Tag Archives: MA Program

Getting To Know You: A Quick Conversation w/ MA student Josh Bovee

Are you local to the area? Where you from?  Why Albany?

I am not local. I am from Johnstown New York, a very small town about 45 minutes outside of Albany. Really I chose Albany because it is a reasonable commute between there and Johnstown and I’m able to keep my tutoring job at FMCC while attending classes.

Why a Master’s Degree in English? 

I’m getting a Master’s Degree in English for the simple fact that I love to read and write. So I guess through Master’s study I’d like to become not only a better reader and writer but a more persistent one and ultimately a more serious one.

Who is your favorite author?

This changes all the time, but for the moment I would have to say William Faulkner.

What do you hope to accomplish by the time you graduate?

I would like to become a better speaker. I still have a tremendous fear of public speaking which for some odd reason is heightened all the more by being in a classroom. This is not a good thing for someone who eventually wants to teach! So hopefully I can get past that and learn to speak clearly and coherently in front of an audience!

What are your long-term goals for your degree?

I would like to teach English at a community college. I went to Fulton-Montgomery Community College when I got out of high school and it was the best decision I ever made. I would have failed miserably if I had gone straight to a four-year college. I now work as a tutor at FMCC and I work with students who have the intelligence to succeed in the higher education system but for various reasons require smaller and more hands on learning in-order for them to develop. Community colleges offer this to those students and I would like to be a part of it.

What was the last good book you’ve read?

I recently read the Zuckerman Bound Trilogy by Philip Roth and loved every bit of it.

Josh Bovee

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The Financial Value of a Liberal Arts Degree

For those of us with college and graduate level degrees in the humanities, like an English degree, we know how difficult it is to defend our choice. There is a prevailing assumption that there are no jobs for humanities graduates; four or more years have been wasted on an education that has no practical use in the job market. But those assumptions are starting to change due to new reports comparing earnings over the length of a career with degrees and majors.

“How Liberal-Arts Majors Fare Over the Long Haul”, an article posted online in The Chronicle of Higher Education, cites a report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities that finds graduates’ earnings with various degrees in the humanities, based on salaries over the course of a career, are on the same level as graduates with professional degrees.

“How Liberal-Arts Majors Fare Over the Long Haul” also points out that the level of education matters. Humanities graduates directly out of college, in 2010 and 2011, earned an average of $26,271 and increasing to $66,185 at peak earning age. While humanities graduates with only a bachelor’s degree start out earning less that graduates in fields like engineering, the report finds that humanities graduates that also earn a master’s degree see a significant increase in annual earnings, “median annual earnings rise of $19,550” according to the report.

As the report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities shows, the prospective job market for humanities majors is not so bleak after all. We English majors can carry our theory books, poetry volumes, and our own half-written novels knowing that all our hard work is worthwhile.

By Rachel Simonds

How to Have Fun Writing an Advanced Project

Every English MA student is aware of the Advanced Project that will come at the end of their graduate education at The College of Saint Rose. At times it can seem like an elusive and overwhelming paper, but one that you feel assured you will be ready to conquer when the time comes. However, there is also an instinctive feeling that this will be different from any other literary research you have ever completed. This is all true and also the reason why it’s important to go into the Advanced Project feeling prepared and confident.

You can find all the technical requirements for the Advanced Project in the English Graduate Handbook. If you click on the link below, you can download a PDF of the handbook, which is located in the column on the right-hand side of the screen:

ENGLISH MA PROGRAM

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The purpose of this blog post is to provide tips and suggestions that you won’t find in the handbook. The following are reflections from my own experience writing an Advanced Project this semester. I’m in the final stages of my work and have developed a healthy (I hope) obsession with my project, so now seems like the right time to share what I have learned. It has been the best academic experience of my life and although the work was arduous, I always felt it was well worth it.

