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ellen362


Jun 21, 2008, 10:34 PM

Post #26 of 1018 (16773 views)
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     Re: [Brokenmoped] Literary Mags [In reply to]  

Iowa offers one or two spots like this.

Ellen


NickMcRae
Nick McRae

e-mail user

Jun 22, 2008, 2:10 AM

Post #27 of 1018 (16760 views)
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     Re: [ellen362] Literary Mags [In reply to]  

I'm fairly certain that's also possible at Bama.

Nick


"You got a song, man, sing it. / You got a bell, man, ring it." - Robert Creeley

Nick McRae
nmcrae1@gmail.com
http://nickmcrae.com/


umass76


Jun 22, 2008, 2:29 PM

Post #28 of 1018 (16724 views)
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     Re: Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

Hi all,

Just wanted to put my two cents in on two issues being discussed in this thread: "fully"-funded programs and choosing a program based on the faculty. While both of these issues are addressed more fully in the research I did for the second edition of Tom Kealey's Creative Writing MFA Handbook (which, when it comes out later this year, will have a Top 50 ranking of programs based on their funding, taking into account more than a dozen cost-related factors for each program), a few things are worth noting now:

1. I'd caution against lumping schools broadly into the category of "well-funded," as, if one isn't careful, one can end up leaving no distinction between a program which costs nothing and pays you tens of thousands of dollars to attend (e.g., Texas), and one which is likely full-cost, without stipend for around 50% of its class, and fully-funded (teaching assistantship with tuition remission, plus stipend) for the other half. And, of course, somewhere in there is the dramatic difference between a low stipend ($8,000 or below) at a fully-funded program in a high-cost area, and a high stipend ($13,000+) at a fully-funded program in a low-cost area. Just between two such programs--both regarded as "fully-funded"--one can see an effective difference of around $7,000 per year, and that's not to mention differences between health-care plans and degree of tuition remission (50% and 100% ain't the same thing, by any means), among other things. There are only twenty programs in the U.S. considered truly "fully-funded"--i.e., all students get full tuition remission and a liveable stipend (either with or without a teaching requirement). Of the list already provided in this thread, I'd say, IMHO, that several programs should be removed as being in a totally different [and "worse," for lack of a better term] class than the others, funding-wise (and only funding-wise; I'm not referring to anything else):

Bowling Green State University
University of California at Davis
George Mason University
University of Georgia
Iowa State University (not University of Iowa)
University of North Carolina at Wilmington
University of New Mexico
Texas State University
University of Utah
University of Washington

These schools are somewhere closer to "50% fully-funded" programs--and the difference matters. Others on the list, like Florida State University, McNeese State, University of Iowa, and University of Houston, are what I call "75% fully-funded programs" (again, an important distinction, which can translate into differences of thousands and thousands of dollars). I do--I really do--understand the impetus to create a single list which contains every school that offers any kind of legitimate funding package, but one has to realize that, for 50% of the admitees to a 50% fully-funded program, that program will end up being as horrid funding-wise as the big bad pack of almost-entirely unfunded programs: Columbia, NYU, The New School, Sarah Lawrence, Pittsburgh, SAIC, SFSU, USF, and several others less well-known (largely in California, Chicago, and New York City, but there are some elsewhere).

2. My personal opinion--which no one asked for, I know :-)--is that you ought not pick a program largely (and perhaps not even at all) for its faculty, based on one single premise: there is absolutely no correlation whatsoever between the quality of an artist's work, or your own feelings of fellowship with an artist's aesthetic project, and whether you will have any interest whatsoever in that artist as a teacher, or as a person, once you get to your program. And then there's a separate corollary to that one: it is equally likely that the best teacher for you is someone you've never heard of, and/or whose work you don't like, and/or whose aesthetics you aren't interested in, than that the best teacher will reside in the opposite of any one or all of those three categories. Not merely because artistic talent and teaching talent are wholly different skill-sets, but because often the best teacher for you is the one who will challenge what you believe to be true, not merely reinforce what you're already doing because it looks like and reads like something similar to what they're presently doing (i.e., three years of "Atta' boy!" is not helpful to anyone). So, when I see folks choosing schools based on faculty, I tend to think they're choosing a "wash" category--a category in which no predictions can realistically be made (not with any sort of precision whatsoever, at least)--instead of a definitive one, like funding, or class-size, or location.

