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kbritten

e-mail user

Oct 21, 2009, 9:40 AM

Post #751 of 764 (11575 views)
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Re: [pongo] [In reply to] Can't Post

Really? You need to have good grammar to be a good writer? It's a good thing to learn if you want to be a writer? I had no idea... I don't proofread my posts, I just send them, mostly because I don't really care. I just think it's funny that every single Seth post is grammatically perfect. I just have this image of him proofing it for ten minutes and crying over a typo.


umass76


Oct 21, 2009, 9:50 AM

Post #752 of 764 (11568 views)
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Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Or, he spent seven years working in District and Superior courts five days a week, has represented thousands of indigent defendants, and was specifically trained in law school to think and write extremely fast, extremely logically, and with minimal errors (at least as to grammar and syntax; I'm sure my logic is on occasion imperfect).

Sometimes writers forget that others, too, have their own specialized forms of training (and self-training).

And I saw enough [very] bad things in my time in the criminal justice system, and working (before that) as a criminal investigator, not to cry over typos. I mean, Jesus. Typos?

S.


kbritten

e-mail user

Oct 21, 2009, 10:04 AM

Post #753 of 764 (11562 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

You know those typos make you cringe ;0)


BLUECHEESE


Oct 21, 2009, 1:35 PM

Post #754 of 764 (11512 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Well, regardless of all this petty nonsense (sorry for being blunt), but yeah…

Colorado State sure seems to have a wonderful program (at least the poetry faculty is rather amazing). I’ll have to agree with Billy’s conclusion on that one. I think it will probably be ranked higher in the future (poetry wise)… Dan Beachy-Quick is going to be at Iowa this spring (visiting faculty). I’d rank the program right up there with UMass poetry wise (although I’m biased towards more ‘experimental’ poets…). I’m less familiar with the other faculty, but I was reading some of their work (ordered the other two faculty members' books), and it seems rather impressive. There seems to be a lot of great programs in Colorado, really. Denver and UC Boulder also have some interesting faculty.


__________



Oct 21, 2009, 1:36 PM

Post #755 of 764 (11511 views)
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Re: [umass76] Re: [In reply to] Can't Post

Ha ha. Just please don't become like my father, who, when asked by my mother the hundredth variant of What time should we leave?, shouts, ASKED AND ANSWERED!


six five four three two one 0 ->


dahosek
D. A. Hosek

Oct 3, 2011, 3:51 PM

Post #756 of 764 (8906 views)
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Re: [jwegman] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

I've started a project to put together an alternative ranking of MFAs based on publication of graduates. At the moment, I'm focusing on short fiction since I can get a reasonable database of notable authors by using the writers named in the Best American Short Stories series. The 2011 edition (hitting book stores tomorrow), lists a total of 114 authors (there are 20 best stories, plus 100 notable stories, but a few authors had two items each). Ultimately, the numbers will be weighted by year of graduation (so that, for example, a program that's fading but had a slough of great graduates in the 70s would get less emphasis than a program that's putting out lots of great current authors). I still have 24 authors that I don't have any grad school info on, plus a larger number that have schools but no dates), so these are preliminary data points.
Some interesting data points: 25 authors do not have a graduate degree in creative writing. In some cases, they my have an MA in Literature, but generally most either have no graduate degree or a graduate degree in an unrelated field.Here are preliminary rankings, just using raw totals for each school & excluding Literature degrees. I didn't count Stegner fellows for Stanford, since that's an odd thing sui generis.
University of Iowa 18Columbia University 6University of Michigan 4University of Montana 3*Syracuse University 3Cornell University 3Stanford University 2Johns Hopkins University 2 Indiana University 2Brown University 2Warren Wilson College 1University of Wisconsin-Madison 1University of Wales (UK) 1University of Virginia 1University of Tennessee 1University of North Carolina Wilmington 1*University of Connecticut 1University of California Irvine 1University of Arizona 1University of Alabama 1Southern Illinois University 1 Penn State University 1New York University 1Long Island University 1Hollins College 1Emerson College 1Concordia University (Canada) 1City College of New York 1Bennington College 1Arizona State University 1* Current student named as author of a notable story.
Perhaps most stunning is how much higher University of Montana ranks relative to the P&W rankings. It seems to me that for fiction writers at least, this is an opportunity to take advantage of an undervalued program.