I recently interviewed Genevieve Aldi, a graduate of the English MA program, and she had this to say about her experience: “I really enjoyed working on my Advanced Project and having an entire semester to work on a paper, to read about a topic, and to research and develop my thinking about it. I loved having the time to write and rewrite, and to revise and rethink ideas over a period of months. It really gave me the chance to focus on an area of interest in a deep and critical way.” My experience has been very similar to Genevieve’s and this is due to a few different factors, all of which contributed to my excitement as opposed to angst when tackling this project. I want to share the following insight in the hopes that other graduate students may also have a positive and enriching experience writing their Advanced Project.

It is vital to choose a topic that moves you in some way. This project, if done correctly, will consume a great deal of time and energy. It is absolutely manageable if the subject is important to you or if it is a topic that you have a genuine interest in exploring. Look back at your best literary research papers and ask yourself these questions:ap blog post-tea cup pic

*Did I wish for more time and/or space to go further with this research or textual analysis?

*Was I being told to simplify a concept that I felt compelled to link with other relevant aspects within the text?

*Did I think about this paper after it was submitted, wanting to add to or enhance it in some way?

*Is this an issue that I have a passion for, or at the very least, a strong interest in? Basically, am I going to grow tired of thinking/researching/writing about this topic?

*Do I have a unique idea or “risky” approach that the time and space of an Advanced Project allows for?

Picking the ‘right’ readers is secondary in importance to choosing your topic. However, you don’t need to have a decision about your topic before you approach potential readers. In fact, many times the professors whom you discuss your project with are helpful in guiding you toward an exciting direction. The handbook recommends that you pick readers who are experts in the field of study you will focus on. While this is obviously very helpful and should be prioritized, it is not essential. There are a few reasons why this may not be possible. Perhaps you choose a topic that lies within no known area of expertise, or the professor that would be a good match is on leave, not available, etc. If you must abandon an expertise match-up, then try to find an expert on the text you wish to interrogate or incorporate some reader-specific knowledge into your project that will be sure to enhance it. Your readers are your guides and the more they know about the subject you are studying, the easier it will be for them to direct your research and your writing.

Aside from area of expertise, it is extremely important that you trust your readers. It will be frustrating for all parties involved if you question or doubt every suggestion that is given. Stand firm in the aspects of your project you believe are important, but be flexible and have confidence in your readers’ abilities; it’s the reason you chose them. It is best if your readers have knowledge of your learning style and have exhibited an understanding about the ways you work best. In addition, it is helpful if your readers are your ideological equals. If you don’t see the world in a similar way, it is likely that you will conflict over the interpretation of your chosen text.

Once you have narrowed down a few professors that may be appropriate readers for your Advanced Project, send out emails individually. In the body of the email briefly describe- in one paragraph-your ideas and why you think this professor may be a good fit as a reader. Ask for a meeting to discuss this further. Arrive at the meeting prepared to engage in a sophisticated discussion of your thoughts. Also, be prepared for the professor to direct you toward another member of the faculty that could be a more appropriate reader for your project. Talk to as many people as you can, because it’s always productive to explore your ideas as much as possible. In addition, getting feedback from various perspectives may provide insight about an aspect of your project that was not initially obvious to you.

Determining the exact roles that your readers will play in the development and completion of your project should be a collaborative experience. Typically, you choose a first and a second reader. The first reader tends to be more involved and he/she will be the first to sign off on your proposal and finished product. The role of the second reader is a little more ambiguous and tends to depend upon the individual situation. Meet with your readers early on and establish the expectations for your work: the timeline of the project, agreed upon deadlines, and level of involvement.

Once the plan is clear and you know what topic to pursue, it’s time to write a research proposal. This typically requires multiple drafts and again, it’s important to discuss expectations for the proposal with your readers ahead of time. Your proposal must be accepted the semester prior to writing the Advanced Project. If you are unsure of how to write a research proposal, call the writing center at: 454-5299, to set up an appointment. The staff members at the writing center are more than happy to assist with any aspect of the writing process.

