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Buffalo State College (11/29)
Buffalo State College (11/29)
Gettysburg College (12/17)
Gettysburg College (12/17)
Hope College (12/18)
Revision as of 19:49, 18 December 2007
If you also hear, at a later date, from one of the schools listed below, please add your date to the listing.
Please alphabetize all listings.
Please be careful with how you use bold-face and underlining; if you're not, it can mess up all the postings that follow yours.
Please don't use double hyphens when editing the page; they will strike the rest of the text.
Questions about specific listings have been moved to their own section below.
Note: New Links Section Below
Note: New CW thread on the Chronicle Board. Link Below
Note: New link below to page w/ individual applicants' tallies; a creative writing category has been added. Please consider adding your tally to the list.
Page last updated: Mon. 17 Dec. 4:23 PM EST
PLEASE REMEMBER TO UPDATE TIME (EST)/DATE MANUALLY WHEN YOU EDIT LISTINGS
Wiki Counter (How many people are using this Wiki?)
CHOOSE ONE: I'm on the market 40 Have TT job, looking for a new one 11 I'm lurking 2
CHOOSE ONE: Fiction 11 Nonfiction 5 Poetry 11 Other (please specify) 2 (multi-genre)
If you know anyone involved in the creative writing job search this year, please tell them about this page. The more people who use it, the more useful it will be.
Departments Requesting More Documents
Poetry Auburn University (10/27)(5) Clemson University (11/14) (3) Hampden-Sydney College (10/22)(4) (11/28) (2) Muhlenberg College (10/25)(10/31) Shippensberg University (11/16)(3) St. Olaf College (11/20)(5) University of Hartford (11/16)(4) University of Michigan (11/07)(4) University of Miami (11/29) University of New Hampshire (10/15)
Fiction Adelphi University (11/19)(2) Auburn University (10/19) California State University-San Bernardino (11/19) (2) DePauw University (11/01) (11/09) Iowa State (early November) University of Louisiana-Lafayette (11/20) Maryland Institute College of Art (11/29) Montclair State University (11/09)(12.10) Old Dominion University (11/26) SUNY Purchase (10/31)(11/20)(3) University of Rochester (11/12) Roosevelt (11/17) Stetson University (11/24) University of Tennessee - Knoxville (11/15) University of Hawaii at Manoa (11/3) Western Washington University (11/21) (3) Wabash College (11/29)(3)
Non-Fiction Ithaca College (11/16)(11/30) University of Iowa (11/01)(3) University of South Florida (11/08)(11/15) Furman University (11/26) University of North Texas (approx. 11/25) Northern Arizona University (11/27)
Open Genre Cleveland State University [Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction] (11/12) (2) Hope College [Open genre] (10/30) (11/15) (11/24) (11/26) (2) (11/27) Illinois Wesleyan [Poetry/Fiction] (10/23)(11/26) Iowa State University [Open genre] (10/26)(11/11) Nebraska Wesleyan [open genre] (12/6) University of Iowa [poetry/fiction, undergrad cw director](11/13)
Other CSU-Stanislaus (approx. 11/15) Harvard University (Expository Writing Program) (11/19)
Calls or Emails for Preliminary Interviews
Poetry American University (12/6) Auburn University (11/29 - MLA Interview) (4) Bridgewater State (12/11 - phone) (2) Central Michigan (11/21 - MLA Interview) Clemson University (12/11 - MLA Interview) (2) College of Staten Island (11/29 - MLA Interview)(2) Gettysburg College (12/7-MLA Interview)(4) Grand Valley (12/6- MLA Interview) Hampden-Sydney College (12/8 - MLA Interview) (5) Middlebury (12/13 - MLA Interview) Shippensburg University (11/30 - MLA Interview) St. Olaf College (12/12 - MLA Interview)(2) SUNY Albany (12/7 - MLA Interview) Truman State U. (12/13- Phone intreview) University of Hartford (12/7- MLA Interview)(2) University of Michigan (12/6- MLA Interview)(2) Washington State University (12/11-MLA Interview)
