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owenj


Jul 5, 2008, 4:41 PM

Post #51 of 1018 (18463 views)
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     Re: [possumholler] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

If you're really interested in teaching, too, it might be worth considering (or at least being open to) getting a PhD after your MFA or MA - it might make sense, if this is the route you're considering, to go to a shorter master's program with the idea that you might end up in a PhD program. While it's not impossible to find a teaching job with an MFA, it's a lot easier to find one with a PhD (still tough, unfortunately), and you'll get a lot more pedagogical training (in my experience) than you will with in master's program. Also, when looking at MFA programs that have a TA component, see how much of that teaching is comp vs creative writing - not that you can't learn a LOT from teaching freshman comp, it'd be a shame not to get a few sections of your own creative writing class.


jaywalke


Jul 5, 2008, 10:39 PM

Post #52 of 1018 (18434 views)
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     Re: [jaywalke] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  


In Reply To

In Reply To

In Reply To



Wow, a triple post. I swear I hit edit rather than quote. Ah well. Yes, anal-retentive *does* have a hyphen.


dorchester


Jul 6, 2008, 5:52 AM

Post #53 of 1018 (18415 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 to help me narrow my list for fall 2009 applications. I'd appreciate any help and advice.

Mike,

If your goal is to eventually teach creative writing on the college level, you should really be looking at two things:

1) The national reputation of the school.
People don't like to admit this, but universities and English departments care about this. A LOT. There's a reason that Iowa places more graduates in college level teaching jobs than any other program. Universities are businesses, after all, and they like to be able to say we have a professor of creative writing who went to the most prestigious school in the country, just like they like to say we have a Rennaisance professor from Yale or a Victorian scholar from Berkeley. If I hadn't been on a lot of search committees myself, I wouldn't say this, but I've seen it happen again and again.

2) Whether the program gives you an opportunity to teach either literature or creative writing.
Most programs will give students the opportunity to teach composition or rhetoric, but if you have some experience teaching either literature or creative writing, you'll stand out a bit among the other applicants.

As for programs that offer courses in pedagogy, or the teaching of writing, I hate to say it, but that's not going to matter nearly as much as where you went to school, what you've actually taught, and, of course, what you've published. Your publication record is ultimately the most important thing, followed by where you went to school. You could take all the pedagogy courses in the world, and it wouldn't matter if another applicant has a book under his or her belt or if another applicant went to, say, Iowa. I'm not trying to suggest that courses in the teaching of creative writing aren't important. I personally think they're great. I'm just trying to give you a realistic idea of what university search committees look for and what will ultimately give you the best shot at getting a job.

I hope this helps.


(This post was edited by dorchester on Jul 6, 2008, 5:54 AM)


rpc
ryan call

Jul 7, 2008, 2:26 AM

Post #54 of 1018 (18352 views)
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     Re: [dorchester] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

also,

none of that matters if you dont have a book or two


<HTMLGIANT>


jacarty
Jessie Carty
e-mail user

Jul 7, 2008, 11:10 AM

Post #55 of 1018 (18321 views)
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     Re: [rpc] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

yep, have to agree with you on that.
if you don't have a book out you can get some work with just the degree (of course any teaching experience can help)
but darnit they just want those publications!


http://jessiecarty.com


dorchester


Jul 7, 2008, 7:37 PM

Post #56 of 1018 (18260 views)
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     Re: [jacarty] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

That's true. These days it's so competitive, it's hard to get a tenure-track job anywhere without a book. The only people I know who've managed to do this have all been Iowa grads with pretty impressive records of publication. I guess the assumption is that if you went to Iowa and youíve been publishing in good places, then youíll probably have a book soon. And all of the people Iím thinking of actually did publish books within a few years of getting the job. So, itís not impossible, but it helps to have some top-tier publications and a degree from a well-known program.


possumholler


Jul 9, 2008, 1:36 PM

Post #57 of 1018 (18153 views)
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     Re: [jaywalke] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

Thanks very much for this and the other replies, including those about the realities of the marketplace.

My hope is to attend a program with a top reputation that has ALSO made a commitment to the teaching of writing-- on a TA fellowship.

Although it's not on my list, Indiana has one of the most impressive teaching of writing programs I've come across (http://iub.edu/~mfawrite/?page_id=22); and Antioch Los Angeles low res program also has a very interesting post-MFA certificate program in creative writing pedagogy.

Thanks again for all the feedback.

Mike


umass76


Jul 9, 2008, 5:23 PM

Post #58 of 1018 (18118 views)
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     Re: [possumholler] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

Attention all: the application season isn't done yet!