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Start everything (reading, researching, free-writing) as early as possible. For me, the most exciting aspect of my project is the historical context that I uncovered. It is startling how imperative this dynamic to literary analysis can be, as it completely changed the way I saw the novel I was working with, the characters, and the author’s intent. I recommend a frame of mind in which you imagine yourself creating a project that represents the culmination of your graduate work and most importantly, something you can truly be proud of. Work hard and constantly re-evaluate and re-examine your approach, your argument, and your rhetoric. Ask yourself: is this the project I wanted to complete when I started out? If the answer is ‘no,’ then keep working. While your Advanced Project may change dramatically from its inception, be sure that you are staying true to the reason you chose this topic in particular. It may just be that you haven’t gotten ‘there’ yet.  Finally and definitely the most important thing to remember: Believe in Yourself.  Others will follow suit, but only if you lead the way.

*All images retrieved from photobucket.com

Alumni Update: Genevieve Aldi

Genevieve Aldi graduated from the English Master of Arts program in the Spring of 2013, but luckily for us she never left the The College of Saint Rose community.  GA blog post pic

She is currently teaching an undergraduate English course and describes the transition from student to professor as “a strange and awesome experience…to have had professors who are now colleagues, to be imparting information rather than absorbing it.” Genevieve is also a professional tutor at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, where she works on an individual basis with students to assist with the writing process.

All of this professional work still leaves time to pursue some creative interests and long-term career goals, as Genevieve explains, “I’m also working on a number of personal writing projects. I’ve started a blog about my attempt to get healthier in terms of eating/exercise. I also have some fiction and plays in process. My next goal is to have some of my academic and creative work published.”

When asked how her experience at Saint Rose helped contribute to her success, Genevieve replies:

“I have developed and improved so much as a reader, writer, thinker and speaker as a result of my MA program. One of the greatest benefits in terms of my current teaching/tutoring career was being encouraged to examine my own processes of reading, analysis, and writing, which gave me a lot of tools to pass on to students.”

Presenting a literary research paper at a conference is one of the many opportunities that graduate students are encouraged to take advantage of during their time at Saint Rose and the faculty are more than happy to assist with this process. Genevieve describes her experience:

“I also enjoyed presenting at conferences while at St. Rose. It was great to share my ideas, and also to hear ideas from others doing work at a similar level. I came from each conference with a ton of new ideas to explore, books and resources to read, and new ways to approach concepts.”

On a final note, Genevieve acknowledges the English faculty for their dedication and insight:

“The professors in St. Rose’s English dept. are exceptional in my opinion. They all so clearly care about teaching and I learned so much from every one of them. Standout courses for me would be Imaginative Writing with Barbara Ungar, because it reignited a lost passion for and a desire to pursue creative writing (also, a play that I first drafted in this class ended up being performed in a staged reading!); Lit Theory with David Morrow because it was the inspiration for my advanced project; and Kim Middleton’s Contemporary Narrative because the literature was so rich and complex and it opened my mind to perspectives about the malleability of ‘truth’ and ‘reality.'”

Calling One and All: Fall Submission Opportunities

Before the semester gets too hectic, check out these opportunities to submit your literary research papers for consideration at conferences, journals, and other exciting forums!

Conference:

The ACLA Seminar “Things Theory: Accumulation and Amassment” will be held at New York University, March 20-23, 2014. “Thing Theory” considers the current fascination with hoarding and the intervention this phenomenon may have in a literary and cultural context. Papers may focus on “figures defined by their attachment to things” (fetishists, collectors, etc.). For more information visit: http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/53118

Journals:

The Cultural Studies Journal is looking for papers that explore the relationship between technological changes, cultural shifts, and structures of economic and political power. The deadline to submit an abstract is December 1, 2013. For more information: http://culturalstudiesjournal.gmu.edu/submissions/submission-guidelines/

