All posts tagged: low residency

An Inside Look With Robin Conley, Western State Colorado University ’15

Image: Edsel Little Note: Thank you to first year contributor J.R. Dawson for providing me with these questions! How does your residency work and how it is paced? Spalding University’s Low-Residency program offers several options students can complete while enrolled in the program. The option selected decides the time they will attend residency. Some students, like […]

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An Imperfect Guide to Balancing Work and the MFA

Image: Farid Iqbal Ibrahim My decision to pursue my MFA in creative writing was an easy one. I was working full-time and making use of my bachelor’s degree, but it felt like some key aspect of my life was missing. My creative writing skills had stagnated and I hadn’t written anything new in months. The low residency model was an obvious choice, since it would allow me to continue to work full-time while earning my MFA. I’m still glad that I made this decision, but I must admit that I wasn’t fully prepared for what was to come. I did learn that working and going to grad school online is doable, though, and I’d like to share my experience. When I started my first class of the low residency MFA program at Mississippi University for Women back in June, I was starry eyed. I worked my full-time job by day and contributed to my one online class by night and on weekends. I got an A in the class, solidifying my belief that this MFA …

School’s In For Summer

It speaks to the newness of comics in academia that my MFA program is only four years old, with this summer being only its second graduating class. You’d be hard pressed to find any comics graduate programs created further than five years ago. It’s this nascent quality I found most appealing and why I chose to pursue comics instead of a more established field of creative writing. There’s no established canon of comics, no prevailing school of thought, no ivory tower. Everyone is still figuring out what to teach, how to teach, and there’s a willingness to experiment with curriculum and structure that I didn’t really see looking at other fields of study. The unconventional structure of my program is a testament to that alacrity. It’s low residency, with the classes all happening in the summer and the fall and spring terms carried out online. This past July, I kicked off my first year of grad school in San Francisco, and will be back there again for the next two Julys. San Francisco. A city …

An Inside Look With Kellie Carle, Spalding University ’16

Image: Edsel Little Note: Thank you to first year contributor J.R. Dawson for providing me with these questions! How does your residency work and how it is paced? Spalding University’s Low-Residency program offers several options students can complete while enrolled in the program. The option selected decides the time they will attend residency. Some students, like myself, choose to attend residencies held on Spalding University’s campus in Louisville, Kentucky in the Fall (November) and Spring (May), residing at The Brown Hotel located in close proximity to campus. However, the program is designed with the idea that life happens and everyone does not have the ability to follow a rigid schedule. This flexibility allows students the option of attending in the Fall, Spring, Summer (the residency being held in an international locale overseas) or any combination that works for students as long as they complete the graduation requirements within ten years. During residency, students attend lectures taught by faculty and guest speakers regarding craft techniques, opportunities after graduation as well as readings by faculty and students. Discussions …

What is a Low-Residency MFA?

Image: Siebuhr This is a topic I’ve wanted to write about since I was given the chance to contribute to this blog. Most of the narratives you hear about an MFA are narratives stemmed in full residency programs. When I was applying for schools, there were some negative comments that were spouted out about low-residencies, and I almost missed out on a great opportunity because of a culture bias I internalized. Before we begin, I want to say a couple of things. First, I am not in every low-res MFA program. I am in one. Stonecoast is my understanding of how things work. Second, I have never been in a full-res MFA program, so I cannot do a directly personal comparison of the two experiences. With that in mind, what is a low-res MFA? Residency 20 days a year. Home the other 345.  I didn’t move to another part of the country to go to my residency. I live at home in Omaha, and I commute to Maine every six months for my residency. In …

An Inside Look With Heather Houston, Seton Hill University ’16

Note: Thank you to first year contributor J.R. Dawson for providing me with these questions! How does your residency work and how it is paced? Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program (#SHUWPF) operates with two residencies a year – January and June. Our program is 2.5 years long. Six residencies and five ‘college terms’. Students start with a residency (where they are labeled as ONEs) and they end with a residency (where they are labeled SIXs). Winter Residency starts on a Friday night at 7pm with orientation. Summer residency starts on a Tuesday at the same time. One of the directors opens the program and we are told about the theme of the week. The theme for this January 2015 was “Why do you write?” Our residencies are broken up into three-hour blocks in the morning and the afternoon. The first morning the three-hour block is broken in half. The first 1.5 hours is a mixed class (meaning anyone from any class in the program) where we talk about the Common Reading for the residency. This …

“Otherness” in MFA programs

Much has been made of the lack of people of color (POC) enrolled in master of fine arts programs. Last year, best-selling writer of color, Junot Diaz, made the rounds on a variety of news outlets to discuss the lack of diversity in many MFA programs. Diaz was expressing a real concern and frustration for the lack of diversity in both the student body and the faculty at many of the MFA programs around the country. As his message got louder and spread across the media last summer, other writers echoed his sentiments and shared their stories about workshop experiences (NPR  dubbed the experience “writing while other”). For many writers who identify themselves as “other,” they see this problem as an extension of the publishing world as well, where agents and publishers are not interested in fiction projects that are written by or feature people of color. The excuse is often given that no one buys those books. The standard reply from a person of color, “How would you know? Have you tried?” Obviously, books exists …