follow-up to my intro to doctoral studies bleg, pt. iii

Since Kelly and others were so generous with their comments, here’s a preview to the course-blog I’ll be running for my ENGL 7390 Intro to Doctoral class.  I’ve got 23 students registered, with people from Creative Writing and Literature, Literary Studies, and Rhet/Comp PhD programs or concentrations.

Weirdly enough, as it stands, there are practically no “literary” readings in this, but quite a bit of institutional history, and lots of opportunities for students  to pursue their specialties in their own research and writing.  If anything interesting drops out of discussion, I’ll report back.

Thanks for your suggestions and advice.  The blog will be closed down to outside traffic by Monday.


2 responses to “follow-up to my intro to doctoral studies bleg, pt. iii

  1. What a great course–wish we’d gotten this kind of professional “what is the job really” information back when I was in grad school.

    One thing I realized belatedly is how much institutional business faculty do–what we sometimes lump under service or committee work–but for which I wasn’t really prepared. And part of what I wasn’t prepared for was how fulfilling SOME of it could be. The small taste I got in grad school was as a member of a feminist faculty-grad student group, called for reasons I won’t explain the Feminist FRA. At first I mostly noticed that we had a working-papers conference a couple times a year where both faculty and grads shared work and that provided lunch in the Women’s Studies building. As I got more involved, you could be on the committee that prepared and ran the “conference,” and we started publishing an in-house working-papers publication. We also held a “feminist pedagogy” conference. It was working on the publication committee and the Pedagogy Conference committee that gave me some practice actually doing admin/committee work. Here of course it’s less clearly connected to scholarship–but it’s a whole aspect of the job of running basically a non-profit institution I hadn’t realized we did. And of course some folks find their way into academic admin or even admin as a career move part-time or full-time. Just something to think about.

    Second short (and funny story): In our first-year ProSeminar, we were encouraged to attend the MLA which was within driving distance. So I went–but I developed such a bad cold that I lost my voice and was completely unable to speak for the 3 days of the conference. My theory is that I was so terrified that I’d say something stupid that my unconscious just took over. Anyway, some good preparation for the MLA and knowing that it’s ok to just listen a while might help newbies.

  2. Dave Mazella

    Thanks, Miriam. I certainly didn’t receive anything like this before my graduate time, either, but I’d had some experiences, like an internship at a literary magazine, and a temporary assistant’s gig at Cambridge UP, that turned out to be important for me. In our departmental discussions of grad curriculum, arguments tend to fall either into How It Was Done to Me, or What I Wished They Had Done for Me.

    Conferencing, committee-work, all these things are about the balance between individual and collective work in the academy, but it’s interesting how departments themselves often struggle with encouraging or rewarding better attitudes and behavior towards this kind of stuff, which keeps the enterprise going, after all. So I’m a big believer in trying to give people an idea of how their work fits into a larger picture, even if that view is difficult to attain at this stage of things.