Spring 2021 Course Offerings And Registration Info

UPDATE 11/4: Registration for spring is now open. Courses are already filling up. Once a course is full we won’t consider opening additional seats in it unless all of the other courses fill. Please understand: Each semester the MA program must run a balanced schedule that tends to the various requirements for the degree, and we must balance enrollment across the schedule in order for each course to remain viable and open. As well, we set the course caps at the point where graduate courses should ideally be; and adding students beyond those caps risks over-crowding each classroom and diminishing the learning experience. So please, if you are intent on getting into particular courses this spring, register as soon as possible.

The graduate English schedule for the spring is:

  • ENGL 507 Narrative Strategies in the Novel (Dr. Fritz)

This course studies the novel and various narrative methods used in the novel over the centuries and across the British and American traditions. 3 credits. (Fulfills either the Writing & Literary Forms field requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 514 Hemingway/Modern Cryptography (Dr. Loots)

This course follows Ernest Hemingway, through his writings, from his early days in Paris to his final moments in Ketchum, Idaho. Readings will include many of his major novels and short stories, and some non-fiction. By exploring Hemingway’s travels and writings we will experience through his eyes the rise of modernity; the unprecedented way that the world changed forever in the early twentieth century; and the relationship of modern literature and art to modernity. We will as well consider the interrelated effects of Hemingway’s self-engineered celebrity status—as the rugged bearded “macho” world traveler—which coincided precisely with the rise of modern media technology, and exceeded his literary fame even within his lifetime. And we will consider how Hemingway’s groundbreaking style exemplifies a type of modernist code, requiring of us delicate work to interpret/intuit what secrets and subtle meanings weave through the writings of this giant of 20th-century American literature, arguably the most influential American writer of all time. (Fulfills an elective by default or, upon request, can fulfill a Literature Group 2 field requirement).

  • ENGL 515 Fairy Tales (Dr Sax)

This course looks at the discovery, history, intellectual interpretation, and literary adaption of fairy tales. Such tales have been variously viewed as, among other things, a font of primeval wisdom, a guide to growing up, or a response to the stresses of modernity; and students will consider such views while exploring what else fairy tales might be, and why else fairy tales might exist. The semester will begin with a study of classic collections of fairy tales such as those of Perrault and Grimm; will examine permutations of fairy tales over time; and will conclude with a discussion of the continuing popularity of fairy tales in contemporary films such as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Universal Studios’ Shrek. (Fulfills an elective by default or, upon request, can fulfill a Literature Group 1 field requirement.)

  • ENGL 540 Irish Literature (Dr. Dugan)

This course explore themes prevalent to Irish identity, such as nationalism, rebellion, social class, religion, oppression, gender, and family, among others, by close textual analysis of drama, poetry, fiction, and mythology. The materials will be chronologically arranged, allowing for the study of historical events and cultural influences that shaped the literature of Ireland. Readings will most likely be: Elizabeth Bowen The Last September, Maira Edgeworth Castle Rackrent, Ann Enright The Gathering, Biran Friel Dancing at Lughnasa, Seamus Heaney Opened Ground, stories from James Joyce Dubliners, Bram Stoker Dracula, J.M. Synge Playboy of the Western World, as well as Jonathan Swift “A Modest Proposal” and selected poems of W.B. Yeats. (Fulfills a Literature Group 1 field requirement or an elective.)

  • ENGL 546 Working Women in the US: 1865 to Present (Dr. Gogol)

This course examines writings about working women from the post-Civil War era to the present. We will review key changes in the American work force, and social, economic, and racial factors since 1865, with attention to movements leading up to changes in the second half of the 19th century. In this multi-genre course, we will read literature (fiction, short stories, poetry, memoirs, biographies, and essays) to help us deconstruct the definitions of “women,” “working,” and “The United States” from the Civil War era to present writings about the millennial generation. We will inquire into the shifting definitions of the term “gender.” We will start with gender as a concept, a social construction reflecting differentials of power and opportunity, breaking what the feminist writer Tillie Olsen calls the “habits of a lifetime.” An important goal of the course is for students to know the literature, history, and benchmarks of major events in the lives of women. 3 credits. (Fulfills a Literature Group 2 field requirement or 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 a Literature Group 2 field requirement or an elective.)

Any questions, write to cloots@mercy.edu. Book orders for these classes will be provided later in a different blog post.

