Apr 11, 2011, 10:12 AM
Post #28 of 178
Hi Pongo, I think I understand the methodology behind the rankings and what the resultsmean a little better now. In terms of funding, teacher-student ratio, etc., the program does rank high -- it's small, accepts few students, and fully funds them, and it is relatively inexpensive to live in State College, as opposed to Philadelphia or New York or Pittsburgh. So if you're looking for a small program that pays you to be there, and "there" is a pleasant place (it's in the middle of nowhere but it doesn't take long to get somewhere, or even deeper into nowhere if you want to live in a cabin in the woods, and the university community is large and diverse and culturally rich, a city unto itself), PSU is a good choice. In the article, Seth writes: "Little explanation has yet been given for why the University elected to cut one of its most prestigious graduate programs." It was the assertion that the program is one of PSU's "most prestigious," as measured by me and what I know about it, given my experience as a PA resident and an informal counselor of college-bound youngster. (I've been out of the classroom since 1998, my daughter out of high school since 2004, so my interest in and need for keeping up with the college selections and admissions game has waned, but I have continued to work with college-bound youngsters until very recently.) When a kid says, "I want to become a fiction writer," I do not immediately think of Penn State. I might think of PSU if the student wants to go there and wants to study English or literature or even get a PhD in English, but in my mind, its "most prestigious" programs are in science, engineering, and medicine and allied health professions. This is perhaps because I come to an inquiry about an MFA with an extensive background in the academic MA in English and MA in American Studies (which I earned at a Penn State outlying campus in a program I truly loved). I told a friend who works in the PA state system in admissions about this. Knowing only what I told him (the stuff I've written here), he commented that the program is likely very expensive, and it's probably the "fully funded" part that is driving the decision. They want to put their resources more into the traditional English/literature program. As to the intangibles that P&W's rankings don't measure -- the look and feel of the program to someone like me who wnats craft craft craft instruction and mentoring, I just don't feel it from PSU.
I take your point; I think my concern is that often referring to them as "my rankings" is a way to either discredit them (by suggesting they are merely the opinions of one man) or downplay their significance (by disassociating them from their institutional sponsor).
Markings: Days of Her Life