Just my two cents.

Be well, all,
Seth

P.S. Much more information is available (as many of you already know) on my website, which exists only to help folks out as they go through this process:

http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/

(see the right-hand frame, at this site, for links)


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jun 22, 2008, 2:33 PM)


writerteacher


Jun 22, 2008, 2:32 PM

Post #29 of 1018 (16721 views)
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     Re: [Brokenmoped] Literary Mags [In reply to]  

VCU offers editing opportunities; fulltime (20 hours/week) positions are possible in years 2 and 3, with the first year being an internship (for credit). You can get up to six hours as an intern.

TAing -- literally, assisting a professor with a class -- is very different from teaching one's own class. That is to say, don't be turned off by programs that offer editing stipends that require additional hours assisting in a classroom or writing center.

Good luck,
WT


Brokenmoped


Jun 22, 2008, 6:42 PM

Post #30 of 1018 (16712 views)
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     Re: [writerteacher] Literary Mags [In reply to]  

writerteacher,

Thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that TAing specifically meant teaching classes whenever the professor needed help. Do most programs offer a combination TA/editor position, or is it pretty rare?


writerteacher


Jun 22, 2008, 9:15 PM

Post #31 of 1018 (16690 views)
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     Re: [Brokenmoped] Literary Mags [In reply to]  

Hey, Brokenmoped --

(Great handle; sorry about your ride.)

I don't know much about how other programs divvy TA assignments when editorial positions are part of the mix.

I *do* know that the term TA or GTA (Graduate Teaching Assistant or Assistantship) comprises different duties in different programs.

At VCU, second- and third-year GTAs have the chance to teach their own classes. (This includes MAs, MFAs, and PhDs.) Most if not all students are offered the opportunity to teach an undergrad beginning creative writing class, and/or an undergrad general education (required) class in preparing and writing a substantial research paper.

These assignments are separate from assisting a professor in a large lecture course (you wind up helping with grading, discussion board posts, etc.) or assisting an instructor in a smaller (25 or fewer students) undergraduate advanced creative writing or special topics course.

There's also the Writing Center, where TAs consult, one-on-one, with students who make appointments, much like tutoring (but nowhere near as intense).

So, those are the possible teaching components, each of which accounts for 10 hours of a 20 hour TA commitment (for full tuition waiver plus nice stipend).

Lots of people do 10 hours in the Writing Center and teach a course, or assist with a course. There are other possibilities.

Editing: The Associate Editor position of the lit journal Blackbird goes to a second year MFA student; typically it alternates between prose and poetry writers. I believe this is a fulltime (20 hours per week) gig. If it's not, it oughtta be.

Literary award coordinating: The First Novelist Award/Festival is an annual event whereby agents and publishers submit books by first-time novelists published in the previous year in the United States. Between 75-110 submissions per year; the winning author, his/her agent and publisher come to Richmond for a whole three-day hoo-hah. The coordinator position, 20 hours per week, goes to a second-year student and is fulltime (no teaching, no Writing Center duties). I'm the award coordinator for 2008-2009. I'll teach creative writing in my third year.

There are other TA assignments -- special projects for professors, negotiated on a case-by-case basis. There are other editing opportunities (a Victorian Letters journal, an undergrad literary magazine) as well as internships that count for TA hours.

So, at least at VCU, the term TA doesn't necessarily mean teaching or assisting in a classroom. I am sure other programs have similar flexibility.

One last point: a teaching assistantship is different from a fellowship, which usually is based on merit within the student pool. Sometimes fellowships require fewer hours; sometimes no work is required in return. I mention the distinction because I didn't know this when I was first looking into programs, and used the terms interchangeably until someone explained it to me. It's important to understand what you're applying for -- lots of programs have earlier deadlines or separate application procedures for fellowships or TA support.

