying exams will tell you without any reservation that exams prepare one to teach literature. How could it not? You are required to survey an entire literary period (for each area, most programs test you in 2-3 total), the pertinent scholarship of that period, and contextualize that knowledge into an exam answer. One could carve several syllabi from my exam notes and I plan to use them for future course preps. One's comp areas are routinely brought up at job interviews, and it can only help a CW'er if he can tell the committee that he passed exams in American II and Romantic Literature and is able to teach undergrad courses in those areas. In academia, qualifying exams are considered a "professional qualification" to teach generalist and undergrad lit on a sustained basis, which is why some job postings say that "ABD's will be considered." One is "ABD" after passing his or her exams.

"Does it prepare the candidate for teaching?"

A: Yes. See above. It prepares CW'ers to teach undergrad lit and/or generalist surveys. Many CW PhD'ers are able to teach and even design their own lit courses under the direction of faculty; some programs even offer mentorships with lit faculty and teaching practicums (I base this on knowledge of my own program, and anecdotal evidence from friends at other programs). I'll leave my program with teaching experience in CW and lit, as well as comp experience from my MFA program. Having teaching experience in all three areas is common among CW PhD students, esp. since many enter PhD programs with teaching experience from their MFA programs and/or adjuncting.

"Does it help get teaching jobs?"

A: It depends. One thing to consider is that "jobs" vary greatly by institution type:

1) There are MFA jobs teaching a 2/2 of grad creative writing at research universities to rising stars, along with supervision of their theses.

2) There are jobs at small teaching colleges and universities teaching a 4/4 of undergrad creative writing, comp, and lit to English majors.

3) There are jobs that fall in between these two categories.

I can't advise anyone to waste 4-5 years on a CW PhD if he or she isn't willing to take a job at 2), isn't interested in literature or theory, or just views the PhD as a four-year extension on his or her Studio-MFA academic program. I have many friends in CW PhD programs, and not one of them has ever said that their program was remotely similar to their MFA programs, and I know that in my program, a student who viewed the CW PhD program as a mere MFA extension wouldn't be looked at favorably, since we spend as much (if not more) time dealing with the lit faculty as the CW faculty. Also, why would anyone waste time studying for comp exams if he or she wasn't interested in lit or teaching lit? I've spent the past year going through three areas--a total of 150 texts--to prepare for my qualifying exams. This is a pretty serious investment in literature, as most CW PhD's test under the same or similar format as the lit students. And, no, you can't find a similar investment at any MFA program; comparing the exam process to taking 9-12 lit courses is stupid.


(This post was edited by gcsumfa on Feb 17, 2011, 12:48 PM)


gcsumfa


Feb 17, 2011, 12:51 PM

Post #2049 of 2090 (9553 views)
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Re: [daleth] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Anyone interested in an academic career should check out the fora at chronicle.com, the website of the Chronicle for Higher Education. It's not specific to artists (i.e. MFA types), but it is skewed towards the humanities, so truly massive amounts of useful advice can be found there. "Useful" in the sense of, if you want an academic job in the humanities, you will want to know what they have to say. The folks there discuss everything you could possibly want to know about the interview process, for example. Good stuff.

And of course, the Chronicle's website also has job postings.


I agree wholeheartedly. The grad forums and job interview forums are especially helpful.


gcsumfa


Feb 17, 2011, 1:21 PM

Post #2050 of 2090 (9544 views)
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Re: [gcsumfa] NEW! The Creative Writing PhD Blog! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
comparing the exam process to taking 9-12 lit courses is stupid.


*9-12 lit course hours.

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