All posts by madirector

For Those Who Need to take ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis in the Spring

Students for whom spring 2022 will be your final semester, please note that you will need to enroll in ENGL 599 Master’s Thesis as one of your final-semester courses. The way you enroll in ENGL 599 is different than for any other course. You can read about the process here on the blog. The short of it is, now is the right time to be securing your thesis mentor from the graduate faculty. Any questions contact

The Incomplete “I” – Fix It Soon, or Lose the Credits/Tuition

As we approach the end of the fall 2021 semester let me remind (or inform) everyone about the situation surrounding the “incomplete” or “I” mark a student might request/receive in place of an actual grade.

An “I” might be granted by a professor to students who have completed most of the required work for a course and who have met attendance requirements. The incomplete is intended for emergency situations, for students who experience an unexpected crisis (such as an injury or debilitating illness) at a specific point during the term which unexpectedly interrupts their ability to complete all required work for a course. Each professor has the right to not grant an incomplete and instead grant some other grade, including an F, based on whatever work the student completed during the regular term.

Students who find themselves in a situation that might warrant an incomplete must request it of the professor.

Sometimes an incomplete can be a life-saver for students who experience sudden crisis, but in just about all cases students should avoid incurring an incomplete if at all possible. Many students who take an incomplete never resolve it: because life goes on, new responsibilities and coursework come along, and it just becomes very difficult to find time to go back and do work on past requirements. It is also difficult for your professors to deal with incompletes because their work, responsibilities, and lives move forward; but the incomplete forces them to have to accommodate, tend to, assess, and sometimes even just remember what this work is that a student left untended in the past. It is a big deal for everyone when a student takes an incomplete, which is one reason why a professor simply might not grant it.

If a student is granted an incomplete, the student should work to complete the missed work and so remedy the incomplete as soon as possible – and ideally prior to the start of the next semester. At the maximum, and technically speaking, students have one year in which to remedy the incomplete. After one year, the potential credits for the course and tuition for the course are lost, and the incomplete cannot be changed into any real letter grade.

But please note: professors are not obligated to drop everything to prioritize reading late work. Your professors will at any point in the year but especially at the end of each semester have tons of new work to tend to, potentially hundreds of current papers to read and students from the current semester to help, which is another reason why you should not be waiting until the last minute or even the last few weeks of the year to tend to an incomplete. If you submit late work from fall 2020 on the day before the end of the fall 2021 semester, there is no chance that your professor is going to be able to drop everything else to tend to the last-second submission, evaluate it, and get the required paperwork done in time. The bottom line is this: anyone still seeking to correct fall 2020 incompletes should be working to resolve them and submitting work right now. Anyone with incompletes from spring or summer 2021 should also be working to resolve those asap.

ENGL 560 Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter Is Now Open to ALL Students, Including Those Who Took 560 Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter

Previously on this blog I wrote that those who had taken 560 Literary Accretion of Black Lives could not take the 560 Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter, since it seemed at the time that the courses would be the same or too similar. That has changed, and now ALL students can take this 560 Cultural Impact course, including those who previously took the Literary Accretion course. This is because Dr. Morales has been working on the new syllabus and description for Cultural Impact, and has shared that this new course will involve all new readings. In fact those who took Literary Accretion should find Cultural Impact particularly interesting. Here is the new course description Dr. Morales has provided:

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.

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:

Grad-Student Editors Needed for Red Hyacinth, The Mercy College Literary Magazine. [Updated 9/29]

Update: Red Hyacinth Journal editorial positions for the 2022 issue have been filled. The Department thanks everyone for their interest. Please keep an eye out for a “call for submissions” sometime in early-to-mid October.

Very soon there will be a call for creative-writing submissions to the college’s literary magazine, Red Hyacinth. Before that, though, the faculty who manage the journal need to assemble a team of student-editors. In the past this has been comprised mostly of undergraduate majors working in an actual office on campus. However this year, since the collaborative editing work can take place through zoom and other online platforms, the managing faculty are hoping to involve our graduate English Literature students on the student-editing team. If you’re interested in volunteering, here’s what you should know:

About Red Hyacinth

Red Hyacinth Journal is an annually published, perfect-bound literary magazine that showcases the writing and art of Mercy College students and alum. The journal’s first issue was produced in 2018 through the generosity of the family of the late Professor Valerie Lewis, a former instructor in the English program, and the creative writing fund established in her name.  Over the past few issues, Red Hyacinth has featured the creative work of over 200 graduate and undergraduate students from across many majors and disciplines. Student editors from the Departments of Literature and Language and Communication and the Arts collaborate on the editorial decisions, design, and concept. The journal’s student editors receive hands-on experience in the editorial and production processes as they select the work (poetry, drama, nonfiction, fiction, and art) in a blind-review process, prepare the magazine for press, and communicate with the college community regarding its release. The journal’s website can be found at 