Fiction Adelphi University (12/9 - Interview in New York)(2) Bethany College (12/7 - MLA interview)(2) Centre College (12/12 - MLA interview) Chatham University (11/27 - AWP Interview) College of Wooster (12/17 - AWP Interview) Colorado College (12/5 - MLA Interview) Columbus State University (12/7 - phone) (2) DePauw University (12/10 - MLA Interview)(2) Eastern Michigan University (12/10 - phone)(2) Guilford College (12/4 - MLA Interview)(2) Lawrence Tech University (12/9 MLA Interview) Loras College (12/11 - phone interview) Maryland Institute College of Art (12/12 - AWP Interview)(2) San Diego State (11/14-phone interview) SUNY Purchase (11/29 - MLA Interview)(4) Stetson University (12/13 - AWP interview) (2) University of Louisiana-Lafayette (12/6 - MLA Interview)(3) U. of California, Davis (12/11 - MLA) (2) U. of Nebraska, Omaha (12/1-phone) U. of New Hampshire (12/3-MLA)(3) U. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (12/8 - phone) Villanova (12/11 - MLA)(3) Wabash College (11/30 - MLA) Western Kentucky University (11/27 - phone interview)(2) Western Michigan University (12/1 - MLA) Western Washington University (12/11 - MLA)(2) William Paterson University (12/7-MLA)(4)
Non-Fiction Furman University (12/7 - MLA) Ohio Wesleyan (12/16 - MLA) Penn State Erie (11/29 - phone interview) (2) Tulane University (11/30 - MLA) University of Arizona (11/30 - phone interview) University of Mary Washington (12/12 - AWP)(2) University of North Texas (12/4 - MLA) University of Northern Arizona (12/6-phone interview) University of South Florida (12/6 - MLA) (2) University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh (12/10 - MLA) University of Wyoming (12/6 - MLA)
Open Genre CSU-Stanislaus (12/6 - MLA interview)(2) Chapman University (11/20 - MLA Interview)(11/21 - Local Interview) Cleveland State University (12/10 - MLA) Gettysburg College (12/6 - MLA) (2) Grand Valley State Univeristy (11/19 - MLA interview)(2) Illinois Wesleyan (12/13 - MLA interview)(2) Nebraska Wesleyan (12/7 - MLA Interview)(2) Pitzer College (12/10 - MLA)(2) Saint Mary's College of Maryland (11/5 - MLA interview) (3)
Poetry Buffalo State College (11/29) Chapman (12/18) Gettysburg College (12/17) Hope College (12/18) St. Olaf College (12/6) University of Texas - Austin (11/12)(2)
University of Arizona (11/14)(2) University of Hawaii (12/01) Villanova (12/1)  Brooklyn College (11/28)(12/3) Stetson University (12/10) Temple University (11/26)
Non-Fiction University of Arizona (11/13)(11/20)(11/20) Northern Arizona University (12/3)
Open Genre St. Mary's College (11/16) (11/19) (11/29) University of Hawaii at Manoa (12/03)(5)
Calls or Emails for Campus Visits
San Diego State University (~11/22)
Departments Rejecting On-Campus Interviewees
Schools That Made Offers
Questions/Comments About Specific Listings
RE: Muhlenberg College Q: Has anyone heard anything about the 3-semester visiting job that starts in January?
RE: Saint Olaf Q: Was rejection by snail mail or e-mail? A: Email.
RE: Auburn University (11/29 - MLA Interview) (3) Q: Have these been for the poetry or fiction spot? Both? A: I received a call (and an email as well) to set up an MLA interview for the poetry position. A: I know someone in fiction who is being interviewed.
Re: Hampden-Sydney (10/22): Q: really? Their ad says they're not reviewing applications until 11/15, and that you'll have full consideration until 12/1. A: Yes - really. I wouldn't make that up. A: I wasn't trying to say you did...more it's just amazement at the lack of professionalism some departments have. If the ad says they're not reviewing until 11/15, as it does on their dept. website, it seems they should do that. A: I understand. I wonder if it's possible that their method for requesting documents is just odd - I've known some to put individual members on the committee in charge of requesting their own documents, so different people ask for them at different times. Who knows... A: I suppose this practice never struck me as odd or unprofessional, as I have always taken "review" of applications to include a sort of "preview" period during which time individual members of the committee might read applications. Is the issue simply a matter of how they phrase "deadline"?
Re: University of Michigan (11/07) Q: What docs did UMich request? I sent them quite a big chunk of my dossier to start with and am trying to determine if I'm still in the running. A: Asked for all published books.
