EGSA: Meeting between EGSA officers, Chair, and GPD

Our President, Mary, and VP, Danielle, met with Drs. Vitanza and Barcus yesterday. Below is Mary’s report from that meeting. Due to its length, we are sending it out today, rather than in the weekly digest.



Dear EGSAns,

On Tuesday (9/28), Danielle and I met with Drs. Vitanza and Barcus to discuss EGSA-related matters. Below are my notes from this meeting, which include several items of interest to all of us:

1) Funding: In the future, our department will be following guidelines established by the Graduate School that dictate how long a grad student can receive funding from his or her department. These guidelines state that:

— someone admitted as an MA candidate may receive funding for up to 2 years and a summer;
— someone admitted with an MA degree to the PhD program may receive funding for up to 5 years;
— and someone admitted without an MA degree to the PhD program may receive funding for up to 6 years. This is all depending in

general on the university’s need for money and its financial resources. If you have a situation that you think warrants special consideration outside of these guidelines, Dr. Barcus encourages you to come talk with him about your circumstances. Of course, your EGSA leadership is also always willing to listen to your needs and do what we can, but at first you should go directly to him and see what he can do for you.

Finally, both the Chair and GPD expressed a definite expectation that grad students work steadily through fall, spring, and summer terms on their graduate work in order to graduate in a timely fashion. To help encourage students new to the program to do so, they agreed to put a note in the appointment letters making sure that everyone understands that they need to save money through the year to live on through the summer as they continue to take courses.

2) Prelims: Our graduate faculty has recognized a need many of us have felt to have a course specially designated for those who are preparing for their prelims (cheers from the audience). This course will be ENG 6V10, “Prospectus Research,” and will be available for registration as soon as the necessary paperwork has been processed, hoops have been jumped through, and channels navigated (no indication of how long that will take). PhD students will be allowed to register for it once with the option of taking it a second time if they need more time to prepare for prelims, but everyone’s goal is to have each student take only one semester for this preparation.

3) Conference papers: If you have presented at a conference within the last year (since September 2009), please let Dr. Vitanza or Julie Sherrod know your name, the name of the conference, its dates, and the title of your paper. This information will help our department complete a new assessment required by the graduate school. In the future, as soon as you are accepted to a conference and make plans to present, please let them know this information so that they can have you on file. Your presentations help the image of our whole department!

4) Registration: Drs. Barcus and Vitanza plan to have us register this year according to our seniority in the program. They will start with PhD students by year of matriculation, then go to MA students. For the first round of registration, they plan to limit seminar sizes to 10 people so that, after that, if anyone is in desparate need of a particular course, he or she can still find room in it when the cap is raised to its usual 12 people. They hope in this way to be fair to those who are close to graduation, whether in the MA or the PhD program. No word yet on specific dates for this registration process; more information will be forthcoming.

5) Course Offerings: This spring the following courses will be offered (the usual booklet with course descriptions will be coming out soon):

5303 Linguistics (Dr. Grebenyova)
5394 American Lit (Dr. Ford)
5393 course on Civil War Literature (Dr. Fulton) 5374 course on Irish writers (Dr. Russell)
5330 Milton (Dr. Donnelly)
5312 Middle English Lit (Dr. Hanks)
6374 course on Cormac McCarthy (Dr. Barcus)

6) PhD Students: This year our department is implementing a new “assessment plan” that will allow it to measure the progress and success of our program. One feature of this plan that will affect us is a new requirement that will attempt to measure how effective our department’s PhD students are as public speakers. Some time during our years in the program we will be required to make an oral

presentation that will be evaluated by three members of the graduate faculty. They are still working out what forms these presentations will take and are open to suggestions, but some ideas they mentioned include presenting to a research seminar (like Dr. Ferreter’s 20th Century Research Seminar), presenting at an on-campus conference (like EGSA’s biannual conference), holding a mock job interview and giving a 20-minute paper as part of the interview, and giving a practice talk for an off-campus conference you plan to attend.

7) Danielle and I expressed our gratitude to Dr. Vitanza for her help in funding the Terence Hoagwood lecture and to Dr. Barcus for hosting a wonderful dessert social at his home last weekend.

If you have any questions about any of the above, feel free to e-mail Danielle or me and we will see what we can find out for you. All the best,
Mary Frank