Call for Creative Writing Submissions: Red Hyacinth Journal of Mercy College

Creative writers take note: the Red Hyacinth literary journal of Mercy College is currently accepting submissions for publication-consideration for the 2020-21 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 to submit something for consideration. You can submit fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and artwork/media of any printable sort. The deadline for submissions is November 15! Submissions guidelines and instructions can be found on the journal site, linked here. Note that the dates on that site need to be updated and will be soon, as soon as the student-editor group gets on it. All of the other submission info is accurate except for the dates.

Welcome to the 2020-21 Academic Year

Welcome, graduate students in the MA English Literature Program, to the 2020-21 academic year. Hopefully by now you have settled into your courses, have secured your books, and are already finding yourselves exploring interesting paths alongside your peers and professors in each of your courses. In any normal semester I would wish mostly for your graduate studies to provide you with keen and interesting challenges into which to focus your mental and creative energies. This September, though, I hope as well that your studies bring some sense of health, balance, and of supportive community to your lives.

Strange Days Indeed.

When the pandemic erupted in the States back in March and April, our MA program was among the few in the world that experienced no technical disruption due to us already being fully actualized in cyberspace (or in the metaverse for you Neal Stephenson fans). As academic programs around the world scrambled to shift online, we were already all there together deep in our collective studies. But being academically positioned to weather the tempest proved cold comfort to those here experiencing havoc in your lives, I know; I know because I heard your stories. Some here were deemed essential workers and so had to carry on armored in PPE and the slim hope that the PPE would actually matter. Some here fell ill or were suddenly caring for others who fell ill. Some here lost jobs. Some here even lost homes. And still, you were expected to keep reading, thinking, writing, conversing, and striving with your graduate work. As much as you could, if you were in the MA program at the time, we know you did.

Five months later, our science has made some headway and we are somewhat better informed and equipped to weather the COVID storm. But still, so much remains in jeopardy, so much remains unknown, and I know that many here in our MA program are still at risk and suffering in so many ways. Uncertainty can be healthy in many situations, but too much of it can leave us unbalanced and feeling like we’re perpetually reeling. And so again: I hope you are each finding that this return to your studies (whether after years or just a few summer weeks) is providing you with some succor from the pandemic in the world at large, as much as from whatever other struggles you might be experiencing as a result of the pandemic (or as a result of anything else).

We can make it be so for each other, this semester, and all throughout this academic year. We can make it so by watching out for each other in the classrooms; by being encouraging, responsive, supportive, and kind to each other (even if/when questioning the ideas or positions of each other). Each one of us has been through a lot this summer. So let us be good to each other here. Banded together as we are here by our love of literature, writing, story, idea, critical inquiry, and perhaps above all else by our sensitivity to and belief in the power of words, let us remember that all of these works and words we study in the grad program hum with the power to reveal, illuminate, inspire, preserve, even heal. Keep attentive, and attuned, to the possibilities.

On A Practical Note

The School of Liberal Arts “annual theme” this academic year is: Resilience. The theme is meant to conceptually unify the school and all of its various programs and students so that, even when working in our distinct classrooms, we might all feel ourselves a part of something bigger (a part of the School of Liberal Arts). Students might find the theme useful when, for example, coming up with term paper topics. The SLA will be holding virtual events throughout the year on the theme, starting with one being run by our own Dr. Boria Sax this October 6th from 1:30-2:30pm eastern: “The Resilience of Story.” Everyone is welcome. You can access the zoom event, on the appropriate day and time, by clicking here. The passcode is 501424, and the meeting ID for those who run zoom through the app is 834 874 3230. Please let me know if you plan to attend at cloots@mercy.edu. (If any of this event info changes I will update everyone who has responded to me.)

In recent years I’ve taken to sharing here in the annual welcome the assessment rubric we apply to the ENGL 599 thesis papers because the criteria in the rubric correspond to the program’s five “program outcomes,” which are the big-picture things we hope you are developing throughout your time the program. The criteria are also just the basic things all literature students should be working to address and improve in all of their scholarly papers, not just their final thesis paper. So I encourage everyone to download and look over the 599 rubric to see the sorts of things we look for and measure through it. The rubric and the outcomes and our 599 assessment practices are, if you’re curious, requirements for our college’s accreditation.