Re: Associate/Full hires (12/3) Q: Did anyone apply to any of the associate/full positions, like UCSD or SUNY Buffalo? Any word on these searches?
A: I applied to both of those, and haven't heard a word from either. Often, in the more advanced searches, committees will skip the advanced interviews and go right to the campus visit. Of course, often in these searches, the candidates have actually been contacted by the University in advance of the search and invited to apply.
Re: Gettysburg College (12/8) Q: Those of you who have been contacted for an MLA interview at Gettysburg College, was this for the Emerging Writer Lecturer position, or the TT position? Thank you A: My call was for the ONE year visiting appointment. The Emerging Writer gig, which I think they lean toward poets for, they said they'd yet to make calls for. A: My call was for the TT poetry position. The one-year visiting position is fiction/nonfiction (has been categorized above as Open Genre). The Emerging Writer is open genre. They have a poet this year but had a fiction writer last year.
Re: Truman State U. (12/13) Q: Is this for the poetry position or the "generalist" one?
Fiction Re: West Virginia University Q: Has anyone heard anything at all (rejection, more materials, interview scheduling) from WVU for the Asst. Prof. position in fiction? I was just wondering. A: I know someone with an MLA interview. A: I scheduled an MLA interview with them on 12/4.
Re: Western Washington University (11/21) Q: Did they send the request via mail or email? A: Email Q: What did they ask for? A: Two sets of student evals, plus the original syllabi for those courses, plus teaching philosophy and writing sample. Q: Thank you.
Re: Western Kentucky University (11/27 - phone interview) Q: Is this the 3-week visiting professorship for next summer? A: No, it's for the TT Assistant Professor, Fiction Writing position.
Re: Maryland Institute College of Art (12/1) Q: Anyone else get a question on his or her application emailed? If so, is this the beginning of an interview, a prelude to a request for further materials? A: Yes. Not sure what it means. Q2: Have you all gotten more than one question? They're very specific questions, questions you'd expect in an interview. Have you heard of this before? A2: Just one specific question. You? Q3: Was this the really weird online application, where all you could do was fill out an info sheet and upload your CV? A3: The online application was info sheet plus CV, then another page where you could upload some additional documents, but still fewer than the ad requested. I got a single additional question. Q4: Did anyone have additional materials requested or just get questions? (I received one question, nothing more.)
Re: Villanova (12.1) rejection Q: Did this come via regular mail? A: Yes
Re: William Patterson (12/7) Q: How did someone hear from this school on 12/10 on 12/07? Was this just a typing error or am I missing something? Thanks. A: I was horribly confused about today's date. Forgive me.
Re: West Virginia University Q: Has anyone heard anything (rejection, more materials, interview scheduling) from WVU for Asst. Prof. position in fiction? Just wondering. A: I've heard through the "grapevine" that they requested MLA interviews a few weeks ago. A: I scheduled an MLA interview with them on 12/4.
Re: Colorado College Q: Has anyone heard anythign from this school? A: I scheduled an MLA interview with them 12/5 or so.
Re: Pitzer College (Claremont) Q: Anything, anybody? I'm beginning to worry that I imagined the whole application.... Thanks in advance for any info. A: Finally heard 12/10 about MLA interview. This job was open genre. A: Also heard on 12/10. OP: Thanks! Good luck!
Re: Illinois Wesleyan Anyone? And what's up with all the Wesleyans, anyway? Okay, don't need an answer to that second part, there... A: I haven't heard anything from them, though I wonder what is going on institutionally. . .wasn't this job at IWU advertised just last year?
Re: Providence College Q: Has anyone heard anything? A: No, and the standard confirmation of received materials came late. Don't know if they're interviewing at MLA or AWP... A: Thank you very much. No word here, too, as of 12/12. A: I also applied and have received neither rejection or invitation to interview. 12/13
Re: College of Wooster Q: Any word of Wooster? Any info would be appreciated. A: No word one way or the other here. 12/13 A: I got an MLA interview on 12/17.
Re: Auburn Q: I see they scheduled interviews in poetry, but anyone heard in fiction? Were there two positions, or just one?
Re: Cogate Q: In an acceptance-of-application letter they said they'd be scheduling interviews around Dec. 7. . .anyone have an interview yet?