As we put together a 5th annual issue (2022) we are looking to assemble an all-volunteer staff of Editors. Many literary magazines are produced by not-for-profit entities such as colleges and art collectives, and as such, most rely on an all-volunteer staff. While the positions are not compensated, the Editors’ names appear in the Masthead of the journal and editorial service can be listed on one’s CV and referenced in job interviews. Serving as an editor provides a graduate or undergraduate student with invaluable, relevant hands-on experience in editing, publishing, and arts administration, and allows one to make an important contribution to the Mercy Community, one that will endure for years to come. The journal is a “living” artifact, representing not only the students and editors who collaborate on an issue, but the challenges and aesthetics of the time the journal was produced in.  

We are looking for reliable, dedicated volunteers to fill the following positions for the 2021-22 academic year. The positions start immediately and generally run until June 2022. All positions will currently operate remotely,and applicants must have access to a computer, Zoom, reliable Internet, and the ability to meet once or twice a month to collaborate with other editors; some daytime availability is preferred for meetings. Editors cannot publish their own work in the issue they are serving on. If interested, please send your resume and a brief letter starting your interest to Dr. Kristen Keckler,

Below are more details about specific Editor positions. Positions will be filled as soon as possible. Hours vary; it is a significant time commitment, but one that is spread over many months so that it is manageable.

1 Managing Editor 

The Managing Editor position will manage the day-to-day operations of the literary journal for one cycle/issue, with the opportunity for renewal for another issue cycle if the candidate so desires. The Managing Editor will coordinate with the content and design editors to ensure that the team stays on task and that deadlines and benchmarks are met at key junctures in the production schedule. The position requires strong organizational skills and ability to create effective spreadsheets using Google.  

Responsibilities include: 

  • Manage the email and Google drive for the journal 
  • Communicate with students/alum who submit to the journal 
  • Create spreadsheets to track submissions and ensure a blind submission process (submissions will be numbered and all identifying information removed from the submission and tracked in the spreadsheet). 
  • Create and monitor Google doc for Content Editors to mark as they review submissions 
  • Call and manage editorial meetings 
  • Communicate with faculty advisor about progress  
  • Update the journal’s website with relevant deadlines 
  • Ensure names of contributors are correctly reflected in journal and titles of pieces are accurate 

2 to 3 Content Editors 

Content Editors will review submissions in various written genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, etc.) and determine the artistic merit/potential of each piece and its suitability for the issue of the journal.  

Content Editors’ responsibilities include: 

  • attending Zoom meetings to discuss the submissions and decide on which content is most suitable for the issue in terms of showcasing a variety of themes, styles, voices, and genres.  
  • collaborating to decide on the order and “arc” of the journal’s creative work, deciding on, for example, which pieces have connections that can be highlighted through juxtaposition and ordering 
  • assisting in light copy editing and review of proofs for errors/omissions 
  • assisting with outreach to classes and potential contributors about the journal 
  • other assistance as needed from faculty advisor and managing editor 

Welcome to the 2021-22 Academic Year

Peril, strangely encountered, strangely endured,
marks us;
we know each other
by secret symbols,
though, remote, speechless,
we pass each other on the pavement,
at the turn of the stair;
though no word pass between us
there is subtle appraisement….
we know our Name,
we nameless initiates,
born of one mother,
of the flame.

– from The Walls Do Not Fall (1944), by H.D. 

We begin again, together. It has been a rough eighteen months as we’ve endured the pandemic and its related crises; and as we know, it’s not over yet. But we begin again as a graduate community, students new and continuing, faculty and alumni alike, woven always as we are through our love of language, literature, words, artistic creation; and woven now too through this weird condition of having endured these strange days, this peril, together. It has become clear over the past year, from the unprecedented amount of applications we’ve fielded for the MA program, that there are many whose hope to join with others of like mind and explore together the further realms of literature and language has been galvanized by the global crisis. On behalf of all of the program’s faculty I want to welcome all of our incoming students to the beginning of your graduate studies at Mercy College; as much as I want to welcome back all of our continuing students to your ongoing scholarly and creative explorations.