---
University of Tampa MFA '14
http://dahosek.com


umass76


Oct 4, 2011, 1:26 AM

Post #757 of 764 (8877 views)
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Re: [dahosek] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

You did adjust for cohort size, right? Some of those programs are 1000% larger than others -- meaning, they had 1,000 graduates on the publishing market for every 100 their "competitors" did. Of course, if you're looking at a ten-year span, the problem is exacerbated, because every year the smaller programs fall further "behind" in terms of their "market share" of graduates who could possibly be placing work in anthologies like Best American Short Stories. So, after one year has passed, one New York State Ivy League MFA (Cornell) has 8 graduates, while another New York State Ivy League MFA (Columbia) has 90. A difference of 82. After ten years, those numbers are 900 and 80 -- a difference of 820. And it's the ten-year figures that count when you assess publishing records (really, it's the twenty-year figures -- 1,800 for Columbia and 160 for Cornell -- as we'd expect graduates to be actively publishing for at least two decades post-graduation, at a minimum).
When you adjust for program size, you find that for every 1 placement on the Best American Short Stories list that Cornell gets, we should expect Columbia (using the twenty-year cohort data) to have 11+ placements merely to "stay even" with Cornell. This also means that until Columbia hits 11+ placements, we can't know if Cornell is "behind" or "ahead" in any publication-related ranking. I'd also add that you're only looking at fiction (poetry would be a different story; in any case, you need to compare the P&W genre rankings to your cohort-size-adjusted assessment here, not the P&W overall rankings), and that some programs focus their curriculum on short stories rather than novels, and some on novels instead of short stories, so until you know which programs focus on which -- a fact the programs do not advertise -- you can't know which programs you are unfairly benefiting by only looking at Best American Short Stories bios. But I can assure you, you are unfairly favoring some programs over others by not doing both a short-story and novel analysis of publishing records.
In any case, until you adjust for cohort size (data which is only available now because it was compiled for the P&W rankings), I'm afraid the numbers above just don't mean anything.
S.


(This post was edited by umass76 on Oct 4, 2011, 1:28 AM)


dahosek
D. A. Hosek

Oct 4, 2011, 10:21 AM

Post #758 of 764 (8860 views)
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Re: [umass76] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

No, there's no cohort adjustment in those numbers... that's very preliminary and for what it is, it's still incomplete... more just an early preview of what I've been finding. Incidentally, doing it properly would take into account variations in cohort size over time, although my inclination is to just ignore that and compensate instead by weighting more recent graduates of a program higher than older graduates. I've also decided that multiple stories in the prize anthologies don't weight an author more since that really is more a reflection of prolificity than anything else.
As an aside, it's quite interesting just doing the research on these roughly 100 authors. Among other things I've ended up adding a few books to my reading list that I've discovered as a result of doing the research. At the moment, I'm


---
University of Tampa MFA '14
http://dahosek.com


bighark


Oct 4, 2011, 11:16 AM

Post #759 of 764 (8857 views)
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Re: [dahosek] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

A more interesting study, I think, would examine the graduates of creative writing programs who are still writing 5, 10, 15 years out after having graduated. The rate of attrition among the ranks of productive writers is astounding. Despite the fetishization of this MFA training, many creative writing program graduates abandon their craft for myriad reasons after they've completed their studies.


In Reply To
No, there's no cohort adjustment in those numbers... that's very preliminary and for what it is, it's still incomplete... more just an early preview of what I've been finding. Incidentally, doing it properly would take into account variations in cohort size over time, although my inclination is to just ignore that and compensate instead by weighting more recent graduates of a program higher than older graduates. I've also decided that multiple stories in the prize anthologies don't weight an author more since that really is more a reflection of prolificity than anything else.
As an aside, it's quite interesting just doing the research on these roughly 100 authors. Among other things I've ended up adding a few books to my reading list that I've discovered as a result of doing the research. At the moment, I'm



dahosek
D. A. Hosek

Oct 4, 2011, 11:35 AM

Post #760 of 764 (8854 views)
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Re: [bighark] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a good argument against the date of graduation weighting there. I'm still intrigued by the fact that even Iowa doesn't manage to beat no creative writing degree in the raw numbers. Then there are other interesting challenges, like tracking down info on Mark Slouka who I now know has an MA and PhD from Columbia, but it's not clear whether those are creative writing or lit degrees.