The Cine-Files is accepting papers for their Spring 2014 issue. The topics of interest are: film performance and how it relates to genre, cinephilia, and paradigm shifts in the digital age. The submission deadline for a paper is February 1, 2014. If you would like to send an abstract for approval, the deadline is December 1, 2013. For more information: http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/53122

Anthology:

“Exploring Gender Identities in the Literature of the Indian Diaspora”. The editors of this anthology are interested in literary research papers that focus on “the tensions created by changing sexual roles and expectations” for members of the Indian diaspora. The deadline for submitting an abstract is November 15, 2013. Articles are due by January 30, 2014. For more information: http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/53132

Proposal:

“New Horizons for Contemporary Writing”. The editors of this series of research monographs are looking for proposals that implement alternative critical models, which represent the paradigm shift of “redefinition”. Applicable topics include: Eco-criticism; World Literature; Legacies of Theory; Post-feminism; Human, animal, machine; The return of the real; History, memory, and temporality; Science and the humanities; Contemporary literature after postmodernism and/or postcolonialism; Contemporary formations of the body; Translation in a transcultural context; Fictions of democracy; The future of the novel; Visuality and narrative; Newness in a global age; Post-ethnicity; Voice, ventriloquism, and mutism. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2014. For more information:  http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/53131

 Keep checking the English blog for regular updates. In addition, all of the MANY opportunities to submit your work can be found at:

http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/category/all

Saint Rose Theatre Festival: Call for Entries!

Here is a message from the Saint Rose Theatre Festival Director Chris Lovell:

“I have always had a passion for theatre as you know, and last year I saw an idea I had for a while come to the stage. I started the Saint Rose Theatre Festival last year and it was a lot of fun for everyone. It was a one-night engagement of staged readings. All of the scenes performed were written by Saint Rose students in the graduate play script course. The scenes ranged from a conversation between a radio host and his producer to a unbelievably ignorant couple having dinner in a restaurant. This year, I will have opened up the festival for all Saint Rose students to submit scenes for consideration. Scenes can be submitted electronically via the festival’s website (www.theatrefestival.info) up until Friday, December 14th at 11:59PM. The festival is expanding to an entire weekend for performances, giving a better opportunity for the community to see the great work of Saint Rose students on stage.

College is a time of exploration. So many opportunities appear for students to explore the world around them and to find something they are truly passionate about. How many people do you know that have the opportunity to write something and then see it performed on stage in front of an audience or be an actor in a world premiere? That is what the Saint Rose Theatre Festival is all about, providing a creative outlet for new and exciting materials for anyone to see. It is a create outlet, not only for writers and actors, but it allows for others to be creative. Check out the logo for the festival that was designed by a 2012 Saint Rose Graduate!

Any student that is interested can submit a piece to be considered for production during the festival. Submissions can cover any topic a student is interested, and the piece may be of any theatrical genre with the exception of musical theatre.”

Submissions must follow the formatting guidelines posted on the festival’s website (PDF can be found here).

Graduate Course Descriptions Spring 2013

ENG 532 – Love & Marriage in 18th C. Comedy
Butler
Thursday 6:15-8:30
Readings in representative writers of the period, including Swift, Pope, Johnson, Sheridan, Radcliffe. Some discussion of historical contexts.

ENG 541 – Native American Literature
Rice
Monday 6:15-8:55
Critical reading and discussion of a variety of Native American texts from oral and written traditions. Readings will be situated in a variety of cultural contexts, ranging from Columbian contact to contemporary popular culture. Applicable critical lenses may be employed in student reading and research, including postcolonial, poststructural and emerging Native American critical theory. Writers studied will vary and may include transcriptions of oral texts as well as twentieth- century writers like Zitkala-Sa, McNickle, Momaday, Silko, Young Bear, Erdrich, Ortiz, Harjo, and Alexie. Fulfills a theory requirement.

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