Applications are still being accepted for a brand-new MFA program at one of the top twenty universities in America (now officially the fourth highest-ranked university in America with an MFA program). The deadline for Northwestern's new MFA degree (in the poetry, fiction, and non-fiction genres) is July 25th--still more than two weeks away!

Read the press release here: http://www.sethabramson.blogspot.com/

I just got the news from Northwestern, so this is literally hot off the presses. If you've still got transcripts and personal statements and portfolios to hand, and if you're still hunting for a September 2008 MFA option, act now. As in, right now.

Much more info at the link.

Best of luck,
Seth


yeahyeahyeah


Jul 9, 2008, 7:32 PM

Post #59 of 1018 (18093 views)
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     Re: [umass76] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

I'm surprised it took them this long to make the announcement. The information has been on their website since like March or April.

Here is what you need to know about the program:

The program is offered through the School of Continuing Studies. This is basically Northwestern's night school and their programs cater to working adults. This means mostly night classes with mostly older students.

Northwestern is on the quarter system.

I'm not sure how partial the funding is, but tuition will be $2,453 per course.

If you can get a job with NU, you can get 85% off of tuition (though it could be 75% for grad school).

Of course this is up to the people in the program, but from my (undergrad) experience, there doesn't seem to be much of a writing community. This was because people were commuting in from all over and we were all busy and/or tired because of our day jobs.

The faculty is great, but this isn't the typical MFA program. Keep that in mind.


daleth


Jul 10, 2008, 2:59 PM

Post #60 of 1018 (18021 views)
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     Re: [moomoocow42] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Michigan was fabulous for me, and they had great funding. I got my MFA for free, and they also handed out small summer travel grants to everyone, though I think that was because they'd gotten an unexpected donation that allowed them to do that (i.e. it's not a regular thing). Everyone there had at least 1/2 funding, I believe it was, and easily half of us had full funding. Everybody had TA-ships of some kind or another (e.g. assisting a professor teaching a Lit class, or teaching your own section of comp or creative writing...). And the grad students' union (as in labor union) was excellent, so a TA-ship was really a great deal in terms of how much time was required for the money.

Also, Michigan has the Hopwood awards--fiction, nonfiction, poetry, screenplay, essay, yada--which are some serious awards, financially speaking, and a lot of them are won by MFA students, for the obvious reason that the MFA students are all fantastic writers. (The awards are open only to students, but they're open to any student in any discipline, grad or undergrad.)

As for your girlfriend's job--what field is she in?



In Reply To
my first priority is funding. While I plan to have a bit of money saved up from work by the time I go to school, I'd like to obviously spend as little of it as possible, keeping it for emergencies and such. My second priority is location, which ranks pretty close to my first priority. I currently live in Chicago, and would love to not have to move very far. It would have to take either a stellar program or a knockout funding package (or both) to get me to move to either coast. Lastly, and keeping with the location priority, I do somewhat need to stay at programs that are close to mid- or large-sized cities, as I am dragging my girlfriend along with me, and she needs to find gainful employment in her field in wherever we end up. Here is the list so far:

University of Illinois at Chicago
Columbia College (in Chicago)
Roosevelt University
Notre Dame
University of Michigan
Johns Hopkins
Temple University
University of Pittsburgh
George Mason University
Rutgers-Newark
Syracuse



Daleth Demented (Blog)

(This post was edited by daleth on Jul 10, 2008, 3:04 PM)


NickMcRae
Nick McRae

e-mail user

Jul 12, 2008, 4:48 PM

Post #61 of 1018 (17934 views)
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     Re: [daleth] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Does anyone have any particular insight into Colorado State's program?

NM


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

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


whyGA77


Jul 13, 2008, 8:47 PM

Post #62 of 1018 (17857 views)
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     Re: [NickMcRae] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Well, The New School is the last school I'm waiting to hear from on my status on the wait list, and I think it's incredibly rude to make applicants wait this long. I can't exactly up and move to NYC with such short notice even if I did get in, but still. Anyway, I've decided to apply again and try my hand at getting in some different schools. Here's my list so far:

Seattle Pacific U
Eastern Washington
U of Minnesota
U of CO Boulder
George Mason U
The New School
VCU
Brooklyn College
Sarah Lawrence College
U of Washington
Northern Michigan U
Lesley
Hunter College
Chicago State

I can't afford to apply to 14 schools, I'll go bankrupt! But any insight on which ones I should definitely keep and def. get rid of would be great. I've already learned there are no "safety schools" when it comes to an MFA, but is there anything on the list that comes close?

Thanks guys!