Non-Fiction Re:Furman University (11/26) Q: What additional documents did they ask for? A: Dossier and recs.
Re: University of Arizona (11/30 - phone interview) Q: When, approximately, are they doing these? A: I did mine 12/3. Q: How did it go? What was it like? Did they tell you what their time-frame was for the rest of the process? A: Phone interviews are wack, but I suppose they didn't want to go to MLA. I just find them even more awkward than a face-to-face. I have no clue how many others were interviewed, but they said they'd be in touch within a few weeks (presumably after MLA is my read, though I'm not sure why they'd wait that long if they're phone interviewing everyone this week or last).
Re: Northern Arizona University (11/27) Q: What exactly did they ask for?
Re: U. of Wisconsin, Oshkosh (12/10 - MLA) Q: Did they contact you by email or phone?
Open Genre Re: St. Mary's College (11/16): Q: Did they send the rejection via mail or email? A: Mine came via USPS.
Re: Hope College [Open genre] (10/30) (11/15) (11/24) Q: What's up with this? I've never seen request dates spread out so much. Does the last one mean they weren't satisfied with what they got from the first two? A: I just assume they are requesting additional materials on a rolling basis, somewhat like Auburn. It's interesting especially since the closing date for applications is listed as November 30. A2: Yup, rolling basis, according to their letter. I agree that it's a bit odd.
Re: Pitzer Q: Does anyone know anything about the Pitzer job? A: Got a mailed rejection (12/8) about the part-time job, but also applied for the full-time one and have heard nothing. A: They called for interview on 12/10 (updated above).
Search-Related Comments, Questions, Tips, FAQs, Etc.
Q: I'm curious about how others respond to an initial request for a "description of your work" (usually specified as one or two pages), particularly for poets. I borrowed from a description written for a grant application and mostly discussed my manuscript-in-progress. But for creative writing, this seems like a strange requirement; maybe it's a holdover from other job listings that ask for a dissertation abstract or description of current research. Any thoughts about this?
A: Sounds like a holdover to me, or maybe the department has a template for any listings, be they writing or lit or whatever. I'm a prose writer, not a poet, but I've never been asked for a description of my work, just samples.
Q: This is a question about the nuts & bolts of the search. Last year I went through the process, and it seemed to me that most schools interviewed at MLA, decided whom they wanted to invite to campus immediately after the last interview, and scheduled visits for very early in the semester, usually the first week or two. This meant that first offers were typically made in late January or early February. This year, though, things have been much different so far: One large school, which had an app. deadline in early October, is saying they won't be interviewing at MLA (they haven't said where they will be interviewing, though); some have said they'll be interviewing at AWP, at the end of January; and another school (this one a smaller liberal arts college) just emailed to tell me that they won't be interviewing at AWP, but that "members of our search committee will be available to meet applicants and discuss the position." Huh? What's the point of that? They ended the email by saying "we hope to complete the search by March 19, 2008." Won't that be too late for them to land a quality candidate? Or are things working differently this year? Anyone else out there have similar tales to tell? And if a school isn't interviewing at MLA or AWP (like the first one I mentioned), what are they doing?
A: I think in this case the school probably does a phone interview for the first round, and then fly-ins. It's not what everyone does, but I've been on search committees where we've posted late and ended up doing a phone interview first time around. I know which school you're referring to (got the same email myself), and they're a little less traditional, so I think that's what they're doing. In my conversations with colleagues in other disciplines, many of them think that more schools are going to the phone interview method. It's extremely expensive to send a whole committee to a conference. If they're going to the conference on their own (and therefore paying for it out of existing faculty development money), then it's easy to have them chat with candidates.
Q: Every time I apply for a position I receive a follow-up letter or email asking me to complete an affirmative-action questionnaire. Most of these mailings state that completion of the survey is voluntary and anonymous, though most also require you to list your name, which seems to contradict at least the anonymous claim. So is participation really voluntary? If you don't fill this out and return it (and sometimes return postage is not pre-paid, either), will the hiring committee or the department hold this against you?
A: This came up on the Chronicle of Higher Education forums-the consensus there was that search committees and department chairs should not/would almost certainly never see the AA forms, and wouldn't know if a specific individual filled them out. Some people there still urged everyone to fill them out, because there's apparently a slim possibility that a search could be canceled by administrators if they decided that the applicant pool wasn't large enough or diverse enough.