Last year at this time I asked in the annual welcome-letter that students look out for each other in the classroom, help each other, be supportive and kind to each other. Our graduate students tend to be like that anyway, at any time, but in the middle of the pandemic as we were, it seemed like something worth asking: that we go out of our way to make our graduate classroom experience antidotal to the suffering of the pandemic. All indications are that the graduate community rose to the occasion; and the good will of the classrooms culminated in a marvelous spring symposium that was unprecedented both for its online format, as much as for its turnout and participation. Starting this fall, in a continuation of this effort of collegiality, we’re implementing a peer-mentor project which will associate incoming or newer students with students further along in their studies. The call for volunteers for this has garnered strong feedback already. In a few weeks, after it seems we’ve gotten the names of everyone interested in being a peer-mentor, we’ll be contacting newer students with the names and contact info of a few volunteer-mentors to whom those newer students can turn for advice or with questions.

Below in this post you will find news about some of our students, alumni, and faculty; followed by information about spring 2022 course offerings; followed by information about support and resources available to our graduate students. Please read onward to get caught up on what’s happening in your graduate English Literature program. And here’s to the 2021-22 school year!


Program students and alumni have been busy pursuing further degrees, creative and scholarly publication, and more. I’d like to share some of those pursuits here now at the start of the 2021-22 academic year in hopes it will inspire others in our graduate community, and give us all a sense of some of the possibilities. The following is by no means comprehensive and represents only the things I know about from occasional correspondence with alumni, or have heard about from other professors through their correspondence with alumni, but:

Seth Hahnke is entering the PhD English program at the University of Wisconsin this fall. Alissa Greenwood is finishing up the MLA program at Johns Hopkins University. David Hatami is ABD (an acronym that in doctoral studies means the person is in the final stage, and has completed “all but dissertation”) in the Doctor of Education program at Nova Southeastern University. Cristen Fitzpatrick is an ABD Doctoral Fellow finishing up the PhD in Composition and Rhetoric program at St. Johns University, where she teaches writing and composition, and has kept busy presenting scholarship on Beat-generation women writers, feminist zines, and more. Cornelius Fortune is in the PhD in American Culture Studies program at Bowling Green State University, and like many on this list (and many other alumni I am sure) has been busy teaching (composition, poetry, drama, cultural studies, film studies) and continuing a highly-active presentation and publishing schedule, with recent publications in over half-a-dozen journals or anthologies. Kevin Kenney translated his MA degree into a full-time high school teaching position, where he begins this fall teaching composition, literature, and creative writing. Sheri Murphy’s book In the Service of the King was recently published by Austin Macauley press. Theresa Hamman’s book Humming the Thing was recently published by Finishing Line Press.

A number of active and former MA students have achieved publication in the 2021 edition of the Mercy College literary journal, Red Hyacinth. The edition features poetry, fiction, and drama by alumni such as Gloria Buckley, Cornelius Fortune, Stasey Gray, Kristen Lohner Vasquez; as well as by active MA student Melissa Lizotte. This fall there will be another call-for-submissions for the 2022 edition of the journal. All of us in the program strongly encourage creative writers in our graduate community to send in work for consideration (an announcement will be posted here on the blog when the call-for-submissions begins). And I also encourage everyone to keep in touch with me over the years and to let me know of your activities and achievements (

The program was able to provide online undergraduate teaching opportunities this fall to alumni Alyssa Fried, Stefan Cruet, Kristen Robinson, David Hatami, Kristen Lohner Vasquez, and Kiara Duncan; and Carol Mitchell continues to teach composition and literature courses regularly at our Dobbs Ferry campus. We were able to fund four online Teaching Assistant positions this fall which went to Chazia Weste, Karen Gellender, Nancy Moore, and Anna Voronko. TA opportunities will again be available in the spring and the call for applications will be posted on the blog soon.

MA program faculty are always busy with their own research, writing, and other projects. To mention just a few things: Dr. Boria Sax’s latest book, Avian Illuminations: A Cultural History of Birds is being published by the University of Chicago Press and will be available starting this December. Dr. Sean Dugan is working on a project exploring how “middle-brow” literature, so often shunned by literary traditionalism and elitism, can be a valuable means for learning about society, history, injustice, and more. Dr. Jessica Ward’s article “Avarice, Idolatry, and Fornication: The Connection Between Genius’s Discussion About Religion and Virginity in Book 5 of John Gower’s Confessio amantis” was recently published in Studies in Philology; and her study “The Coveting of ‘Muche’ Instead of ‘Mesure’: Lady Mede and Nede in the C-Text of Piers Plowman” will be published as a chapter in the forthcoming New Directions in Medieval Mystical and Devotional Literature. Dr. Laura Proszak’s article “Products of U.S. Performance: A Material Rhetorical Education at North Bennet Street Industrial School, 1890-1910” was recently published in Rhetoric Society Quarterly; and more of her work will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming Teaching through the Archives: Text, Collaboration, and Activism.