RaoulDuke
Cobra Cobachi

Jul 13, 2008, 9:52 PM

Post #63 of 1018 (17851 views)
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     Re: [whyGA77] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Hey whyGA,

Sorry to hear about the waitlist situation, I can't imagine being strung along this late into the game.

Regarding your list, I think it looks good, except maybe for N. Mich. I applied there this last year as my ultimate safety school, knowing that they receive maybe 40-60 applications a year. Those odds are much better than most programs, but range across three genres (Fic, NF, Poetry). As it turns out, I didn't get in, and was given a nice explanation as to why I didn't, via email:



Iím writing to thank your for applying to our MFA program and also to inform you of our admission decisions. It is my sad task to report that we were unable to admit you to our program for next year. The MFA program is quite small, which makes admission very competitive, and, as it turned out, we were able to admit even fewer people this year than usual. You will receive official confirmation of this decision by surface mail.

I do have, however, what I hope is some good news. We also have an MA program with a writing track. This program is similar to the MFA, though shorter, and it does not require a book-length thesis, as does the MFA. A (shorter) thesis is, however, one of the options for the MA. Our MA program is a bit larger than the MFA, and less competitive, and it also offers possibilities for funding. If this sounds attractive to you, we invite you to apply to our MA program. If you would like to be considered for admission, and for funding, please contact Dr. Raymond Ventre, our Director of English Graduate Studies. You should contact Dr. Ventre within the next few days, since the MA admission committee will be meeting at the end of next week to begin considering whom we can fund with teaching assistantships.



This was both very sad and somewhat exciting simultaneously, because I was eventually admitted to the MA program and was given serious consideration for funding until I was notified by SIUC of my admittance off the waitlist. So, I never did find out if I was going to be funded, but the MA program looked like a lot of fun and worth while. I guess what I am trying to get at, in regards to NMU's MFA program, is that it appears as if it is incredibly difficult to get admitted if you haven't already attended the MA program. I may be wrong on this, but it seems to me that anyone who just spent two years working closely with the admissions committee in writing workshops in the MA program would have a gigantic advantage over a candidate sight unseen. Not to mention the fact that it appears they are accepting fewer candidates than years previous. I may be mistaken, perhaps you should consult Seth Abramson's blog on the actual numbers, but I think they admit 6-8 students a year across three genres. So, probably 2 NF, 2 Fic, 3 Poetry; and keep in mind, the admitted students probably just finished with their MA from NMU.

Hope this helps!
I would add SIU-Carbondale to your list. GREAT funding.

Rick


NickMcRae
Nick McRae

e-mail user

Jul 14, 2008, 1:37 AM

Post #64 of 1018 (17824 views)
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     Re: [richardkae] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

This inspires me to post my ever-evolving list as well. I would greatly appreciate some insights. The list is terribly bloated. Please suggest changes! (I'm applying for poetry.)


Alabama
Arkansas
Bowling Green
Colorado State
Indiana
McNeese
Michener Center
Michigan
Minnesota
Ohio State
Ole Miss
SIU-Carbondale
UIUC
Virginia
VCU
Virginia tech
Wisconsin

I have also considered applying to the MA programs at Northern Michigan, North Texas, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. I haven't really decided if I want to apply to any MAs at all, though.
Oh, and to chime in about Northern Michigan: I have a good poet friend who went there for his MA. He worked closely with Austin Hummel and made some huge progress. He's now doing an MFA at Florida, so obviously he's writing very well. I have only heard good things about Hummel.

NM


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

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

(This post was edited by NickMcRae on Jul 14, 2008, 1:39 AM)


HollinsMFAer
Luke Johnson


Jul 14, 2008, 11:28 AM

Post #65 of 1018 (17796 views)
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     Re: [NickMcRae] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Probably not hugely helpful, but as far as poetry goes, there are a few faculty members on your list that I've heard great things about: Rodney Jones at Southern Illinois is great, I've only had him for a few workshops a long time ago, but he's an incredibly incisive reader and all around nice guy; Bob Hicock at VT is supposed to be stellar; Wojahn at VCU; and you might know this already, but Charles Wright is on his way out at UVA. And is Wiconsin in a year that they accept poetry apps? Don't they alternate? All that aside, great list...I would try to cut about 5-7 schools if only to save your wallet...17 x $40/app = $680 before you even step in a classroom. Good luck!


http://www.lukejohnsonpoetry.com


Clench Million
Charles

Jul 14, 2008, 12:44 PM

Post #66 of 1018 (17776 views)
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     Re: [whyGA77] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

WhyGA77:

Sorry to hear about your New School situation. I'm not sure what the deal is with the administration there. There always seems to be some horror story about their application process on here. Personally I never received a response at all. Waist list, rejection or acceptance. Not until long past my deadline for other schools and only after I'd badgered them several times.