Q: How many requests for additional materials are generally sent, when a department narrows its applicants that way?
A: I'm guessing thirty or forty, then ten or so for the MLA interview, and three or so for the campus interview.
Q: I'm new to this wiki thing, but I was wondering if this would be an appropriate place to talk about credentialing. Nothing personal or too revealing, but just the basics like how many and what kind of pubs., MFA or PhD, how many years teaching, subjects taught, etc... My MFA program did not prepare us for the teaching market at all, and, compared to my lit. friends, I feel like I don't have enough information. I'm happy to share if anyone else is.
A: I think this is a perfectly appropriate forum for this conversation. Do you want to start it? What specific questions/issues would you like to raise? A2: I'm trying to get a feel for what kinds of credentials are expected in the creative writing market. I understand how specialized these searches are, and I was thinking of putting mine off until I signed the contract for my second book, but since I have to move anyway, I thought I'd just go ahead this year. I have almost ten years of teaching experience, most of it in comp., though I'm starting my third year as an AP teaching in my genre. I've got one well-reviewed book with a national press, three articles in a well-respected regional with a circulation over 200,000, and a book proposal in my agent's hands. I've also got pretty substantial administrative experience. What I'm hoping to find out, if not for this search then for the next, is if I have a reasonable number of credentials for the market. Obviously I could just wait and find out, but if I get passed over this year, which seems likely, I'd like to have more information for the next search- -as opposed to the usual, Oh you never know what they want. So if other people felt comfortable talking about credentials, I'd love to gather some wisdom about what schools are looking for.
Q: The other day I received a rejection letter from a small, regional liberal arts college. (I see on the board I'm not the only one.) The position was not particularly desireable (3/3 teaching load, open genre, requirement to teach freshman comp and other "core curriculum" courses, etc.), and yet, according to the letter, they had "close to 300 applicants." Yikes! Is this typical? And if so, how many applicants do really good schools/programs get for really good positions?
A: This is completely typical for an English/cw search. The last time my department was hiring, we had 350 applications (for a 4/4 load that includes comp and gen ed courses.) Personally, I think a 3/3 load makes the job you mentioned very desireable.
Q: Given the choice between (A) a candidate with a lot of teaching experience but very few (if any) publications, and (B) one with a very impressive publication history but little or no teaching experience, what percentage of schools would pick A over B, and vice versa?
A: Neither is is a good position. A is in an even worse one, especially if B has a little teaching.
Q: And if B has none? How is someone with a strong publication record but no teaching experience supposed to get her first job? (BTW, there seems to be no dearth of A out there, by which I mean tenured or TT creative writing profs with few publications, and all of those in obscure little journals. How do they keep getting hired without the pubs?)
A: Are you serious? B will teach part-time as an adjunct like the other 70% of faculty members in higher education. News flash: you are applying for work in a system which is utterly corrupt.
Q: Are you saying that someone with a couple of well-reviewed commercial-press books on her CV, as well as a long list of other prestigious pubs, will still have to start out as an adjunct? And could you please explain what you mean by "utterly corrupt"?
A: I'm not saying that the books won't help, and certainly if they are big successful books B is going to have an advantage. I am saying that with the amount of applicants per available position (let's say an average b/w 100-150), it's a crap shoot. And I certainly know of some schools who have not hired big-name writers when they had a chance, and instead hired unknown writers with few publications. University professors are petty and insecure. They are threatened by success, hard work, and threats to the status quo. If you've published more than some of the people on the search committee, that's not necessarily a good thing; your success might be perceived as threatening. Utterly Corrupt: a system that depends on under-paid, exploited, part-time workers who have no job security or health benefits. A system that cares more about profit and accountability than education. I could go on, but I don't think this is the proper venue.
Q: Thank you for elaborating. I'd say this is probably as good a venue as any to discuss this matter. I found what you said about departments choosing people with little or no publication record over big-name writers to be very disturbing. If true, it certainly explains why so many plum positions are held by people who have only published a few (if that many) short pieces in obscure journals, and nothing else. I'm shocked at how often this is the case, and at good schools, too, with good programs. Still, I hate to think that what you said is actually true; it's seriously discouraging. Do you really believe it? Can anyone else out there attest to the veracity of this theory? Any stories to share?
