Category Archives: Useful Program Info & Tips

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.

Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet: online Performance and Interactive Event

As a part of the Mercy College English Program’s annual Christie Day Shakespeare celebration, Red Bull Theater’s virtual production of Romeo and Juliet will take place on Thursday, May 6th from 12-1:25pm. They will start with a 10-minute warm-up at 12pm, and the livestream will go from 12:10-1:10pm. They’ll finish up with a talkback from 1:10-1:25pm.

To receive the zoom link please email the Program Director at cloots@mercy.edu. For any other questions about the event please email Dr. Jessica Ward (jward16@mercy.edu).

Some things to know: 

  1. Please sign-in with Mercy College listed in your Zoom Box. Once in the main Zoom space, you will be asked to re-name yourself with your first name and pronouns. Please be sure to do this, especially if you wish to participate in the warm-up and/or talkback. The livestream is in a Zoom Webinar, so cameras will be disabled throughout and audio and Q&A privileges will only be enabled before and after the performance.

     
  2. To protect all participants and the actors, be advised that those who abuse Zoom functions or become a distraction will be dismissed from the Zoom spaces.

     
  3. The show is a livestream, but the actors appear safely in individual Zoom boxes. Through the talents of Red Bull’s production team, there is a beautiful and cohesive aesthetic created that unifies the actors through backgrounds, sound, props, and costume. Enjoy the innovative theater magic!

     
  4. The cast is made-up of a 5-member ensemble. Besides the actors playing Juliet and Romeo, the other 3 actors double, triple, and quadruple roles. The script is the original Shakespearean text but cut from “two-hours traffic of our stage” to just 1 hour.

     
  5. The performance is a webinar, so each viewer’s microphone and camera will be auto-disabled (except when adjusted by the host– which will happen during the warm-up and talkback).  

We can’t wait to see you there!  

How to Get a Student ID Card

If you are an active MA student and you want a student ID card, but live at a distance from the campus, here is what you do:

Using your @mercy.edu email account, send a photo of your face along with your full first name, last name, and college ID number (your eight-digit CWID number) to Jamie Funigiello at: JFunigiello@mercy.edu

Full photo guidelines are:

  • Submit a color photo of just your face taken in last 6 months
  • Have someone else take your photo – no selfies
  • Submit a high-resolution photo that is not blurry, grainy, or pixelated
  • Use a clear and unedited image of your face; do not use filters such as those commonly used on social media
  • Face the camera directly with full face in view
  • Have a neutral facial expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open
  • Use a plain white or off-white background

Let Jamie know in your email that you are a distance-learning graduate student in the MA English Lit program and that you would like a student ID card. He will explain the process further and get you the ID card.

Student ID cards can be useful for securing discounts at various places, and will usually get you access to other university and college libraries in your area that would be otherwise inaccessible.

Survey – What do you think of our courses? What courses do you want to see scheduled?

Please complete the survey linked here to provide us with feedback about the MA program’s course offerings (and about a few other curriculum topics). Your responses will let us know what courses we should run in 2021 and beyond.

In case the hyperlink above doesn’t work for you, you can copy and paste the URL below into your browser’s address bar:

https://forms.gle/3AZD1VTryCmJnsUw8

ENGL 500: How to Get a Seat in the course, And who must Get a seat

ENGL 500 is one of two courses that everyone in the program must take (599 Master’s Thesis is the other one). The course runs once each year, in the fall semester. We reserve seats in the course for students who are on schedule to graduate that fall, the following spring, or the following summer. Anyone who will be in the program beyond that point will be eligible for the course the next time it comes around. So, everyone currently in the program who is on-schedule to graduate in fall 2020, spring 2021, or summer 2021, and who has not already taken ENGL 500, must take the course this fall 2020. The good news is, everyone who meets that criteria will get a seat, without fail, in the course. The bad news (or just annoying news) is that in order to get the seat, I have to give you a permit in our computer system. In order to get a permit, you need to write to me at cloots@mercy.edu. If anyone is unsure about their time-to-degree, or has any questions, please also write to me at cloots@mercy.edu.

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.

Approaching your final semester? Time to prepare for the 599 Tutorial

For anyone whose final semester in the program will be spring 2020, now is the time to start sorting out your 599 Master’s Thesis tutorial situation (if you have not already).

You don’t enroll in the 599 course as you do any other course in the program. You can read up on the process for getting into the 599 tutorial here on the blog. In the time between your penultimate and final semester (so in this case, sometime during the first few weeks of January) you will also need to complete the program’s comprehensive exam. You can read up on the comp exam here on the blog.

If after reading those two posts anyone approaching their final semester has any questions about the 599 tutorial or the comp exam, or needs help securing a 599 thesis mentor, let me know at cloots@mercy.edu.