As for safety schools, you are right that there are not really any. The few that would qualify are probably so low quality that you wouldn't want to apply.

However, the closest thing to a safety school is probably one of the large programs. Consider putting a few of those on your list.
Good luck.


RaoulDuke
Cobra Cobachi

Jul 14, 2008, 4:27 PM

Post #67 of 1018 (17736 views)
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     Re: [whyGA77] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

 
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Chicago State, while probably an actual safety school, is not worth applying to. I came across it in my research last year and found zip for funding, and not mention zip for reputation. The rest of your list looks stellar, though.


whyGA77


Jul 14, 2008, 4:38 PM

Post #68 of 1018 (17732 views)
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     Re: [richardkae] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Thanks so much guys, that's a huge help. And yeah, even though I've been out of college for over a year I still consider myself a broke college kid, so funding is huge for me. I'm going to keep trucking along and try to narrow this list down to about 8 or 9 schools before the summer's over. I really didn't want to have to go through this whole process again, but I had no idea how hard it would be last year.


hamholio


Jul 15, 2008, 9:41 PM

Post #69 of 1018 (17629 views)
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     Re: [stephkarto1] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  


Quote
And, coincidentally, University of Florida has an *excellent* comp/rhet program and requires all of its students to take a pedagogy class.


Only the English MA / PhD students have to take the pedagogy class - - not the MFA students.


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 16, 2008, 6:37 PM

Post #70 of 1018 (17562 views)
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     Re: [hamholio] best teaching of writing programs [In reply to]  

This is, perhaps, new; when I was in the program, it was a requirement of us, as it was a requirement of anyone who was to be a teaching assistant (which included all of the creative writing kids).

Oh times do change, sometimes...


lovemardou


Jul 17, 2008, 1:42 AM

Post #71 of 1018 (17522 views)
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     Re: [NickMcRae] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

nick! haha, i knew i'd see one or another of us on here soon enough.

i've pared down my list (again). i started out by only wanting to apply to a few programs, but unfortunately things have grown as i've done more research. anyway, you've inspired me to post what i have so far, in no particular order:

Michener
Virginia
NYU
Houston
Cornell
Oregon
Wisconsin
Vanderbilt
Michigan
Minnesota

i'm applying for poetry. can anyone offer up any thoughts on the poetry programs at these schools, or on any programs i'm blatantly missing from my list? i'm on the hunt, specifically, for good funding. (it would probably seem, then, that i'm missing wash u -- but i've spent some considerable time in st louis and i'm just not that fond of the city. i might add it at the last moment, or save it for next year if this is a bust. and nyu has snuck onto my list for the opposite reason - i'd love to be in new york next fall!)

university of illinois in particular has been on and off my list -- any thoughts? i'm in-state, so i get a tuition discount, but their funding situation is a bit confusing, or maybe i've just read too many websites this past week. is there anyone from the program who can give me their take on it?

bri


(This post was edited by lovemardou on Jul 17, 2008, 1:44 AM)


Raignn



Jul 17, 2008, 9:50 AM

Post #72 of 1018 (17501 views)
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     Re: [lovemardou] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

I have a post one page one or two that includes info about Illinois. Basically, their funding is awesome, keep them on your list!


stephkarto1
Stephanie Kartalopoulos

Jul 17, 2008, 10:03 AM

Post #73 of 1018 (17499 views)
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     Re: [lovemardou] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

UNC Greensboro and (smile) University of Florida are great schools to apply to if you're funding-minded and teaching-minded. The faculty at these schools is also splendid, and you would get a top-notch education, a strong sense that your teachers are *mentors* for you and your writing, and the foundations of a pretty stallar sense of a 'writing community' amongst your peers.

Also, both of these programs have awesome literary journals, if working on that sort of thing is an interest of yours.


mchard


Jul 17, 2008, 11:41 AM

Post #74 of 1018 (17484 views)
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     Re: [stephkarto1] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Purdue and Indiana are both excellent programs with great funding. They're also relatively close to Illinois as well. All students are funded at both programs.

Anyway, lots of great programs in the Midwest. Good luck,

M.


RaoulDuke
Cobra Cobachi

Jul 17, 2008, 2:06 PM

Post #75 of 1018 (17457 views)
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     Re: [mchard] Choosing an MFA Program (2009) [In reply to]  

Not to mention Southern Illinois- Carbondale. Funding is fantastic and their poetry professors are top notch.

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