Jun 29, 2012, 5:07 PM
Post #2489 of 2554
I've just completed my first residency at the University of Tampa low-residency MFA. It's a new program, so things are still developing (I'm part of the second cohort ever in the program). As a matter of policy, all instructors at Tampa must have graduate degrees, which unfortunately cuts off some great instructors from being more than guest writers (Arthur Flowers, for example, who teaches at Syracuse in their fiction program has no graduate degree, so he came to our residency as a guest writer, giving a workshop and reading and hanging out with students and faculty for a day or so). It's really hard to judge too hard from the outside whether someone is going to be a good instructor. I've found that the quality of instruction from workshop leaders before the residency was inverse to the writing reputation of the workshop leader.
The U Tampa residency, like most residencies is pretty packed, although there is a designated reading/writing period on Monday morning for people to use as they like, plus a few open holes in the schedule that I dedicated to writing and reading. There were a total of 8 workshops with our faculty mentors and fellow mentees (with one exception, workshops were limited to 5 students—my workshop was the lone group with 6 and that was still a reasonable size). Our poetry cohort is small, 7 or 8 students, the same size as the CNF cohort, while the rest of the students, 31 in total, are writing fiction.
I've found the process very helpful in my development as a writer (I write fiction), partly through the annotation process which I actually began during my applications to programs. I'm looking forward to seeing what my feedback will be during the tutorial period.
Going by output of graduates for low-residency programs, the top schools are:Warren Wilson CollegeVermont College of Fine ArtsNorthwest Institute of Literary ArtsUniversity of Alaska AnchorageBennington CollegeAntioch UniversityGoddard College(this is ranked by # of graduates who appeared in Best American Poetry and Pushcart, adjusting for graduation date and program size.)
University of Tampa MFA '14