Sorry so long -- I hope all this helps.

Best,
WT


unsaid78


Jun 23, 2008, 10:34 AM

Post #32 of 1018 (16625 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

Thanks Seth! I like what you said about the funding. You are right. Looks like I'll be revising my list once again :)

Also, I was having similar thoughts about choosing schools based on faculty. My undergrad experience showed me how great poetry professors that were unknown to me can be so that's not my biggest concern. I just wouldn't want to miss out on a possible opportunity to study with a few that I know and respect. I also chose some schools based on funding and some based on the ability for multi-genre study.

If anyone has any insight on programs that allow dual MA/MFA concentrations I'd like to know. That's how McNeese made my list. Are there any other schools like this that anyone is aware of?


www.mfachronicles.blogspot.com - Follow us as we begin our 1st years in MFA programs!


Raignn



Jun 23, 2008, 11:02 AM

Post #33 of 1018 (16619 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

When I said full funding in my post that means full tuition remission + stipend.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jun 23, 2008, 1:27 PM

Post #34 of 1018 (16590 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

Though this may be a bit long, I really want to back up Seth's second point re: choosing a school over funding vs. faculty. There are so many things that you might not know this early in the game. If you are applying to schools next year, you don't know who might leave the schools that interest you as you either start or are mid-way through whatever program you ultimately choose; some faculty members that are "big attractors" to a program might be on sabbatical, on emiretus status (ie are getting ready to retire), or might be in the middle of negotiations for a teaching post at another university.

It's a good idea to "generally like" the faculty of any particular program before you apply, I think, and to not have your heart "set on" working with one particular person--there are so many things that would not be available for you to know, no matter how thorough your research. I do recommend, however, to pick up on what Seth wrote, that you maybe recalibrate what it means to "like" a faculty--ie try to figure out who the writer is as a professor rather than as a person who writes and enjoys a wonderfully published career. One of my best teachers does not write anything like me (but does write poems I greatly admire); he did, however, take the time to figure out what my influences are, what matters to me in writing, and what my perspective is and used that to guide me to write "more like me" and towards what I want. Another one of my best teachers is known for being stodgy and writes poems that, while mechanically strong and tight, aren't among the more interesting to me and would never be among the work that I hold up and say "now THAT is what I want to become more like. That's the direction I want my work to head in." But this poet really took the time to meet me at where I was in my writing and to encourage me to be more disciplined, more scrupulous, and more careful in my writing process and in editing my own work. He also encouraged me to be a more critical reader of writing. And, since graduating the MFA program in which I studied with him, he has been absolutely supportive of everything I have tried to accomplish. He has unflinchingly written recommendation letters for me, offered his advice in arenas I didn't have much knowledge or experience with, and has generally been helpful and open-minded. Even when my interests have lead me down paths or towards (teachers, schools, academic programs, opportunities...) that might not interest him or fit with his logic.

Getting full funding (tuition paid, stipend that was enough to live on)--and having that funding GUARANTEED THROUGHOUT MY PROGRAM--is something that is a lot more black-and-white to consider than faculty at a program. Being funded, and gaining experience teaching composition, business/technical writing, and creative writing is one of the most dependable things that my program could have given me; it is, at the very least, one of the most equal factors that *everyone* who attended my program was able to get.

I'm beyond pleased with my journey so far. I got my MFA at the University of Florida (graduated 5 years ago). I spent a week at an excellent writing conference in the Napa Valley. In Boston, I've found some pretty cool teaching opportunities that are direct extensions of my teaching experience at UF and also happened to find myself immersed in a couple of writing communities that recognize my seriousness with my writing as something that's important enough to me to really prioritize. And now I am off to University of Missouri-Columbia for my PhD in creative writing (With the department's creative writing/poetry fellowship! And full funding guaranteed for the next 5 years! And a creative writing faculty that has sort of gathered around me to offer as much support and enthusiasm and encouragement as I get myself ready to move to MO for school!). And I have two of my professors from UF to thank for not only writing me recommendation letters that I think are stellar but for offering me infinite amounts of support when I researched programs and figured out the best way to piece together my applications. My professors are "names" in some ways and not so much "names" in other ways (ie they are not--well--Jorie Graham, Robert Pinsky, Billy Collins...). My professors were and are, however, very serious, dedicated, and concerned that their students--present, past, and yet-to-be--work hard and get serious about their writing, their careers, and how to use the funding they are given in the program to their best advantage.

