On Saturday April 30 the MA program will be hosting its annual “Writing Image Text” or “W.I.T.” Graduate English Symposium. The event will be held live online through Zoom. We will begin at noon, eastern time. The event will likely run for three or four hours (last year it ran from noon to 4pm) but the end-time will only come into focus once we know how many MA students will be presenting.

This call for papers (CFP) is limited to current students in the program. Active students who want to attend but not present, as well as Alumni, prospective students, faculty, family, guests, etc., are all welcome and encouraged to attend. The deadline for responding to this CFP and declaring as a presenter is the end of Wednesday, April 13.

The symposium is a casual mini-conference at which active MA English students can read aloud a scholarly or creative work. A paper that you’ve written for any of your MA courses will do just fine, though it might need to be edited down to a shorter length to fit into the 15 minute time-slot allotted to each presenter. Full instructions and guidance for presenting will be shared with presenters after April 13. The symposium is also a community event at which you might see/meet fellow grad students, program professors, alumni, and others in the MA community.

Graduate students and professional scholars often attend and read at local, regional, and national conferences, so this symposium provides a friendly small-scale introduction to the conference experience. And for anyone who reads a paper, it becomes a line-item you can list under the scholarship section on your CV (click here to read more about the CV). Earning line-items for the scholarship section of your CV is very important for anyone who aspires to apply to PhD programs.

Anyone planning to attend this year’s WIT symposium, presenter or not, please let me know by sending an email no later than the end of Wednesday, April 13, to cloots@mercy.edu. Presenters please also, in your email, let me know the title of the work you will present. I need this info in order to appropriately organize the event and create the program. I need non-presenters to RSVP as well so that I know everyone to whom I will need to send Zoom login info before 4/30.

I will host an optional Zoom practice session for presenters on Thursday April 21, at 2pm eastern time for anyone who wants to practice using the screenshare feature in Zoom. It’s not necessary to screenshare during a presentation; and traditionally an English conference presentation consists of a person simply reading aloud a written work while the audience listens and considers it. But screensharing visual elements (Powerpoint decks, media, images, etc.) has become more and more common in the past few years as more and more people have adapted to presenting virtually. So if you want to share your screen during your presentation, and you’re not familiar with how to do so, be sure to attend this optional practice session.

You can read about previous symposiums on the blog here, and here, and here, and here. On behalf of the MA faculty: we hope to see you there! Please contact cloots@mercy.edu if you have any questions about any of this.