Book Orders for Fall Courses

Below is a list-in-progress of books required for your fall courses. I will update this throughout the summer whenever I get new book info from the different professors. Your professors will eventually provide their official book orders to the college bookstore but the bookstore only lists the titles, doesn’t reveal information such as edition, ISBN, etc. They do this purposefully I think to try and force you to purchase the books through them. But with the info below you can purchase your books anywhere. Keep in mind that while many of the books below will be expensive if purchased new, you can purchase most of them used for cheap (I use Alibris.com). If you prefer to purchase new books I encourage you to first check into Powell’s or a local bookstore before you purchase from Amazon. You can also check many of these out from a library, if that works better for you.

ENGL 500 Theory
  • Leitch, Vincent B., et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 3rd ed. Norton, 2018. ISBN: 978-0393602951.
ENGL 509 Perspectives on the Essay

One book is required for the 509 course:

  • Jameson, Leslie, and Robert Atwan, editors. Best American Essays 2017. Best American Paper, 2017. ISBN: 054481733.

A recommended (but not required) book that Dr. Keckler suggests as a complement to the required reading is The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, by Phillip Lopate (ISBN 038542339X).

ENGL 521 Themes and Genres of Medieval Lit
  • Black, Joseph, et al, editors. The Broadview Anthology of British Literature Volume 1: The Medieval Period. 3rd edition, Broadway Press, 2014. ISBN 9781554812028.
ENGL 540 Magic in Lit
  • Aromatico, Andrea. Alchemy: The Great Secret. Translated by Jack Hawkes, Harry N. Abrams, 2000. ISBN: 0810928892.
  • Hesiod. Theogony & Works and Days. Translated by M. L. West. Oxford UP, 1991. ISBN: 9780192817884.
  • Hoffmann, E. T. A. The Golden Pot and Other Tales. Translated by Ritchie Robinson. Oxford UP, 1991. ISBN: 0199552479.
  • Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Scholastic, 1997. ISBN: 0439708184.
  • Sax, Boria. Imaginary Animals: The Monstrous, the Wondrous and the Human. Reaktion Books, 2013. ISBN: 9781780231730.
  • Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Penguin, 2000. ISBN: 9780140714890.
  • Yates, Frances, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. New York: Routledge, 2003. ISBN: 0415254094.
ENGL 545 Lit of the Left Bank Paris

PDFs of many shorter or out of print works will be provided. These will include works by Nancy Cunard, Hilda Doolittle, Richard Wright, Edith Wharton, Frantz Fanon, Zelda Fitzgerald, Janet Flanner, James Baldwin, James Joyce, and Henry Crowder. Students will be required to secure the following books:

  • Baldwin, James. Giovanni’s Room. Vintage, 2013. ISBN: 0345806565. (Or any version will do)
  • Benstock, Shari. Women of the Left Bank: Paris, 1900-1940. U of Texas Press, 1987. ISBN: 0292790406.
  • Breton, Andre. Nadja. Grove Press, 1994. Translated by Richard Howard. ISBN: 0802150268. (Or any version will do)
  • Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. Scribner’s. Either edition will do, the original version (ISBN 9780684824994) or the newer “restored” edition (ISBN 9781439182710).
  • Loy, Mina. The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. ISBN: 0374525072.
  • Stein, Gertrude. Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein. Vintage, 1990. ISBN: 0679724648. (We’ll specifically be studying The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas within this collection but everything in here is wondrous).
ENGL 560 Contemporary Slave Narratives

PDFs of supplemental scholarly articles will be provided in Blackboard. The following books/films will need to be secured by students:

  • Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. (This is available for free online here: https://english.hku.hk/staff/kjohnson/PDF/JacobsINCIDENTS1861.pdf; if students want a paper copy, it’s very important to buy this particular edition: ISBN 1503277941).
  • McQueen, Steve (director). 12 Years a Slave. (2013 film; ASIN: B00G4Q3KOC)
  • Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave. (This is available for free online here: http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/slavery/Twelve_years_a_slave.pdf); if students want a paper copy, it’s very important to buy this particular edition: ISBN 1631680021).
  • Tademy, Lalita. Cane River. ISBN 0446615889
  • Tarantino, Quentin (director). Django Unchained. (2012 film; ASIN: B016YVJUJU)
  • Williams, Sherley Anne. Dessa Rose. ISBN 0062011251.

Anyone on schedule to graduate Before Fall 2020 Take Note

Just a reminder that anyone who plans to graduate before fall 2020 (so whose last semester will be fall 2019, spring 2020, or summer 2020) must complete the ENGL 500 Theory course this coming fall, if you have not already completed it. Enrollment is locked for the course in order to reserve all seats for students who must have the course this fall to graduate on schedule. Because everyone moves at their own pace toward the degree, and because students might opt to take a lighter/heavier courseload during any particular semester or opt to take summer courses (or not), we ultimately need each of you to self-identify if you plan to graduate prior to fall 2020. If you do, then claim a seat in the fall 2019 instance of the course by writing to cloots@mercy.edu. Anyone graduating between fall 2020 and fall 2021 is guaranteed a seat in the fall 2020 instance of the course.