Graduate Teaching Assistants for Spring 2022 – Now Accepting Applications

This fall semester we were able to employ four graduate English students as Teaching Assistants (TAs) in online undergraduate courses, there to assist the instructor of record in a number of different ways. We are now accepting applications for those interested in securing a TA position for spring 2022. We anticipate being able to employ more TAs than in previous semesters, and so we encourage everyone with an interest (including those who have held TA positions in previous semesters) to apply.

Experience as a TA can be a valuable line-item in a curriculum vitae. And assisting in an online classroom will provide a first-hand look at how an actual college English course unfolds over a semester. TA positions are excellent experiential opportunities for anyone who aspires to teach at any level. For anyone who is already an active or experienced teacher, TA positions offer you a chance to use your expertise to make a significant positive impact on the development of undergraduate students who very much need your help.

Duties of the TA vary from class to class depending on the needs of the instructor. For more information, including qualifications for holding a TA position, consult the TA guidelines linked here. Review as well the TA Netiquette form linked here.

In addition, TAs will be required to attend a live zoom orientation session/discussion near or before the beginning of the spring semester.

TAs this fall semester are working 3 paid hours per week (remotely) and making $15/hour. The semester is 15 weeks long so the pay for the semester is $675. We anticipate that the pay/hours situation will be the same in spring 2022. The pay is therefore minimal. The real value of the TA position is the experience it provides.

To apply for a spring 2022 TA position send an email to by the end of Sunday November 21, using the subject line ENGLISH TA APPLICATION, and with the following materials attached:

  1. Resume
  2. The name of one MA faculty member who will recommend you (we will check with the faculty member to confirm their recommendation; make sure you establish with that person beforehand if she or he will recommend you).
  3. A short statement of purpose, just a paragraph or two (between 200 and 400 words) expressing why you are interested in being a TA at Mercy College.
  4. A short statement of your philosophy of teaching, just a paragraph or two (between 200 and 400 words).
  5. The completed activity linked here.

If you applied in the past for a TA position but were not offered a position you can resubmit, if you like, the same materials you submitted previously.

As a final note, people interested in being a TA are encouraged (but not required) to take ENGL 510 Theory & Practice of Expository Writing in the spring. Dr. Proszak, who is teaching the 510 course, is also the Composition Coordinator at Mercy College, and is interested in helping graduate TAs be effective in undergraduate composition courses.

Please send any questions to Thank you.

Spring 2022 Registration Opens Wednesday 11/3 (Priority 10/27)

General registration for spring 2022 will open on 11/3 at approximately 9am eastern; it opens when the Registrar toggles it on that morning, which will be about 9am eastern. Priority registration opens earlier on 10/27. Priority is mostly for undergrad honors students and athletes but it also includes grad veterans and active military, so anyone who meets that criteria should contact Erika Tremblay in PACT ( about priority registration access. Registering for courses promptly early on the day when registration opens is the only way to ensure you get your preferred schedule. Some courses fill up fast; some even fill up within a few hours. So if you have courses you know you want to take this spring, I would set an alarm.

One change to the tentative schedule provided in last month’s welcome post is that the Shakespeare course won’t be running. That course will now likely run in fall 2022. Spring course descriptions are as follows:

  • 510 Theory and Practice of Expository Writing (Dr. Proszak)

In this course, students learn about how writing has been studied and theorized across writing studies and related disciplines. The course specifically focuses on cultural issues endemic to writing and how race, ethnicity, gender, and class enter into conversations on writing instruction and assessment. Students who take this course will understand how writing functions across contexts and communities, including within higher education. All course texts will be scanned or available online. Readings will include chapters from A Short History of Writing InstructionNaming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies and chapters from texts on the open-access WAC Clearinghouse, including Situating Writing ProcessesWriting Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of OpportunityGenre in a Changing WorldFulfills the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.

  • 514 Borges & Cortázar – Argentine Literature (Dr. Reissig-Vasile)

This course examines the major contributions that the Argentine writers Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar have made to world literature. Argentina was not only the first country in Latin America with an urban culture but also the place where European modernity had a significant impact. Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar echoed and continued the experiments of modern European literature but gave to that tradition a particularly South American perspective. Issues such as politics and censorship, the fantastic in literature, and urban and rural conflicts will be examined through some of the major works of these (and perhaps of other) Argentinian writers. Fulfills an elective by default, but upon request can work for a Lit Group 2 field requirement.

  • 515 Graphic Novel (Dr. Medoff)

In this course we will explore the ways in which meanings emerge in several celebrated texts of the graphic novel genre, as well as some emerging classics. Our readings of these texts will be informed by a diversity of theoretical perspectives, including visual culture studies, postmodernism and intersectionality. We will interrogate the relationships between the concepts “graphic novel” or “comic book” and “popular culture,” with each of us bringing our lived experiences to our readings and discussions. Through in-depth studies of several primary texts, including Watchmen, Maus, Fun Home, and V for Vendetta, we will learn how graphic novelists use and manipulate historical and contemporary social issues as the building blocks for their art. Fulfills an elective by default, but upon request can work for the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement.

