Residency Followup

Welcome to the spring semester! I hope you all are recovered from the res and into the swing of syllabus composition.

As usual, I received excellent feedback from the students at the Wrapup Meeting and on their evaluation forms. I want to share a couple of the responses regarding successful workshops (for the benefit of workshop leaders) and promotion of the program.

I heard time and time again that the students got the most out of workshops that involve hands-on work, whether that work involves in-class writing or in-class research, or both. The least successful workshops seem to have been lectures in the guise of workshops and workshops that did not put to use the advance work asked of students. So, faculty: design your pre-work and your workshops to be as hands-on, engaged, and inclusive as possible.

I heard from a couple of students that their genres of interest were not adequately represented at the residency. I sympathize, but, unfortunately, this is a function of numbers of students in particular genres, faculty available to offer workshops in those particular genres during a particular residency, and what has been offered in recent residencies (August). I can guarantee, though, that genres under-represented in January will be more strongly represented in August (and, consequently, that genres with high representation in January will be less strongly representence in August). That said, if you have ideas for workshops you’d like to see offered in August, please let me know ASAP!

Finally, a couple of students offered good suggestions for helping to promote the program. One idea was that all students and faculty who are going to conferences or residencies should take program fliers with them. If you are going on such a trip, I would be happy to provide you with fliers to take with you. Another suggestion was that students in the program should keep in touch with their undergrad programs and professors, and talk up the program to them, encouraging them to send students this way. And, as always, please be sure to mention the program in your bios or bylines when you have publications and in your social media profiles.

If you have more feedback that you didn’t get a chance to provide at the res or only thought of afterwords, please don’t hesitate to share it with me.

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About brclements

Professor and Coordinator MFA in Creative and Professional Writing Western Connecticut State University
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One Response to Residency Followup

  1. dtgriffith says:

    It was great seeing everyone at the residency.

    I have an additional suggestion using social media or blogs for promoting the program. I noticed on the Writing MFA homepage a banner mentioning 87% of our graduates go on to publication, or something of that nature. Perhaps some smaller banners with that type of messaging can be made available through the MFA office for current students, alumni, and faculty to post on their networks et al. Just a thought.

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