---
University of Tampa MFA '14
http://dahosek.com


mw1363
Marc Watkins
e-mail user

Oct 4, 2011, 4:32 PM

Post #761 of 764 (8834 views)
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Re: [dahosek] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

BASS is a pretty small pond. 20 stories and 100 or so notable authors is a narrow lens to view MFA program success rates in terms of small press and magazine publication. Besides, there's an absurd imbalance in the magazines BASS draws from for each issue. The New Yorker, Ploughshares and Tin House are all mined for stories far above other markets.

I don't think any of the anthologies, Pushcart, O. Henry or Best New American Voices (granted, now defunct) would make for good indicators because the pool of magazines is so weighted at the top.


dahosek
D. A. Hosek

Oct 4, 2011, 4:51 PM

Post #762 of 764 (8829 views)
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Re: [mw1363] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

That is a valid argument. I'm likely to use Pushcart and O. Henry and a rolling 3-year window for the author lists. I don't think, though, that a broader sample is really practical. Yes, certain publications do get overrepresented in BASS. I've noticed a narrowing of the publications from which the short-list is drawn over the past few years and ultimately we're looking at the judgment of one person—Heidi Pitlor—in forming the long list itself (except for the year when Stephen King was the guest editor and he made a point of going outside the list of stories that Pitlor offered up for his selection). Some MFA programs won't make the list, but I don't know that I would consider that a bug and not a feature.


---
University of Tampa MFA '14
http://dahosek.com


blue_skies


Dec 31, 2011, 5:47 PM

Post #763 of 764 (8545 views)
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Re: [jwegman] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a comment about the funding determinations. I think Seth's research is wonderful, and I relied on it a lot when I was applying to MFA programs; however, when looking at funding, there are other factors to consider than whether a program is listed as "fully-funded". My husband completed his MFA from a small program in the West about five years ago. I am currently completing my MFA from a small program in the Mid-Atlantic region this year. We both had/have teaching assistantships. According to Seth's research, my husband's program is listed as fully funded, because they offer teaching assistantships to everyone they admit. My program is only 70% funded. This is technically true, but my husband's program only offers 3-4 assistantships a year. In contrast, my program offers 7-12 assistantships a year. My program usually offers 2-3 "unfunded" spots, but all of the "unfunded" people receive meritorious tuition waivers, and there are many graduate assistantships available through the graduate college. Also, my assistantship is almost $5,000 more per year than my husband's was, but I do teach a 2/2 load, and he only taught a 2/1 load. We both love our individual programs, and I wouldn't rank one more highly than the other, but I do think that applicants should fully investigate the funding situations at their potential schools. If the website isn't clear, they should email the director. Seth's research may not be up to date, because some programs are slow to realize the significance of his rankings. Still, a good program will be happy to answer an individual's questions.


umass76


Jan 9, 2012, 4:21 PM

Post #764 of 764 (8430 views)
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Re: [blue_skies] Current MFA Rankings [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi, those are some great points. To clarify a couple things about the funding calculations, and hopefully this will be helpful to those reading this thread: Stipend amounts are taken into account in the funding assessment; teaching loads are not taken into account because different applicants have different preferences (some would prefer a 2/1 to a 0/1, for instance, due to the increased teaching experience, which experience sometimes/often comes in handy in future job applications); programs which fully fund 33% or more of incoming students are eligible for "package averaging," a system in which less-than-fully-funded packages (like the meritorious tuition waivers you were mentioning) are taken into account as part of a program's average stipend value and even percent-of-class funded; the reason % of class funded, rather than absolute number of fully-funded positions, is tabulated is because the assessment aims to answer the most-common applicant question, "If I'm admitted, what are my chances of getting a fully-funded position?" rather than, "If I _apply_, what are my chances of getting a fully-funded position (this latter determination would require a complicated assessment of ever-changing acceptance rates, yields, &c, which is both not the primary question that applicants ask and relies on unknown or unknowable data); since the first publication of MFA data in P&W in 2008, over a hundred programs have amended their websites to include more data (usually about funding), so most programs -- with a few exceptions, of course -- are currently advertising their most recent information. There's no question, though that anyone with more specific questions should contact individual programs, and (as importantly) that funding disparities between programs in no way determine whether a particular applicant would have a better experience at one program or another. Only the applicant can know that, and of course they won't know it until many months after matriculation, anyway (i.e., they'll know if they're happy; they'll never really know, as how could anyone, whether they'd be happier or less happy somewhere else). --S.

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