There's a lot waiting for me in Missouri. I'm lucky. I also know that I researched the hell out of every single thing that I have done. I wish all of you luck as you research programs and figure out what really matters to you and what features a program can have that will help sustain you over the course of your MFA program journey.


SevenFreckles


Jun 23, 2008, 4:24 PM

Post #35 of 1018 (16564 views)
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     Re: [stephkarto1] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

The discussion on funding and faculty has been very interesting. When I originally brought up my question I didn't mean to imply that I was making my program choices based on who was teaching there. My number one priority is definitely funding. But I wonder what you can learn about a program as a whole based on who their faculty is? If anything. Certainly you can't judge who will be a great mentor by reading a few poems or looking at a list of awards and publications. But can you get a better picture of what individualizes one program from the other?

My list includes some schools that I picked because I thought they were interesting, some because they have outstanding funding, and a few long shots that I have to at least try for. But after looking at so many web pages with all the typical information on them, I'm sometimes left with the feeling that they're all the same. It's really hard to tell what the program is actually like. I need some personality. Probably a terrible analogy, but I feel like I'm standing blindfolded in a shoe store. I know I'm in the section of size sevens, but how am I supposed to pick out a pair that I like? Yup, terrible analogy. Maybe someone knows what I mean, though.

I have read through loads of posts here about particular programs and they have been extremely helpful. Hm. I'm quite jealous of the applicants next year who will benefit from a second edition of the MFA Handbook. My copy of the first edition hasn't left my side in months. Anyway, I guess I'll just keep on researching. Thanks for all the insight!


symmetrical


Jun 23, 2008, 11:00 PM

Post #36 of 1018 (16520 views)
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     Re: [SevenFreckles] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

Yes, does this second edition I keep hearing/reading about have a release date yet, and if so, is it too late to be any help to those of us applying for fall '09? I got the 1st edition for xmas and have been doing internet research since. My current list is:

Iowa
Michigan
Texas-Michener
Viriginia
Washington University (St. Louis)
Montana
Alabama
VCU
North Carolina-Wilmington
North Carolina-Greensboro
Illinois
Southern Illinois
Arizona
Arizona State

2-3 of these may get cut eventually, especially those last two. I'm trying to be open-minded about location if the funding's there, but Arizona might just be too hot and desert-y for me in the end.


umass76


Jun 23, 2008, 11:39 PM

Post #37 of 1018 (16508 views)
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     Re: [symmetrical] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

Hi Symmetrical,

Not 100% sure of the release date for the Handbook (second edition), but my understanding is that it'll be out sometime in the fall--the goal, I think, is to have it be helpful for those applying during this upcoming application cycle.

I agree with the other poster who said that, after a while, all of the programs begin to look alike: it's one reason I started trying to locate some "hard data" on programs, and posted the resulting numbers/percentages on my blog. My own advice would be to differentiate programs using the following factors (in order of importance):

1. Location
2. Funding
3. Reputation of Overall University*
4. Size of Program
5. Selectivity**
6. Popularity

* IMHO, this matters a great deal, because universities and colleges with a strong national reputation (as evidenced, to use just one possible resource, by their relative positioning in the U.S. News & World Report undergraduate rankings) are a) more likely to have financial resources (thus speaking well of the size, flexibility, and room-for-expansion of their financial aid offers going forward), and b) more likely to attract top faculty (important, paradoxically, not so much because it adds to the luster of the faculty roster [see my comments on faculty, above] but because top talent in teaching positions adds to a program's reputation, which adds to its selectivity, which increases the quality of the student cohort you'll be doing all your workshopping and much of your learning with), and c) more likely to have a "universal" cache, i.e. a sort of "portability," on the job market--so that, even if you aren't going into the creative writing wing of academia after graduation (and most won't, and don't want to), employers outside the field will say, for instance, "Hey, she's got a Master's Degree from University of Michigan, that's impressive...!"