  • 522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts (Dr. Fritz)

This course will focus on humanism and the concepts arising from it in relation to the production and appreciation of literature during the Renaissance. The revival of interest in the arts and ideas of Greco-Roman antiquity and the dependence of Renaissance thought on classical themes will be among the issues discussed. Readings could include (but aren’t limited to) works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Machiavelli, More, and Spenser, among others. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • 523 Tragedy (Dr. Kilpatrick)

This course explores the history and theory of tragedy as both dramatic genre and philosophical motif. Beginning with its origins in ancient Greek ritual, the course traces a history of the genre to the present, with emphasis on the classical and English literary traditions. The course considers such elements as: the relationship between tragedy and the tragic; the role tragedy plays in the histories of Western drama and ideas; ways in which tragedy is distinct from other dramatic genres, such as comedy and melodrama; the essential elements of tragedy; comparisons between Classical and Elizabethan tragedy; and the possibility of modern tragedy. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • 524 Reason & Imagination (Dr. Sax)

This study of English literature between 1650 and 1850 examines Neoclassicism and Romanticism as two opposed aesthetic and philosophical stances. It traces the political, ideological, and literary roots of Neoclassicism in the English “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, the late seventeenth-century growth of rationalism and empirical science, followed by the flowering of Neoclassicism and then the shift in sensibility that led to the emergence of Romanticism. Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.

  • 543 The American Renaissance (Dr. Loots)

This course will study representative American writings from “The American Renaissance,” a period during the mid-nineteenth century (roughly 1832 to 1865) which saw the rise of the first truly non-Colonial, non-Revolutionary body of national literature; a literature which no longer concerned itself with European precedent, engagement, or approval. When F.O. Matthiessen coined the term “The American Renaissance” in 1941 he did so in light of five monumental American works by five different writers, all produced within five years (1850-55): Emerson (Representative Men), Thoreau (Walden), Melville (Moby Dick), Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter), and Whitman (Leaves of Grass). Since Matthiessen’s time the notion of an American Renaissance has come to encompass a greater diversity of works, writers, and perspectives from this era. In this course we’ll read selections from across this American Renaissance, most likely engaging works by: Harriett Jacobs; Frederick Douglass; Harriet Beecher Stowe; Frances Harper; Sojourner Truth; Margaret Fuller; Sara Willis (Fanny Fern); as well as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and Melville.  Fulfills either a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective

  • 560 Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter (Dr. Morales)

NOW OPEN TO ALL STUDENTS including those who previously took 560 Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter.

This course explores the dynamics of the racial turmoil that has disrupted this nation in ways much like during the civil rights era of the sixties. The question arises: is this a momentary period of protest or a In the fall of 2020, ENGL 560 the “Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter” viewed the movement through foundational literature that presaged a global phenomenon. This new course for the spring 2022, the “Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter,” looks at the early “progress” [statis?] of this movement in American culture focusing on the arts and literature. Columnist Perry Bacon says we are in the midst of a Black Renaissance. The 138-year-old Metropolitan opera in NY reopened its doors with Terrance Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up My Bones, a first for a black composer. Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah became the first black since Toni Morrison to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The NYT’s  fall theatre preview lead with “Broadway Is Brimming With Black Playwrights. But for How Long?” However, November’s [2021] gubernatorial race in Virginia saw the Republican, Glenn Youngkin, win the cultural wars using Toni Morrison’s Beloved as his whipping horse. There is a burgeoning backlash against “wokespeak” as even liberals complain of its use [“I’m exhausted by the constant need to be wary or you’ll instantly be labeled racist or anti-trans.”] The final question for the previous “Literary Accretion” course was “is this a momentary period of protest or a defining movement ushering in profound change?” “Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter” will further investigate this with a variety of readings and media presentations. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.

Note: students throughout their MA career can take multiple instances of different courses running by the course codes of 514, 515, 540, and 560. These are generic catalog codes under which many newer and experimental courses cycle into the schedule. So for example a student could take 540 Magic in Literature and 540 Shakespeare & Film and both courses would count for the degree, since they are different courses even though they are running by the same catalog number.

Book-order info for these spring 2022 courses will be provided here on the blog in a future post.

Call for Submissions!

Creative writers and artists take note: the Red Hyacinth magazine of Mercy College is currently accepting submissions for publication-consideration for the 2021-22 edition. Getting work published in the journal can provide great personal satisfaction, as well as a valuable line-item for the “publication” section of a curriculum vitae.

The faculty in the MA program strongly encourage any creative writers and artists in the program to submit something for consideration. You can submit fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and artwork/media of any printable sort. The deadline for submissions is December 5, 2021. Submissions guidelines and instructions can be found on the journal site, linked here. Any questions, email the journal editorial staff at: