All posts by madirector

Recent Student Achievements

In a few weeks I will be sharing with you some year-end awards that the program and college confer (thesis of the year, program honoree) but here I would like to note some student and alumni achievements. I do this for a number of reasons, including to celebrate the accomplishments and activities of our students and alumni, and to give everyone in the program a look at the sort of things you all might pursue beyond the MA program. I should note that publications and presentations such as those listed here carry much weight on a curriculum vitae. In no particular order:

  • Current student Theresa Hamman‘s poetry chapbook All Those Lilting Tongues was published by Finishing Line Press. (You can read an interview of Theresa by clicking here.) Theresa as well will see her work published in the 2018-19 edition of Red Hyacinth, the college’s literary journal.
  • Current student Cornelius Fortune presented his paper “Perfecting Humanity, One Genome at a Time – the Curious Case of Rebooting an Entire Culture” at the (Re)Imagining Popular Culture conference at Wayne State University in 2019. Cornelius too will see some of his work published in Red Hyacinth this spring, and his poem “Storm Drain Honey (Anatomy of a Breakup)” was awarded an Editor’s Prize for innovation.
  • Alumna Angela Colmenares has been accepted to present scholarship on Whitman’s Leaves of Grass at the 2019 South-Central Modern Language Association convention, and on “The Uncanny Nature of Cyberpunk” at the 2019 Midwest Modern Language Association convention.
  • Current student Emily Anderson‘s short story “Daughters of Morrigan” was selected for publication in the upcoming edition of Red Hyacinth
  • Alumna Elisha Baba has been accepted to present scholarship at the Philadelphia Theatre Research Symposium 2019 at Villanova.
  • Alumna Franchesca Guzman was awarded a fellowship at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI).

Some of our graduating students and alumni will be moving on to other programs of study:

  • Kate Oscarson has been accepted into Marquette University’s English PhD program, claiming one of only three available seats for incoming students this fall.
  • Cheryl Kennedy has been accepted into Texas Tech’s PhD English program.
  • David Hatami has been accepted into the EdD program at Nova Southeastern University.
  • Marisa McDowell has been accepted into the MDiv program at Loyola University, Chicago.

I’d like to further note that admission to any such program tends to be very competitive, that seats can be difficult to secure. There will always be far fewer applicants accepted into any such program than apply. Take heart, those of you who might have applied and not received acceptance into a doctoral or other program this year. You might find success if you re-apply to your desired programs in the future, or you might find success if you apply to a different selection of programs in the future. Anyone seeking advice when applying to doctoral or other programs beyond our MA program, feel free to contact me at cloots@mercy.edu (and it’s also customary to ask your thesis mentor for advice about the same).

Please, all students and alumni, now or at any point in the future keep me informed of any activity you’ve been up to, including conference presentations, publications, acceptances into doctoral or other subsequent programs, work activity, and the like. It’s important for us here in the MA program to maintain a view of how our students and graduates are faring beyond the program, and to celebrate your achievements.

[POSTPONED TO 2020] 2019 Mercy College Graduate English Symposium: Call for Papers and Attendees

NOTE: THE 2019 SYMPOSIUM HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT YEAR.

Based on the responses I received to the previous post asking for date-preference, this year’s Writing/Image/Text (W.I.T.) Graduate English Symposium will be held on Monday May 20 here on the Dobbs Ferry NY campus. May 20 is the day before the School of Liberal Arts and the School of Education commencement ceremony. You can read about last year’s symposium here, if you’re interested.

The symposium is a casual mini-conference at which interested 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, though it must be edited to no longer than 10 pages), as well as to meet some fellow grad students and program professors. Family and friends are welcome to attend too. And 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, 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).

The symposium title “Writing/Image/Text” signals that you don’t have to just focus your presentation on literary analysis, as you traditionally would at an English conference, but might instead present work involving other media, other types of texts.

Anyone planning to attend and/or present, please let me know by sending a note as soon as possible and no later than Friday April 19 to cloots@mercy.edu. I need to establish asap who all will attend, how many people will present, and how many overall to expect so that I can reserve the appropriate room space, order the right amount of catering (lunch provided courtesy of the MA program), and establish the necessary time-length for the entire event. Because of some changes in how our facilities services operates at the college I must know the attendee numbers by Friday April 19. Contact me at cloots@mercy.edu if you have any questions about any of this.

A Few Things: The 2019 Symposium; & Any News About Achievements?

Just a bit of program business here:

First, we’re beginning to plan for the annual Graduate Student Symposium. In the past we’ve held this the day before commencement, and we’ll likely do the same again this year, which would mean the symposium would be on Monday May 20th. That date is still highly tentative. We’ll settle this up in the next few weeks, but for now just start thinking about if you might be able to attend and/or present a paper at the symposium in mid-May. Details and a more thorough call-for-papers will be coming soon.

Second, I’m collecting information on any recent student or alumni achievements and activities (e.g. acceptances into doctoral programs or subsequent master’s programs, presentations, speeches/talks, publications, etc.) to share sometime soon on the blog. Please send any such news to cloots@mercy.edu so that we can celebrate and salute our students and alumni, and inspire others among us to their own achievements and activities.

ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial: How To Enroll

Just a reminder here: Anyone getting close to the end of the MA program needs to start thinking about the ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis Tutorial. Let’s look at some basic points about what it is, what you have to do to enroll in it, and what you do once in it:

  • ENGL 599 counts for three credits, like any other course, and is a requirement for the MA degree. Unlike any other course in the program, 599 is run as a one-on-one tutorial between each student and a chosen professor (mentor).
  • The tutorial is always taken during whatever you intend to be your final semester in the program.
  • During the tutorial you have one responsibility and goal: writing a 25-page thesis paper on a topic of your choice, involving primary and secondary sources that you select, all operating under the guidance of your mentor.
  • To pass the tutorial your thesis paper must receive final approval from your mentor and from a second reader selected from the MA faculty.
  • You enroll in 599 using a different process than for any other course in the MA program:
  1. First, during the semester prior to your final semester, think up a general topic or idea for your thesis and write it down. Your thesis topic can be based on a paper written for another course earlier in the program; you can even use that paper as the first draft for your thesis paper.
  2. Contact any professor teaching in the program and ask the professor if he or she would be your mentor. Include your general topic along with your request. If the professors says yes, you will then work up a more formal thesis proposal with that mentor; If your selected professor cannot mentor you, you can either just ask another professor or can contact the program director at cloots@mercy.edu and a mentor will be assigned.
  3. In the meantime, be aware that all students must take and pass the program’s Comprehensive Exam in the time between the penultimate and ultimate semester in the program. So while you’re developing your thesis proposal with your mentor, also start thinking about the Comp Exam which you must request from the program director upon completing your penultimate semester. Students must complete their Comp Exam before beginning their 599 tutorial.
  4. Once you have developed a formal thesis proposal under the mentor’s guidance, and once the mentor deems it acceptable, the mentor will contact the program director who then opens up an individual 599 section for each student with the mentor as professor. It is therefore impossible to be “closed out” of a 599 as each one is opened on an individual basis. The only way a student who needs to be in ENGL 599 might not get into one is if the student doesn’t do these steps in a timely-enough fashion as to have this all settled by the start of the final semester.

Interested in Joining the English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta?

We’re now entering the annual window in which interested and eligible students can join the International English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta. To be eligible graduate students must be actively enrolled in a graduate program, have completed six credits of graduate coursework, and have a minimum 3.3 GPA. Dr. Dana Horton (dhorton1@mercy.edu) is the Sigma Tau coordinator again this year and is the one to contact about this, but please let me know as well if you intend to join (cloots@mercy.edu). Here’s a bit more information about the society and the registration process for those interested:

Sigma Tau Delta was established in 1924 to confer distinction for high achievement in English language, literature, and writing. It now includes 825 chapters in the United States and abroad. Membership in this prestigious honor society is something a member can list on a resume under “professional organizations” and membership also provides access to resources and networking opportunities in the field of English. Please visit www.english.org to learn more.

Inductees, along with family and friends, are cordially invited to Mercy College’s Honors Day Induction Ceremony taking place on Monday, May 6, 2019, beginning at 6:00pm in the Maher Hall Conference Room on the Dobbs Ferry campus. Dinner and a reception will follow. There is no limit to the number of guests you may invite; however please let Dr. Horton (dhorton1@mercy.edu) know now how many will attend so that we can order adequate catering. Attendance at the May ceremony is not required for membership.

Induction comes with lifetime membership in Sigma Tau Delta. The induction and lifetime membership requires a one-time processing fee of $45 and the check or money order must be made out to Mercy College. 

The deadline for receiving this one-time payment of $45 and for accepting this membership invitation is Monday March 18, 2019.