** Based on yield-exclusive acceptance rates. The only reason I rank "Size" higher than "Selectivity"--and say, generally, that "size matters"--is because certain writers of are the sort of personality that'd get lost completely in a large program, while others would feel terminally claustrophobic in a small one. And because "Atmosphere" is the Great Unmentionable Factor--the one that would rank first (ahead even of Location) if we could ever quantify it--the way your individual personality jives with a program's size, temperament, and overall intellectual/social atmosphere is a vital ingredient in you being happy at your MFA.

That last one ("Popularity") is probably the most controversial; the idea, I guess I'd say, is that those programs which are clearly becoming more popular (based on the recent polling) are likely to become more selective, numbers-wise, in the years ahead, thus burnishing their overall reputation. Likewise, if a school's remarkably popular, it probably suggests that recent grads are saying good things about it to their now-applying friends, which suggests high student satisfaction (one of the few "residual indicators" of that Great Unmentionable, "Atmosphere").

If you use those six factors (I may be forgetting one or two other good ones, but it's too late for me to think entirely clearly), you'll quickly see that it is possible to distinguish between programs. The key is to not get hung up in factors which, when analyzed critically, are really the province of guesswork more than anything else.

Best wishes,
Seth

http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/


(This post was edited by umass76 on Jun 23, 2008, 11:43 PM)


umass76


Jun 23, 2008, 11:40 PM

Post #38 of 1018 (16507 views)
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     Re: [symmetrical] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

P.S. Symmetrical, just wanted to mention that, even without knowing your genre, that list looks like an excellent start. Good work.


symmetrical


Jun 24, 2008, 1:02 AM

Post #39 of 1018 (16494 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

sorry - - poetry. And thanks a ton for your input. I definitely appreciate all the work and time you put into your mfa program analysis project(s).


Dime49


Jun 24, 2008, 5:22 PM

Post #40 of 1018 (16419 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

Another factor that's important to take into consideration is what type of MFA program you are looking for. While all the degrees have the same initials, the program of study and focus vary quite a bit from school to school. Some are 2 year programs, some 3 or even 4 (and this can make a big difference). Some are very closely tied to the studio-arts degree roots of the MFA with less classes and more "writing" time, others are more academically rigorous (like a PhD light).

It's important to ask yourself what your purpose in getting an MFA is? Because there may be programs with a great reputation and amazing funding and a great location that aren't inline with what your goals for an MFA are.

You can pretty much figure out the "focus" of a program just by looking at the graduation requirements (how many years, how many units, what type of units etc.).


umass76


Jun 24, 2008, 7:28 PM

Post #41 of 1018 (16394 views)
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     Re: [Dime49] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

Dime,

Great point! I knew I was missing one of the major factors.

Duration of the program is key (and, fortunately, quantifiable); as you say, there's a world of difference--more than one would ever think--between a two-year and a three-year program (NB: I don't think there's more than one or two four-year programs, and only one one-year program [Boston University] that I know of off-hand). For some, that additional year is ultimately the most productive of the three (I've heard more than one person say that they were "nowhere" after two years, and then the "light went on" during the third year).

Also, "Duration" is another way to assess "Funding"--a three-year program that's fully funded is offering you (on average, all things being equal) 50% more money than a comparably-funded two-year program.

So, at a minimum, there are seven factors which can be used to easily distinguish one program from another--and, most importantly, each one represents a substantive (and quantifiable) difference.

Be well,
Seth

http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/


aathema


Jun 25, 2008, 1:32 AM

Post #42 of 1018 (16345 views)
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     Re: [Brokenmoped] Literary Mags [In reply to]  

I don't know about MFA programs, but Western Washington U's MA program has a focus in creative writing and students in their second year are given the opportunity to apply for the managing editor position, which includes a TA stipend and tuition waiver. It also funds the full 6 quarters of the program (TA positions there only fund 5 quarters). Unfortunately, the only funding opportunity for the first year of the program is teaching.










http://www.postmfa08.blogspot.com


cantonioni


Jun 30, 2008, 11:56 AM

Post #43 of 1018 (16170 views)
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     Re: [umass76] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  

Hi Seth-
Real quick: I think that what you do, in helping writers interested in MFA programs whittle down the list and better understand what they're getting themselves into, is fantastic.

Another topic related to choosing schools: I think it is worth investigating whether or not a program provides connection opportunities of some sort between writers and agents. Some MFA programs are much more active with regard to seeing their students published than other programs are - and that is HUGE - it's the difference between leaving a program a better writer and leaving a program a better writer with a decent chance of seeing his or her work in print.


ejdifili
Emily

Jun 30, 2008, 3:19 PM

Post #44 of 1018 (16131 views)
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     Re: [cantonioni] Funding & Professors [In reply to]  


In Reply To

Another topic related to choosing schools: I think it is worth investigating whether or not a program provides connection opportunities of some sort between writers and agents.


In addition, it's also important to ask what kind of guidance is offered to students about post-MFA life. Everyone knows an MFA is not exactly a "professional" degree that will enable you to fall right into a six-figure job. But once the student loans or fellowships run out, you'll have to find some way of paying the bills.

The program where I'm going next year offers practicums on both the publishing industry and the teaching aspect of writing. This was important to me because I've heard there are many other places where you're basically on your own beyond workshop and thesis advising.


possumholler


Jul 4, 2008, 11:58 AM

Post #45 of 1018 (15970 views)
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     best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

I have found little info about MFA programs with the best teaching of writing programs. I'm trying to develop a top ten list of best pedagogy programs to help me narrow my list for fall 2009 applications. I'd appreciate any help and advice.

I hope the new Creative Writing MFA Handbook will have some additional info about teaching of writing programs and was glad to hear the new edition might be published by fall.

This is my first post. The site has been an amazing refuge and oasis since I first logged on in May. Thanks P&W for hosting this incredibly helpful community forum.

Mike


jaywalke


Jul 4, 2008, 3:46 PM

Post #46 of 1018 (15946 views)
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     Re: [possumholler] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  


In Reply To
I have found little info about MFA programs with the best teaching of writing programs. I'm trying to develop a top ten list of best pedagogy programs.


Interesting question. It points out a difficult problem of the current system: the MFA's intent, for the most part, is to produce working writers, but not necessarily teachers of writing. Most programs have one class and then practicum (as TAs, then perhaps solo), but the workshop is emphasized more by a very large factor.

I'm in my second semester at Queens, and the director, Fred Leebron, said something very interesting about this. He went to Johns Hopkins, Iowa and was a Stegner Fellow, but he said he came out lacking four crucial survival skills. He didn't know how to: read like a writer, write a book review, shape a novel or how to teach creative writing. Obviously, he's trying to remedy that now that he gets to choose a curriculum, but low-res doesn't offer the chance for much teaching practicum.

I wonder how long it will be before there are dedicated practicum programs. In theatre, there are over 100 schools at which to get an MFA in acting. There is exactly one (Pitt) that offers an MFA in performance pedagogy. They accept 2 STUDENTS EVERY OTHER YEAR!


jaywalke


Jul 4, 2008, 3:48 PM

Post #47 of 1018 (15945 views)
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     Re: [jaywalke] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  


In Reply To

In Reply To
I have found little info about MFA programs with the best teaching of writing programs. I'm trying to develop a top ten list of best pedagogy programs.


Interesting question. It points out a difficult problem of the current system: the MFA's intent, for the most part, is to produce working writers, but not necessarily teachers of writing. Most programs have one class and then practicum (as TAs, then perhaps solo), but the workshop is given many times more emphasis.

