Category Archives: Career Advice

Call for Applications: FALL 2022 English Learning Assistants (formerly known as Teaching Assistants)

We are now accepting applications for fall 2022 online English Learning Assistants (ELAs). This is the next-step in the evolution of our graduate teaching-assistantship program.

The deadline for submitting the required materials is: July 1, 2022.

Details about the ELA position’s responsibilities and requirements, and pay, as well as detailed instructions for applying, are in the PDF linked here.

All questions regarding the ELA position and application process should be directed to Emily Cunningham, Assistant Program Director of IREPO, at: ecunningham3@mercy.edu

Experience as an ELA can be a valuable line-item in a curriculum vitae. And assisting in a classroom will provide a first-hand look at, and real-time experience with, how an actual college composition course unfolds over a semester. We strongly encourage anyone in the MA program who hopes to pursue a PhD, or to teach at all in the future, to apply.

ELA positions are limited.

Summer Fellowship (Paid Internship) Opportunity in Professional Publishing

The Association of American Literary Agents (AALA), and their non-profit sister organization Literary Agents of Change (LAOC), are sponsoring fellowships for summer 2022. Mercy College English students, grad or undergrad, with an interest in the field of publishing are strongly encouraged to apply. Those selected will receive a grant of $6,000 each and be paired with one of AALA /LAOC’s 450+ members for a 10 week internship. This flyer provides more info, and this document/contract provides even more specific information (it sets forth expectations for the fellowship/internship program and ensures legal compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act).

The application can be found here: 

https://aalitagents.org/internship-application/ 

The deadline to apply is March 15th.

AALA/LAOC has created this promotional video to give Mercy College English students a bit more information about this opportunity and the role of a literary agent.

If you have any questions please contact: fellowship@aalitagents.org   

Tips for Grad Students: Decorum in Correspondences with Professors

One thing that I hope our graduate students will note is that every professor teaching in the Mercy College MA program holds a doctorate. In order to be qualified to teach in our graduate program at all, the professor must hold a doctorate and therefore be, technically, a Doctor. This is one of the things that makes Mercy’s graduate program special, that all of our faculty have achieved what’s known as the terminal or final degree in the field. In correspondences with any professor in the program, therefore, it’s appropriate to begin with a salutation such as “Hello Dr. [last name],” or “Dear Dr. [last name],” or even simply “Dr. [last name].” It’s also quite normal to instead begin a correspondence with something like “Hello Professor [last name].” But as earning a doctorate and the formal academic title of Doctor takes a great deal of sacrifice, work, risk, time, and cost, many people who have achieved this distinction will be taken aback, especially in an academic setting, if not addressed, at least in early correspondences, in an appropriately professional way. What we’re talking about here is decorum.

As you develop your collegial relationship with various professors over individual classes, and over the whole of your graduate career, and as your degree of familiarity with certain professors increases over time, it will (or might, depending on the professor) make more and more sense to be more casual with one another in correspondences. Some professors might even ask you to refer to them by their first name rather than their title, or in some other way might indicate that it’s okay to be less formal in salutations and correspondences.

But prior to such familiarity, and prior to a professor indicating or inviting any such thing, please be considerate of corresponding with professors with an awareness of decorum. It is not appropriate, for example, to begin a correspondence with a professor in the graduate program by writing something like “Hey you,” or even by not including any salutation at all and just writing as if you were texting a friend, or sending a message to customer service. Please just reflect on and be considerate of such things when you’re engaging with your professors.

It is entirely appropriate, if you’re unsure or have questions or thoughts about such things as this, to ask your various professors directly about them. Communicating about things is how we develop. The faculty are here to help develop our grad students’ expertise in the fields of literature and writing; but we are also here to help develop our grad students’ sense of decorum appropriate to the field of academia, so to help professionalize and prepare our grad students for potentially entering the field. Thank you, everyone.

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 cloots@mercy.edu 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 cloots@mercy.edu. Thank you.

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 https://redhyacinthjournal.wordpress.com/ 

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, kkeckler1@mercy.edu.

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 

GRADUATE TEACHING ASSISTANTS FOR FALL 2021- NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

We are now accepting applications for online TA position for fall 2021. We anticipate being able to employ three or four TAs this fall.

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 online 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.

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

To apply for a fall 2021 TA position send an email to cloots@mercy.edu by the end of Friday, July 16, 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 (just list the name — 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 before for a TA position but were not offered a position you can resubmit, if you like, the same materials you submitted previously. If you worked for us as a TA in the past you can be considered anew for a TA position simply by indicating your interest (you do not need to resubmit the application materials). Please note that our priority with these positions is giving as many students as possible a chance to be a TA, so those who have already worked as TAs will be prioritized after other applicants.