When writing a check or money order include your name and Mercy ID# in the memo-line of the check. Mail (or hand deliver) the check or money order to:

Dr. Dana Horton
Mercy College
Maher Hall #202
555 Broadway
Dobbs Ferry NY 10522

Students may also pay in cash but you cannot send cash through the mail. You must hand-deliver cash to Dr. Horton or to the department administrator, Linda Dubiell, in Maher Hall on the Dobbs Ferry campus.

Again if you are sending a check or money order make sure that it is made out to Mercy College, and that your name and college ID# are written on the check. Mercy collects and deposits these payments into its own account and then makes one total payment directly to the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society. Any check or money order that is not made out to Mercy College will be returned to you as we will not be able to deposit it.

If you wish to accept this membership invitation, please email Dr. Horton (dhorton1@mercy.edu) as soon as possible, and no later than the payment deadline of Monday March 18, 2019.

Students Needing ENGL 500 this fall should email cloots@mercy.edu now

ENGL 500 is the MA program’s NY State “core course” which means all students must complete it as a part of their degree requirements. The course runs during each fall semester, and only during each fall semester.

Entrance into the fall 2019 instance of ENGL 500 is going to be by permit-only. Every single student who needs to take 500 this fall will get a seat. Students who need to take the course this fall are those who are on track to graduate prior to the fall 2020 semester but who have not yet completed the course. Once every student who needs the course this fall has been enrolled, we will also give permits to other students interested in taking the course this fall.

We’re doing this to ensure that students who must have the course this fall do not find themselves shut out of the course.

The first step in this process is for everyone who has not yet completed 500 and who plans to complete their MA degree prior to fall 2020 to email the program director now at cloots@mercy.edu indicating that you need the course. We will begin building a list of all students who need it and will begin entering permits for these students later this spring semester after general registration opens.

Students who do not plan to graduate prior to fall 2020 but who would like a seat in this fall 2019 instance of the course should also email the program director now at cloots@mercy.edu indicating interest. Once all students who need the course this time around have enrolled, we will begin issuing permits to the remaining students in the order that they emailed their request, first come first serve. If anyone has any questions about any of this, contact the director at cloots@mercy.edu.

Summer and Fall 2019 Schedules, and a Note About ENGL 500

Registration for the summer and fall semesters will open soon, probably within a month or so, possibly sooner. I will post the specific registration-opening date here on the blog as soon as the Registrar’s office has settled it. Note that while some students in the program like to take summer coursework other students prefer to follow the traditional fall/spring semester schedule; and this is why we run just two or three courses during the summer semester.

Summer 2019

  • ENGL 510 – Theory and Practice of Expository Writing (Dr. Dugan)

The course is especially encouraged for any student who is a teacher or who aspires to teach secondary school or college. The course will address the techniques of expository writing as reflected in academic discourse. Ideally, students will develop the general practices of critical writing, but focus their work in their individual fields of interest. These interests may include feminist approaches, deconstructive approaches, research in culture, education, etc. The course will specifically address techniques of analytic organization, and will consider the pedagogy and andragogy of writing. 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 514 – Animals in Literature (Dr. Sax)

This course looks at the representation of animals in a wide range of literary and folkloric traditions. It will focus, most especially, on the ways in which the literary depiction of animals is intimately tied to changing perspectives on the human condition, which in turn reflect religious, intellectual, governmental, and technological developments. 3 credits. (Fulfills an elective.)

  • ENGL 560 – Latino Literature (Dr. Vasile)

This course focuses on the literature of Latinos/Hispanics living in the United States; a growing and important field of American literature. “Latino” and “Hispanic” refer to people living in the United States who have roots in Latin America, Spain, Mexico, South America, or Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries. In this course we will examine texts that make salient the great diversity of literary themes, styles, and social concerns of literary texts written by Latino/a writers. We will study issues such as gender, race, class, diaspora, bilingualism, violence, and community as raised by the various authors whose work we will be examining in this course. Our readings will focus on short stories, poetry, and novels written by writers from various Latino/a groups, including Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans and Dominican Americans. 3 credits. (Fulfills either a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.)