A (different from first A): Another way of looking at it is that departments need workhorses, creative writers who will teach sections of comp, serve on committees, answer student emails, and form good working relationships across the university. Very few people with "big, successful books" have the time, inclination, and financial need to do these things. Many people do start teaching when they are young and promising, fail to fulfill their early promise, but become either indispensable or impossible to get rid of.
A. Another way of looking at it is that just because someone publishes well doesn't mean they teach well. I say this as someone with both well-reviewed national pubs and teaching experience. Totally corrupt or not, the days when schools could support a strong writer who was not also a strong teacher are past. Writers need to teach and it's in a department's best interest to hire candidates who have sufficient pubs and established teaching credentials, which, by the way, many writers get through years of adjuncting, which interferes, of course, with the amount of time they have to write and publish, or teaching in visiting positions, which requires them to move every few years. Some schools do hire for the publications alone, but they're hiring star writers whose name recognition attracts students to the program. If you look at it from the school's point of view, why would you hire someone with no experience doing what you're hiring them to do? We may have horror stories to share about getting hired, but we all surely have horror stories to share about incompetent and abusive professors who've coasted their way to reduced teaching loada and tenure on the strength of a book or two. When there were only a handful of writing programs out there, the teaching quality didn't matter as much, but now that there are so many programs, if the students aren't happy, they'll go somewhere else. Academia has its drawbacks, but there are many, many industries that are more corrupt and more soul-killing, just ask someone with a job in one of them.
Q (just to distinguish myself from the previous two A's): There are a number of unsafe assumptions inherent in the above answers. The first is that "Very few people with big, successful books have the time, inclination, and financial need" to do what is needed in order for them to make a truly valuable contribution to a creative writing program. True, they probably wouldn't want to teach sections of comp, but who does, really? And how exactly is it even appropriate to ask them to teach comp? That would be like asking a professor of Spanish to teach Italian too, just because they're both Romance languages. Comp is a specialty, just like fiction or poetry. It should be taught by specialists. Trying to pawn it off on creative writers, or anyone else who isn't a comp specialist, is disgraceful.
And to imply (or state) that authors who have had some kind of "success" would not be interested in answering student emails, forming good working relationships across the university, and serving on committees is a generalization that's both absurd and offensive. The implication is that these writers are both self-obsessed and rich. There are certainly writers like that out there, but they don't teach. Why on earth would they?
And then there's the assumption that someone who has published well and often but who hasn't taught writing before can't possibly do it (that is, teach) well. Oddly, the person who made that assumption seems perfectly comfortable with the notion that someone who hasn't published can nevertheless be a good teacher of creative writing. In fact, both assumptions are antithetical to the truth. Writing is not one of those areas where the old adage "those who can't do, teach" applies. I'm sure we all agree that someone who is not herself a good writer cannot be a good teacher of writing. In this instance, if you cannot do it yourself you cannot possibly teach others how to do it. How could you? At the same time, as much as we often hate to admit it, a good publication record is, in fact, a strong indication of talent. Yes, we can all name talentless hacks who seem to be able to publish anything they want, and gifted writers who have not (as of yet) been able to publish nearly enough. But by and large, good stuff will find a home in print, and good writers will produce good stuff. Bad writers will not. The statement "just because someone publishes well doesn't mean they teach well" is undeniably true; but someone who doesn't publish, who can't publish, surely can't, by any objective standard, teach writing well. How on earth could they? So if your real objective is to hire the best teacher of writing, a long list of publications is a much better indicator than a long list of teaching jobs. If you want to find "incompetent and abusive professors who've coasted their way to reduced teaching loads and tenure," I guarantee you'll find a great many more of those who haven't published a book or two but who know how to play the political game, than you will well-published writers. If someone can make a living solely by writing but chooses to teach anyway, they must really want to. Desire plus ability equals success.
Does all this mean that I agree with the statement that university professors are petty and insecure and thus prefer to hire unpublished candidates, whom they find unthreatening, to successful writers? Like a previous poster, I don't want to believe that's the case. But when you make ridiculous arguments in support of the claim that teaching experience is more important than writing experience, you sound like one of those professors yourself. Especially when you also imply that we should be grateful we're not working in a coal mine.