I'm in my second semester at Queens, and the director, Fred Leebron, said something very interesting about this. He went to Johns Hopkins, Iowa and was a Stegner Fellow, but he said he came out lacking four crucial survival skills. He didn't know how to: read like a writer, write a book review, shape a novel or creative writing. Obviously, he's trying to remedy that now that he gets to choose a curriculum, but low-res doesn't offer the chance for much teaching practicum.

I wonder how long it will be before there are dedicated pedagogy programs. In theatre, there are over 100 schools at which to get an MFA in acting. There is exactly one (Pitt) that offers an MFA in performance pedagogy. They accept 2 STUDENTS EVERY OTHER YEAR!



jaywalke


Jul 4, 2008, 3:49 PM

Post #48 of 1018 (15944 views)
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     Re: [jaywalke] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  


In Reply To

In Reply To

In Reply To
I have found little info about MFA programs with the best teaching of writing programs. I'm trying to develop a top ten list of best pedagogy programs.


Interesting question. It points out a difficult problem of the current system: the MFA's intent, for the most part, is to produce working writers, but not necessarily teachers of writing. Most programs have one class and then practicum (as TAs, then perhaps solo), but the workshop is given ten times the emphasis.

I'm in my second semester at Queens, and the director, Fred Leebron, said something very interesting about this. He went to Johns Hopkins, Iowa and was a Stegner Fellow, but he said he came out lacking four crucial survival skills. He didn't know how to: read like a writer, write a book review, shape a novel or teach creative writing. Obviously, he's trying to remedy that now that he gets to choose a curriculum, but low-res doesn't offer the chance for much teaching practicum.

I wonder how long it will be before there are dedicated pedagogy programs. In theatre, there are over 100 schools at which to get an MFA in acting. There is exactly one (Pitt) that offers an MFA in performance pedagogy. They accept 2 STUDENTS EVERY OTHER YEAR!




(This post was edited by jaywalke on Jul 4, 2008, 3:50 PM)


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 4, 2008, 10:10 PM

Post #49 of 1018 (15903 views)
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     Re: [possumholler] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

I don't know how much of a help this will seem, but I recommend, if you're interested in pedagogy, at considering programs that fund all of their students and give them teaching duties. These schools tend to require their students to take pedagogy classes (the title is some variation upon "theories and practices of writing") and also tend to have very solid comp/rhet master's and doctoral tracks in their English departments.

While this is not the same as a dedicated "teaching of writing" track, having a variety of comp/rhet classes that can help satisfy your literature credit requirements, AND having a pedagogy class that you must take, paired with teaching is essentially the same opportunity for "survival skills" that a master's student on a literature track would have.

And, coincidentally, University of Florida has an *excellent* comp/rhet program and requires all of its students to take a pedagogy class. Apparently, UC Irvine also requires its students to take pedagogy classes; an admitted student to the PhD program that I am attending starting this fall also put in paperwork, as I have, for exemption from the pedagogy class that is required of all master's and doctoral students in our university's English department.


ejdifili
Emily

Jul 5, 2008, 12:12 PM

Post #50 of 1018 (15868 views)
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     Re: [stephkarto1] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  


In Reply To
I don't know how much of a help this will seem, but I recommend, if you're interested in pedagogy, at considering programs that fund all of their students and give them teaching duties. These schools tend to require their students to take pedagogy classes (the title is some variation upon "theories and practices of writing") and also tend to have very solid comp/rhet master's and doctoral tracks in their English departments.

I would agree with this idea. Of course, even if you dont' have a TAship, you might still get the opportunity to take a pedagogy seminar. Still, if teaching writing at the college level is what you ultimately want to do, it's extremely helpful to have some experience under your belt when you finish your degree. If you apply to schools that don't offer teaching opportunities to all students, you could still be lucky enough to snag a TAship. Then again, don't count on it. Nonetheless, you can always get your teaching experience by working as an adjunct after you finish your MFA, it's just more of a pain.

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