Registration for the spring semester will open relatively soon, likely before the end of September at the current pace of things. There isn’t a date yet set for when it will open, but I always post the registration-opening date here on the blog as soon as I learn it. For this and other reasons, grad students should check the blog regularly throughout their time in the program. Registering promptly, first thing in the morning on the day that registration opens, is the only way to ensure you get a seat in your preferred courses. Some courses fill up quickly, sometimes even within just several hours. We’re running nine different courses in spring 2022. They are:

  • 510 Theory and Practice of Expository Writing
  • 514 Borges & Cortázar – Argentine Literature
  • 515 Graphic Novel
  • 522 Humanism in Renaissance Texts
  • 523 Tragedy
  • 524 Reason & Imagination
  • 540 Shakespeare: Family Dynamics and Reputation
  • 543 The American Renaissance
  • 560 Cultural Impact of Black Lives Matter

Each course will have 15 seats available. Descriptions for these spring courses will be provided in a blog post in the near future.


Each of you has what’s called a PACT advisor. The PACT advisor for every graduate English student is currently Erika Tremblay at Also know that as the Program Director I am the faculty advisor to every graduate English student, so you can always contact me at I am here to help, always.

Student Support Services is the general office/portal where you can find info about many of the things that students normally need info about.

The College’s Office of Accessibility is the place to contact if you need to discuss or register any accommodations.

We also have an office of Counseling Services for those in need.

The Center for Academic Excellence and Innovation (CAEI) provides tutoring (including online tutoring) and other such assistance for those who want help with their writing and researching. Occasionally a professor might recommend that you seek additional help with your writing, and the CAEI is the place you can get it.

Mercy has extensive online library resources. JSTOR Language & Literature, MLA International Bibliography, and Academic Search Premier are the main databases in the field of literary research, though there are many other databases available online through the library. Additionally, Mercy College has digitized versions of many scholarly books. To search the ebook selection use the advanced search option for the library catalog and under “format” select “EBook.” Then search away and check-out/download any useful books you find.

On this post here you’ll find critical information about the incomplete “I” grade which some of you might occasionally receive. It’s critically important that students recognize that there is a time-limit past which incompletes cannot be fixed, after which all credit and tuition for the incomplete course is lost.

For those approaching their last semester, you must pay attention to your required comprehensive exam, to the instructions for how to enroll in the final 599 course, and to the application you must complete in order to graduate.

And as always, if anyone has any questions about anything, please let me know at

Once again, welcome to the 2021-22 academic school year. Here’s to beginning again. Onward we go, together….

Semester Begins Wednesday 9/8

Just a reminder to the graduate community that the fall 2021 semester begins on Wednesday 9/8, aka tomorrow from the time of writing this. I will be sharing a welcome letter to the community here on the blog later this week, but for now I just want to wish everyone a great first day of the semester. Please note that there is no particular time during the day on 9/8 when a course must open. Some professors will open their course first thing in the morning, others might open the course in the evening after getting home from the campus. All courses will open sometime on 9/8.

Seeking Grad-Student Peer-Mentors for Newer MA Program Students

During the chat following this year’s Graduate English Symposium, some students mentioned that it might be useful practice for incoming grad students to be put in touch with students a bit further along in the graduate program. Students with more experience in the program might be able to offer advice, answer questions, recommend courses, and just be a friendly peer-resource for incoming students. The Program Director serves as the faculty advisor to every student in the program, but peer-mentoring (as we’ll call this) has proven to be beneficial in many fields, especially in education, and experienced students can invariably provide a different perspective on the program than anything a faculty advisor might be able to provide.

If you’re an MA student who was completed at least twelve credits in the program and if you’d like to be a peer-mentor to a newer MA student, please write to In your email specify if you would be available for email contact, phone contact, or even zoom contact. Do not feel obligated to make yourself available for any medium beyond what you’re comfortable and happy to do. Alumni are also welcome to volunteer for this. Please make the subject-line of your email PEER MENTORING.

If you’re an incoming or newer student (or really are just any MA student who would like to be put in contact with a program-peer) then write to Indicate if you would prefer email, phone, or zoom contact. Again, please make the subject of your email PEER MENTORING.

Near the start of the semester (which begins on 9/8) I will share here an “annual welcome” post and will include in it a view on how the peer-mentoring response is shaping up. Thank you, all.