Monday, October 05, 2015

Another Little Step

On Friday, we had a meeting about our grad program.  And when it came time to vote, I was the only no.  I think I voted no the last time we had a vote about the grad program.  I'm not sure about the time before.  Or the time before that.

When I came here, we had a middling grad program.  We had three required courses, an Intro to grad studies type course, a research methods and bibliography type course, and a critical theory course.  We served mostly students in the area who wanted an MA in English to give them a salary boost as local teachers or students who weren't sure, but maybe wanted to go on to a PhD program.

The Ed school implemented a program where teachers could get an MA in teaching without writing a thesis or whatever, and that drew off a significant number of our student population.  Our Enrollments were low, and there were pressures, and students weren't finishing on time.  So we decided to add an MA in writing, which would attract more students.  So we did that.  And in doing that, we basically split the MA level courses being taught (three a semester, including the required courses) to be half writing courses.

The pressures continued, and we were assured that if we just got rid of the methods course, the program would be in good shape.  So we dropped the research methods course.  I took on the job of trying to integrate the necessary research skills into the Intro course.  (I think I did a pretty good job.)

And things went on a bit.  And the pressures continued, and we were assured that if we just drop the theory course, the program would be in good shape.  And we voted to drop the theory requirement.  (At least I wasn't the only no vote on that one.)  (And someone else took on the task of adding some theory to the Intro course.)  (There are now two regular grad courses taught each semester, one writing, one lit, and the intro course added in fall.  Our students take about half undergrad "double-numbered" courses where they're supposed to somehow get a graduate level experience.)

And this year, we've had another vote, and now we're implementing a new thing which will, we're assured, save the program.

We have a fairly weak program.  We have great librarians, but a minimal library budget, minimal resources in all sorts of ways.  Some of our students are really solid, most aren't.  About a third come from our undergrad program, and mostly they're pretty good, and should go elsewhere.  Here, they were pretty good sized fish in our tiny pond.  But they don't seem to have any sense that our pond is tiny, and our grad director (and some other folks) are telling them that they're basically swimming the ocean, or at least a great lake.  The new program is set up to encourage the best of our undergrads to get an MA here.  I think that does them a disservice in so very many ways. 

But, apparently, I am wrong.


  1. I could speak volumes. Instead, I send you sympathetic silences.

  2. Ditto. Shaking my head with you.