Fall 2019

  • ENGL 500 Theory (TBD)

This is the program’s core course, meaning the course that everyone must take and for which there are no alternative course options. This course runs once each fall semester, so if you’re aiming to graduate at the end of fall 2019, spring 2020, or summer 2020 and have not yet completed 500, you must enroll in this for fall 2019. The next instance of the course will be fall 2020. NOTE: We’re considering locking registration for this course and instead admitting into it, from our side of the system, only those students on schedule to graduate in fall 2019, spring 2020 or summer 2020. I will keep everyone updated on this plan here on the blog, if and as it develops. Here’s the description for the course:

An introduction to some of the major movements and figures of the theory of criticism. The question “what is literature?” is a primary concern of this course. Such an inquiry necessarily engages other, closely affiliated signifiers such as work/text, writing, reading, interpretation, and signification itself. After brief encounters with ancient antecedents and seminal moderns, influential contemporary approaches to the question concerning literature and its cultural significance are engaged. An assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of current trends in the practice of literary criticism, and their theoretical groundwork, is the ultimate objective of this course. 3 credits.

  • ENGL 509 – Perspectives on the Essay (Dr. Keckler)

The course studies the essay as a distinct literary genre; some of its characteristics and types; some of its history; and some of its role in reflecting authorial consciousness. Further, this course examines the taxonomy of the essay in terms of its medium (verse or prose), its tone and level of formality, its organizational strategies, and its relationship to its audience and to particular modes of literary production (speech, manuscript, pamphlet, book, magazine, newspaper, etc.). 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 521 – Medieval Literature (Dr. Fritz)

This course is designed to cultivate students’ awareness of the themes, genres, and issues related to the study of medieval literature. Students will study the major genres of medieval literature, including epics, lays and romances. 3 credits. (Fulfills either a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 540 – Magic in Literature (Dr. Sax)

This course examines alchemy, together with related activities that now impress us as “magical,” as a virtually all-inclusive discipline which laid much of the foundation for later literature, art, and science. It looks at the beginnings of alchemy in the ancient world, and how these developed, along with the revival of Classical learning, in the Renaissance. Finally, it looks at the continuing influence of magic in Romantic, Modern, and Post-Modern literature and culture. Readings typically include works by Hesiod, Ben Johnson, Shakespeare, E. T. A. Hoffmann, J. K. Rowling and others. Textbooks include The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances Yates. 3 credits. (Fulfills either a Literature Group 1 requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 545 – Literature of the Left Bank, Paris (Dr. Loots)

This course examines the diverse people, culture, and writings of  the expatriate community of the Parisian Left Bank during the early and mid twentieth century. This includes an exploration of the significance of Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Company bookstore and lending library, and of intellectual and artistic salons such as those of, for example, Natalie Barney and Gertrude Stein. The course will additionally consider the doings and writings of expatriate authors moving through or closely associated with the Parisian Left Bank’s modernist enterprise. An emphasis will be placed on studying the cultural geography of this location which attracted so many of the world’s great writers and artists and gave rise to so many works now considered twentieth century literary masterpieces. 3 credits. (Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 560 – Contemporary Slave Narratives (Dr. Horton)

The slave narrative is a genre that has undergone many transitions – from the formative narratives of the early Atlantic world to the revitalization of the neo-slave narrative during The Civil Rights Era to the twenty-first century multimedia concept of the post-neo-slave narrative. Although slave narratives were prevalent in the early Atlantic world, this genre remains a fundamental element of the twenty-first century literary, historical, and cultural landscape. Due to the multi-modal and interconnected nature of our current cultural moment, contemporary slave narratives are no longer confined to literature and are featured in films, music, and art.

In this course, we will examine early slave narratives by Harriet Jacobs, Harriet Wilson, and Solomon Northup, neo-slave narratives by Sherley Anne Williams and Toni Morrison, and post-neo-slave narratives by Lalita Tademy and Steve McQueen, as well as interrogate scholarship by Margaret Natalie Crawford, Nicole Aljoe, A. Timothy Spaulding, and Ashraf H. A. Rushdy. The goal of this course is to broaden our understanding of the slave narrative tradition, as well as examine how twenty-first century writers, artists, and filmmakers resist and reinforce the original slave narrative concept. This course will include weekly discussion board posts, a midterm exam, and a final project, where students choose between developing a scholarly thesis-based paper or creating a teaching portfolio. 3 credits. (Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or an elective.)

Important Notice for Students in “Working Women in the USA”

The following book previously required for the Working Women in the USA course is now not a required purchase:

  • Working Women in American Literature 1865-1950, ISBN 9781498546782

Dr. Gogol will still be using that book for the class this semester, but will now be providing scans of relevant sections of it during the semester. This change is due to the unusually high cost of the book, and the valid concerns about the cost raised by a number of students.