C: "...would not be interested in answering student emails, forming good working relationships across the university, and serving on committees is a generalization that's both absurd and offensive. The implication is that these writers are both self-obsessed and rich. There are certainly writers like that out there, but they don't teach. Why on earth would they?" Um, exactly because they aren't rich, they're just self-obsessed? Anyhow, one thing to be said for this market, it's turning more toward junior colleagues who are willing to pull more than their share of the weight. Departments already have an overload of professors who shirk responsibility. They want a triple-threat who will also take on all those blah admin duties. Perhaps that'll at least make sure that deserving candidates land more jobs?
Q: So any successful writer who wants to teach must be doing so because she is self-obsessed? Do I even need to list how many ways that statement is ludicrous? As for your definition of "deserving candidates" as those who are "willing to pull more than their share of the weight," that would seem to confirm the earlier poster's view of universities (or maybe just English departments) as exploitative entities. What you're saying, in essence, is that departments would rather take on new faculty who are willing to do more than their share of unpleasant gruntwork (i.e. their share and tenured faculty's share) rather than someone who can actually write well and thus teach writing well. You may be right, but if you are, that sounds pretty darned soul-killing to me. There are no triple-threats out there; someone who can write well and thus can also teach writing well will not be willing to be exploited in this manner, no matter how much they want to teach. They have too many other options. Perhaps this explains why so many tenured and TT creative writing profs have very few pubs. As someone else here wrote, they failed to fulfill their early promise but managed to stick around long enough that they are now impossible to get rid of. Good for them; bad for students who would learn how to write.
C: In reply to the question of whether I meant that just English Departments or universities in general are exploitative: I meant universities in general, though English Departments, with their mass hiring of adjunct Composition teachers, are particularly bad. But they are just one symptom of a larger, sick system that by and large, especially if we are talking about public state-funded universities, does not value education because (among other reasons) they are constantly fighting for dollars from state politicians who are constantly looking for reasons not to give them these dollars. It's a sick system in lots of ways, and one symptom of this sickness is a dependency on adjunct faculty, which is not going to change until, among other things, we quit applying for these jobs. This gets me to the last poster's statement that: "someone who can write well and thus can also teach writing well will not be willing to be exploited in this manner, no matter how much they want to teach. They have too many other options." Yes, they have other options if they look for work outside of universities, but as to the point that they are not willing to take exploitative teaching jobs: this is simply not true. On the contrary. There are thousands of us who fit this description who are willing to take whatever full-time teaching job we can get. Which perhaps gets us to the great irony of the academic job market: herds of applicants for jobs which just aren't that good, but which are so much better than adjunct, part-time jobs. And I'm as implicated in this as everyone else. As to why people are questioning the belief that university professors are petty and insecure: how many details would you like in support of this claim? I've got hundreds.
Q: Some interesting dialogue here. Why don't we open up a "creative writing" section on the chronicle's board?
A: Sounds like a good idea, though if you do so, please be sure to post a link here so we can find it. And we might as well keep it going here, too, since I'm sure a lot of people here don't use the chronicle's board.
Oh, and I don't think anyone questioned the statement that university professors are petty and insecure. I think some people were saying they didn't WANT to believe it.
Okay, have started the thread. Link at bottom of this page.
You should post a link to this page on the chronicle's board. That'll bring in some eyeballs.
Q: Does anyone want to discuss the Creative Writing PhD vs the MFA issue here? (Seems there are a lot more jobs looking for the former this year, and this also seems a trend.) And how do we read this - or rather, how are departments weighing these credentials - versus publications, teaching experience, etc.?
A: I entered a CRW PhD program specifically because I became convinced that the PhD has become the new terminal degree, even if few people want to publically admit that fact yet. Several years of failed job searches helped convince me of this, though my own experience is no indication because I've had no published book until this year. My own experience and knowledge tells me that that one or more published books is still the most important factor in a successful candidacy, generally speaking. I know of very few instances where someone landed a TT job without a book or major magazine and journal publications; that's just the benchmark in our field. There are always exceptions, but these exceptions tend to give candidates a false sense of the possibilities of getting a TT job without a book (I also think MFA programs are generally not very forthcoming about the real, near-nil prospects of getting a TT job within a year of graduating. Of course, an MFA is still considered the creative writing "terminal degree" by AWP, but in reality the MFA is quickly getting replaced by the PhD in Creative Writing as the "true" terminal degree. We can argue about it, but the increasing number of job postings asking for a PhD and the increasing instances of PhDs landing jobs over MFAs will bear me out. I'm not saying MFAs can't get jobs because that's not true, but it's getting harder and it'll keep getting harder every year as more and more people graduate from MFA programs.