Please send any questions to cloots@mercy.edu. Thank you.

Graduate Teaching Assistants for Spring 2021- Now Accepting Applications

This fall semester we were able to employ three graduate English students as Teaching Assistants (TA) 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 2021. We anticipate being able to employ at least three TAs again in the spring, and possibly more if we can secure funding through the federal CARES act in good time. We are hoping for a strong response to this call for TAs since the stronger the response, the more likely we are to receive more funding for TA positions.

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.

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 situation will be the same in spring 2021. The pay is therefore minimal. The real value of the TA position is the experience it provides.

To apply for a spring 2021 TA position send an email to cloots@mercy.edu by the end of Wednesday November 25, 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 earlier this year for a TA position but were not offered a position you can resubmit, if you like, the same materials you submitted previously. If you are currently working as a TA you can apply again for the spring, but because our priority with these positions is giving as many students as possible a chance to be a TA, current TAs will be prioritized after other applicants. If our funding initiatives work out as we hope, though, we may be able to offer many TA positions, potentially as many as we have applicants. So we encourage everyone who is at all interested in this opportunity to apply.

Please send any questions to cloots@mercy.edu. Thank you.

 

 

Spring 2020 Semester Starts Today 1/22

Welcome back, everyone. I hope you all had a restful winter break from your studies and are looking forward to another semester exploring literature, story, film, and all the rest together. Here are a few things to note here at the start of the spring semester:

  • Everyone taking an ENGL 599 thesis tutorial, just double-check to make sure that you are enrolled and see the 599 tutorial on your schedule. If it’s not there, or if anyone in the program sees a problem with their schedule, let me know (cloots@mercy.edu).
  • In the next week or two we’ll be determining and announcing the date for this year’s Graduate English Symposium. In the past we’ve held it close to commencement, after the semester actually ends, but we might change the date this year, especially if another time earlier during the semester works better for more students. If anyone is hoping to attend and read a paper please share with me what days of the week, and weeks in late April through mid-May, might work best for you. (Note: any paper you’ve written for any of your courses would do, and reading it aloud at an event like this provides you with a line-item for the scholarship section of your curriculum vitae).
  • Starting in fall 2020 we will be instituting a Teaching Assistant (TA) feature that will allow a few MA students to receive a small stipend for performing TA work in online undergraduate English composition courses. We are working with our College administration to figure out the details and will share them once they are settled, but basically anyone who is interested in gaining some TA experience and making a little bit of money for doing so, keep your eyes on the blog for the next announcement about all of this. I should be clear about this: whatever type of financial support we’re going to be able to provide will be small, so this will to large degree be the sort of thing that will be most valuable for those who want TA experience for their resume and to develop some aspects of their teaching skills.

Here’s to a great spring semester, everyone.

Creative Writers Take Note: Our College Literary Journal Still Needs Prose, Re-Opens Submission Window through 12/3.

Mercy College’s literary journal, Red Hyacinth, is re-opening its submission window through Monday December 3rd in hopes of securing more student submissions in the area of prose (fiction and nonfiction). The editors are full-up with poetry submissions but there’s been a dearth of prose submissions, and so the editors are hoping that students (particularly our graduate English students) will rise to this new call for prose and submit something before the end of Monday 12/3. So, if you have a short story, or an excerpt from a longer creative work, or an experimental prose-piece, or any sort of creative non-fiction (really any prose other than scholarship as this is a creative journal and not a scholarly one) well get it together this weekend and send it to the journal editors at:

RedHyacinthJournal@gmail.com.

Further details about the submission requirements can be found by clicking here but basically if you’ve got a piece of short fiction or creative non-fiction the MA program faculty strongly encourage you to send it to the editors and see what happens.

Keep in mind that getting a work published in a collegiate literary journal would provide you with a line-item to list in the publication section of your curriculum vitae.

Call for Papers: NEMLA 2019 Panel

Mary Reading, a colleague of our Dr. Fritz, is chairing a panel at the 2019 NEMLA convention on the topic of: “In, Beyond, Between Bodies: Transgender Identity through Interpersonal Spaces in Visual Media.” The call for papers (CFP) for potential panelists is open until September 30. You can learn more about the CFP, including contact info and submission guidelines, here on the UPENN bulletin board (which if you didn’t know is pretty much where everyone in the profession goes to look for CFPs since the UPENN board collates CFPs from around the country and world.) You can learn more about the 2019 NEMLA convention here. Any Mercy grad students working in this area of inquiry (or interested in working in this area of inquiry) and who can be in Washington DC in March 2019 to attend the convention should put together a paper proposal and submit it before the deadline. Any questions about the panel should be directed to Mary Reading at: m.a.reading@iup.edu.