I also want to provide you with links to some of the resources available to graduate students here at Mercy College, as well as program info that everyone should keep in mind:

  • First, each of you have what’s called a PACT advisor. The PACT advisor for every graduate English student is currently Erika Tremblay at etremblay@mercy.edu. Also know that as the Program Director I am the faculty advisor to every graduate English student, so you can always contact me at cloots@mercy.edu.
  • Enrollment 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 (CAE) provides tutoring and other such assistance. The CAE provides assistance to our online students as much as to our on-campus students, so don’t hesitate to contact the center when working on papers for your MA courses. Sometimes your professor might even require that you contact the CAE to get help with your writing.
  • Mercy has extensive online library resources. All of you have already been or soon will be using these to some degree, as each course (except for Creative Writing) requires some form of research paper. JSTOR, Academic Search Premier, and MLA are the main databases for literary research, though there are others you’ll find in there. Additionally, Mercy 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.
  • 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.
  • For those hoping to enter the college teaching job market check out this post here where I introduce a variety of resources and information on that topic. If you’re going to be applying to anything in any academic field you’ll need to have your curriculum vitae (CV) polished up and also need to know the difference between a CV and a resume. I talk about that here.

Finally, note that registration for the spring semester will be coming around sooner than you might expect. There isn’t a date yet set for when it will begin, but it will probably happen sometime in mid to late October. I always post the registration-opening dates on the blog as soon as I learn them. 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 a few hours, and once they’re filled that’s usually it. We sometimes open an extra seat or two later but only if all of the other courses are getting near full. The spring schedule currently looks like this:

  • 507 Narrative Strategies in the Novel (Dr. Fritz)
  • 515 Fairy Tales (Dr. Sax)
  • 540 Irish Literature (Dr. Dugan)
  • 543 American Renaissance OR 560 Hemingway/Modern Cryptography (Dr. Loots)
  • 546 Working Women in the USA 1865 to Present (Dr. Gogol)
  • 5XX sixth course TBD

Okay! Off we go together into the fall semester and into the 2020-21 academic year. I wish you well in your studies, and in all things.

Preparing for the Fall

The fall semester begins on Wednesday, September 9. Now is the time to start thinking about the fall and making sure everything is in order with your schedules, books, and such. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare:

  • Check your fall schedule in Mercy Connect. Does it look as it should?
  • If this is to be your final semester in the program, have you gotten your ENGL 599 master’s thesis tutorial scheduled? (The process to register for it is different than for any other course, and you can learn all about it here on the blog.)
  • If you’re taking your 599 tutorial this fall, have you completed the comprehensive exam?

If the answer to any of the above is “no,” it’s time to get that sorted out. Contact cloots@mercy.edu for help. Here are some additional questions to consider in preparation for the fall:

  • Have you begun to secure any required books for your courses? (You can see books and ISBNs here on the blog.) Professors will expect students to have required books in-hand at the start of the semester.
  • Are you still on the waitlist for some courses? If so, are you still hoping for a seat in your waitlisted course(s), or are you satisfied with your existing schedule? If you are satisfied, please remove yourself from any waitlist(s) that you are on, so that we can have a clearer picture of who is still hoping for a seat in any of the courses. If you are still hoping for a seat in those courses, then remain on the waitlist. We will be opening up an extra seat or two in most courses in the next week or two.

As a final note: all Blackboard sections have become visible today/August 17th. This is ten days earlier than scheduled, and over three weeks prior to the start of the semester on 9/9. This early reveal will take almost all of your professors by surprise, as this decision was made just a few days ago (by the Provost’s Office) and most professors won’t see the memo or realize that their Blackboard sections have been revealed for some time. Many professors won’t have even started yet building their sections for the fall. Please note that professors have no contractual obligation to have their Blackboard sections in order until the first day of class, 9/9, and so before that day you might see Blackboard sections in any state of disarray. Please be patient, and know that when the semester actually begins, your Blackboard sections will be ready for you.

New Fall 2020 Course Option: “The Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter”

Next week or the week after, at the latest, another course will appear on the fall schedule, something brand new and just designed by Dr. Donald Morales. A few weeks ago we knew we were going to need a sixth course due to increase in enrollment. We wanted to run something new, unique to Mercy, something that spoke to the times; and in response Dr. Morales came up with the following. I hope you will find it interesting, exciting even, and will consider enrolling in it (and remember, you can switch in/out of courses without issue or problem, as you like, until the start of the semester):

ENGL 560 The Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter

“In the agony of his final moments, while crying out for his mama, water, and breath, George Floyd reached out to and became all of us. He has joined a vast community of people, across the globe, who see echoes of the injustices and the inequalities of their own societies in his American story and recognize their own torment in his suffering. Floyd’s seemingly unending death, in the midst of a pandemic that has disproportionately killed black, brown, and indigenous people, also underscores the fact that many of us are mourning and are uncertain about how long we ourselves will be able to breathe.”

–Edwidge Danticat, “So Brutal a Death,” New Yorker

“Black creativity emerges from long lines of innovative responses to the death and violence that plague our communities. ‘Not a house in the country ain’t packed to its rafters with some dead Negro’s grief,’ Toni Morrison wrote in Beloved, and I am interested in creative emergences from that ineluctable fact.

–Elizabeth Alexander, “The Trayvon Generation,” New Yorker

This new 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 defining movement ushering in profound change? In this class, through mostly non-fiction, we will look through the prism of literature at the origin and continued life of systemic racism in America; at how artists have responded and creatively documented it. The course will also expand beyond America and view the global response to the spring+summer of 2020 through works and articles from international writers.

Students will encounter works such as Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “A Case for Reparations,” W. E. B. Du Bois’ Souls of Black Folk, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Tayari Jones’ An American Marriage, Caryl Phillips’ A Distant Shore or Nature of Blood, Teju Cole’s Open City, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, August Wilson’s King Hedley, Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, Oladipo Agbouuaje’s The Hounding of David Oluwale, and Debbie Tucker Green’s ear for eye or random. Other or different works might be studied as well. The course will be supplemented with audio, video, and other media arising out of the events of this period. 3 credits. Fulfills a Literature Group 2 requirement or works as an elective.

Note: you can take this course even if you’ve taken an earlier course coded as 560. Multiple topics courses cycle under the course codes of 560, 540, 515, and 514, and students can take as many different courses running by these codes as they like.

Fall 2020 Books Orders (Updated Throughout the Summer)

Book orders for each class will eventually appear in the college’s online bookstore, but I know that many graduate students check here instead of the bookstore for this information; and anyway the bookstore usually charges a premium for books, so it’s best to buy books elsewhere. I recommend Powell’s for new books, and Alibris for used books (and overall I recommend buying used books rather than new; you can often secure a semester’s worth of books for relatively cheap if you look for used versions of them online). Below are the book orders for each of the fall classes (so far). Professors are still considering works and working on their courses, so consider this list a work in progress that will be updated throughout the summer as professors finalize their book orders.

  • ENGL 500: Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Leitch, Vincent B., et al, eds. 3rd ed. Norton, 2018. ISBN: 9780393602951.
  • ENGL 510: Theory and Practice of Expository Writing

Dr. Proszak plans to either link or provide PDFs of all materials and texts required for the course. She might eventually list some works in the bookstore but for the moment the plan is to keep the course material cost at or near zero.

  • ENGL 522: Humanism in Renaissance Texts

Much of the semester’s readings will be Open Education Resources. Other than that, students are required to secure one book for the class:

Kraye, Jill, editor. The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism. Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN: 0521436249.

  • ENGL 526: Modernism

Note that you can use other editions than these recommended ones. Also, Dr. Sax notes that, in particular, the Eliot poems and Joyce stories tend to be floating around the internet on different sites and in different forms, and these are fine to use. Descartes’ Discourse is out there too online, in different forms, for free.

Descartes, René. Discourse on Method and the Meditations. Trans., F. E. Sutcliffe. New York: Penguin, 1968. 0140442065

Eliot, T. S. The Waste Land, Prufrock, and Other Poems. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1998. ISBN: 0486400611.

Richard Humphreys, ed. Futurist Manifestos. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2001. ISBN: 9780878466276.

Joyce, James. Dubliners. New York: Dover, 1991. ISBN:  978-0486268705

Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Trans., Catherine Porter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1993. ISBN: 0674948394.

Lyotard, Jean-Francois. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota Press, 1984. ISBN: 0-8166-1173-4.

  • ENGL 541: Search for Identity in American Lit

Most of the semester readings you will be able to locate for free online, in one way or another. I will be providing PDFs of many shorter readings, as much as I am allowed to do. So although I am recommending the following anthology, purchasing it is not required. Those who plan to focus on American literature during their MA studies and beyond might consider investing in the anthology. Otherwise, you can succeed in the class without it.

Levine, Robert, et al., editors. The Norton Anthology of American Literature Shorter 9th Edition (Two Volume Set). W.W. Norton, 2017. ISBN: 9780393264517.

Other than that, everyone will need to secure a copy of the following novel, which we’ll be reading near the end of the semester (any edition will do, but I teach from the following):

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. ISBN: 0061120065.

  • ENGL 560: Literary Accretion of Black Lives Matter

Dr. Morales will provide shorter materials in the class when appropriate. Students are required to secure the following books:

Ralph Ellison. Invisible Man. ISBN-13: 978-0679732761

August Wilson. King Hedley. ISBN-13: 978-1559362603

Roy Williams. Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads. ISBN-13: 978-0713682823 (or the Kindle Edition: 2002)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Americanah. ISBN-13: 978-0307455925

Tayari Jones. An American Marriage. ISBN-13: 978-1616208684

debbie tucker green. ear for eye. ISBN-13: 978-1848427624 (author uses lower-case letters for her name and title)

Additional Fall 2020 Course Coming Soon

A sixth graduate literature course will be added soon, probably by the start of July, to the fall schedule. We schedule as many courses during each fall/spring semester as seems sustainable based on projected enrollment, and informed by the idea that most students take two courses each of these semesters. Our enrollment projections are rising, though, perhaps due to increased interest in well-established online graduate programs such as ours during this COVID-19 situation. Dr. Morales has responded to the call for an additional course offering and is working on something that we will schedule soon. Students currently enrolled in fall courses might find that the new course is more interesting than one of your current courses, and might want to switch. This is fine, as students can change their schedules, can freely add and drop classes as often as you like, up until the first day of any semester. As a finale note, preliminary book orders for the fall classes will be posted here on the blog near the start of July.

Year End Honors: Thesis of the Year, Howard Canaan Thesis Award, Program Honoree, Online Student of the Year

At the end of each school year the MA English Literature program and Mercy College overall award a number of distinctions to students and faculty. I would like to share the results of these here with our graduate program community.

One such college-wide distinction is the Mercy College Online Student of the Year, chosen from thousands of eligible students across all Mercy programs by a college-wide committee of faculty and administrators. The award bespeaks academic accomplishments both in the classroom and beyond. For the second year in a row that rare distinction has been awarded to one of our own, an MA English graduate student.

  • The winner of the 2020 Mercy College Online Student of the Year Award is Cornelius Fortune.

The MA program itself traditionally awards two annual distinctions: the Thesis of the Year award, and the Graduate English Christie Bowl (program honoree) award. This year we are introducing a third distinction which will become an annual practice: The Howard Canaan Thesis Award for Innovation. Before I get to sharing with you the names of the people recognized for these three awards, I want to introduce to you all who Howard Canaan was, and what this new award is about. The following is provided by Dr. Dugan, long-time colleague and friend of Howard:

Dr. Howard Canaan taught English literature at Mercy College for thirty-one years. During his tenure, he was an active scholar, engaged and innovative instructor, respected faculty leader, and a valued colleague. He was the faculty advisor for Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society. Dr. Canaan was one of the founding faculty members of Mercy’s online program, and taught successfully online and in-person at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Canaan’s areas of interest included Renaissance literature, speculative fiction, and satire. He wrote plays and epic poems that revealed his incisive wit and adroitness with the English language. With Dr. Joel Feimer (who founded the MA English Lit program), Howard co-authored Tales of Wonder from Many Lands: A Reader for Composition, adapted by Mercy College and other colleges and universities. Dr. Canaan’s legacy is one of commitment to students, a strong dedication to the value of English literature and the liberal arts, an insatiable curiosity, a generous spirit, and a belief that education can be transformative for the individual and for the society.

Howard passed away this April.

To honor him and what he stood for we in the MA program have done what small thing we can, and that is to create the Howard Canaan Thesis Award for Innovation. We will award this distinction annually to a thesis that does one or some of the following: approaches literary analysis in a unique, unexpected, or unusual way; reconsiders and otherwise treats with dignity genre fiction; or involves interdisciplinary studies.

  • The winner of the 2020 Howard Canaan Thesis Award for Innovation is Jana Enderle for her thesis “Song of Silence: The Role of Silence in the Decline of the Harry/Falstaff Relationship in 2 Henry VI.

Not surprisingly we had numerous theses submitted during the summer and fall 2019, and spring 2020, that had an innovative approach or otherwise spoke to this award’s criteria. Selecting one study from this group was extraordinarily difficult as all such theses were excellent and worthy in their own right. The same was the case for determining the other thesis award that the MA program recognizes, the overall Thesis of the Year. All theses written during the summer and fall 2019, and spring 2020, were eligible and considered for this distinction. The final paper was selected by a panel of faculty with no students’ papers in the running.

  • The winner of the 2020 Thesis of the Year award is Cecily Van Cleave for her paper: “Feminist Themes in North and South and The Mill on the Floss.”

The panels for these distinctions would like to recognize and applaud the quality of all theses written during the past school year.

The third distinction that the MA program awards each year is the Graduate English Christie Bowl, named for the late Joannes Christie who established and long chaired Mercy College’s English Program. The award, determined by the collective graduate faculty, recognizes one graduating student for their consistent academic excellence and classroom performance throughout their time in the graduate program, their other contributions to the program’s scholarly learning community, and their relevant accomplishments beyond the program (e.g. publications, presentations at conferences).

  • The winner of the 2020 Graduate English Christie Bowl is Cornelius Fortune.

Lastly, Mercy College annually recognizes one faculty member from across all programs at the college for the Online Instructor of the Year award. The person so recognized for this distinction is chosen from hundreds of instructors by a college-wide committee of faculty and administrators. We’re happy to announce that one of our own has been recognized this year for his excellence.

  • The winner of the 2020 Mercy College Online Instructor of the Year award is Dr. Sean Dugan.

It is always a strange thing to announce such distinctions as when doing so one can’t help but think of the marvelous students and studies that are not the ones named. It is extraordinarily difficult to locate any single person to honor for any of these awards out of the many exceptional students graduating each school year from our program and the college overall. So as we recognize these honorees let us please also recognize all members of the graduating MA class of 2019-20 for their hard work and dedication that has gotten them to this moment of completing their MA degree in English Literature. Congratulations, everyone. Here’s to the end of one of the strangest school years in memory, here’s to the summer ahead, and here’s to the eventual end of this coronavirus pandemic, let us hope soon.

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:


Teaching Assistants (Blackboard English Assistants) for Summer 2020

Starting this summer, and hopefully continuing each semester thereafter, we will be implementing a Teaching Assistant feature in the MA English program. Because the term “Teaching Assistant” is already a technical term at Mercy College with a number of implications and requirements and duties that are different than what we’re implementing here, we are going to differentiate this by calling what we’re implementing here a “Blackboard English Assistantship” (BEA).

BEAs will be placed inside of online undergraduate English composition classrooms to assist the instructor of record. You can read more about the BEA requirements, procedures, and responsibilities in the PDF linked here.

At this point we expect to be able to fund two BEAs with a $500 stipend, each, this summer. Each BEA would be responsible for assisting in one class this summer (the semester runs from May 27 through August 4).

Experience as an assistant inside of a college classroom can be a valuable line-item in a curriculum vitae. And assisting in a classroom will provide a first-hand look at how an actual college composition course unfolds over a semester. If the interest in BEA opportunities exceeds what we are able to fund, we will consider offering additional unfunded BEA positions to those seeking the experience.

Anyone interested in applying for a BEA for summer 2020 must email the following materials before the end of May 10 to the Program Director at cloots@mercy.edu:

  1. Resume
  2. A recommendation from any MA faculty (This does not have to be a formal letter. It can just be a brief email from the faculty member expressing their support. You can forward that email to the Program Director)
  3. A short statement of purposes, just a paragraph or two (between 200 and 400 words) expressing why you are interested in being a Blackboard English Assistant in a Mercy classroom
  4. The completed activity linked here.

This current application cycle is only for summer 2020. We will put up a call for fall 2020 BEA applications later, during the summer, once we are clearer on what funding we will be able to provide. Please send any questions to cloots@mercy.edu. Thank you.




This is the director's blog for the Mercy College MA in English Literature Program. This is not the official College site. The purpose of this is to share news and other information to help MA graduate students stay current with the state of the program and navigate the MA degree. Students in the program should check here regularly to learn about upcoming registration periods, course schedules, and other news.