Writing/Image/Text (WIT) 2020 Graduate English Symposium AND $600 Travel-Grant Opportunity

This year’s WIT Graduate English Symposium will be held on Wednesday, May 20th (the day before commencement) in Maher Hall on the Dobbs Ferry campus of Mercy College.

I am happy to also announce that the Chair of the Department of Literature & Language, Dr. Keckler, has secured a $600 travel-grant, funded by our Office of the Dean of the Liberal Arts, to help cover travel expenses for one student to attend and present a paper. We are holding a contest to determine who will receive the travel grant. The procedure for entering the contest will be detailed at the bottom of this post.

The WIT symposium is a casual mini-conference at which MA English students and alumni gather to read aloud a scholarly or creative paper (a paper that you’ve written for any of your MA courses will do just fine), as well as to meet some fellow grad students and program faculty. Family and friends are welcome to attend too. MA students interested in attending but not reading aloud a paper are of course welcome to do so. Graduate students and professional scholars often attend and read at local, regional, national, and international conferences, so this symposium provides a friendly small-scale introduction to the conference experience.

For anyone who reads a paper, it becomes a valuable line-item you can list under the scholarship section on your CV (click here to read more about the CV). Anyone who aspires to continue into a doctoral program or to pursue other professional outcomes from their graduate English studies must be working to build up even a few line-items for the scholarship section of their CV. Scholarly activities are the coin of the realm.

The symposium title “Writing/Image/Text” signals that you don’t have to just focus on literary analysis, but might instead present work involving other media, other types of texts.

The event typically involves a morning session and an afternoon session of presentations, with a catered lunch in between. If the weather is good we usually have that lunch on picnic tables under canopies on the lawn outside of Maher Hall. It is very pleasant.

  • Anyone who plans to attend, whether as a presenter or audience member, please let me know as soon as possible and no later than March 20th at cloots@mercy.edu. I need to begin tallying how much catering to order, and how many presenters to schedule.
Travel-grant contest application procedures:

To be considered for the $600 travel grant, you must:

  • Be an active student or graduate of the Mercy College MA program.
  • Be certain that you will attend and present at the symposium, should you receive the travel grant.
  • Submit one written work, whatever you feel is your single best paper produced for one of your MA courses here at Mercy College, to cloots@mercy.edu by the deadline of March 20th. Please leave identifying information on your submission, including information about the course and professor for which you wrote the paper. Note that the paper you submit for consideration does not have to be the paper you present at the symposium (but it could be, if you want it to be).

Email any questions about the symposium or the travel-grant contest to the Program Director at cloots@mercy.edu. For those considering walking in commencement on Thursday 5/21, information on that can be found here.




Fall (and Summer) Course Schedules and Tentative Registration Date

At the moment registration for summer and fall courses is set to open on March 9th. This date could change, and if it does I will update the information here. Registration opens usually around 9am eastern time on the day indicated; literally it opens when the Registrar gets to work that morning and flips the digital switch to turn on the system. The summer and fall courses are listed below. A post including a more thorough description of each course as well as book orders for these will be posted in the future.


  • ENGL 517 Advanced Creative Writing (Dr. Keckler)
  • ENGL 560 Magical Realism (Dr. Vasile)


  • ENGL 500 Theory & Practice of Literary Criticism (Dr. Kilpatrick)
  • ENGL 510 Theory & Practice of Expository Writing (Dr. Proszak)
  • ENGL 522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts (Dr. Fritz)
  • ENGL 526 Modernism (Dr. Sax)
  • ENGL 541 Search for Identity in American Lit (Dr. Loots)