Why do PhDs fare better in job searches, generally? Well, it's just another credential to set one apart from other people applying for the same job. Most postings are getting 150-300 applications these days, and one has to figure that almost all of them have MFAs and probably at least fifty have books and teaching experience. If, say, twenty out of the fifty have PhDs, then chances are good that the final twelve to be interviewed will be chosen from those twenty PhDs, with occasional exceptions, of course. A strong publication career is still generally the biggest asset, irregardless of degree, but a PhD and a book or pubs in prestigious journals will boost a candiate over others who have the same credential but just an MFA. I think PhDs are preferred because the PhDs already in the department sometimes resent the idea that somebody with "only a master's degree" can get the TT job that they could only get by going to school for 4-10 more years. It's a significant fairness concern, though it's probably less of an issue at schools where the CRW program has a degree of autonomy within or apart from the English Department as a whole. At those schools, MFAs probably still have a good chance, but there are only a few of those schools!
Second, colleges, especially state ones, are continuously tightening up budgets and they want candidates who can teach more than just writing courses, and, for whatever reason, MFAs have traditionally been confined to teaching writing courses at most schools, while PhDs have more leeway to teach lit courses, especially if they publish academic papers in another interest area. Schools want TT profs to do more in "tougher times", including teach a wider range of classes, and the system favors PhDs in such circumstances. Again, the big budget, star CRW programs don't have this issue, but these are also few. I still can't tell you if having a PhD AND a book will be more beneficial than having an MFA and a book, but I can tell you that having an MFA with half a dozen magazine publications and no book has left me with nothing but lecturer positions (fulfilling ones, mind you) for a decade. That's why I went back and got my PhD.
A: As I understand it, there are still very few schools that actually offer a Ph.D. in creative writing, and at almost all of those, what they actually offer is basically a Ph.D. Lit program with an opportunity to do a creative dissertation. Having asked around over the past few days, I've come to the conclusion that the better and more prestigious writing programs, particularly graduate programs, continue to view the MFA (or terminal MA) as the most desireable degree, for several reasons, not the least of which is that it indicates that you are a product of a program like theirs. I have heard (though I don't know if it's true or not) that some of these programs actually look down on those who have a Ph.D. because it indicates overkill (and thus, by this reasoning, a suspicious lack of natural ability), or a lack of focus, or that the degree-holder is a product of a lesser program, since at present there are no top- or second-tier programs that offer a Ph.D. in creative writing. Schools that specify that they want a Ph.D. are usually looking to fill a position where the hire will have to teach lit and even comp classes in addition to creative writing, and in many cases, lit and/or comp will actually comprise a majority of the courseload. These types of positions are not considered terribly desireable among job-seekers in our field. In about five years of seriously perusing the job listings, I can count on one hand the number of postings I saw that required a Ph.D., and I know of only one instance in which someone's application was actually rejected because they did not have a Ph.D. I certainly have never seen any evidence (nor has anyone I've consulted on this) that the Ph.D. is replacing the MFA as the "true" terminal degree in creative writing. And, except in those very few searches where a Ph.D. is specified as being required, I have never seen any evidence that Ph.D.s fare better in job searches than MFAs. The determing factors are always publications and teaching experience, the subjects of a previous debate.
A: The claim that there are no top programs offering PhDs is incorrect. Both the University of Houston and Florida State University offer PhDs and have been ranked in the top tier by all available rankings, not to mention numerous other programs - UNLV, USC, University of Missouri, University of Denver - that are well respected, with job placement rates far beyond that of most, if not all, MFA programs. It may be true that some prestigious MFA programs look down on the PhD, but in fact I know of PhDs who have been contacted by top tier MFA programs. For the vast majority of schools, the PhD indicates the ability, as one of the earlier posts pointed out, to teach literature and composition, skills that are not typically a part of the MFA curriculum.
Q: Maybe it's just me, but wouldn't it be easier to conduct this discussion either by using the chronicle board or the "Discussion" function (button on top left of this page)?
A: It might be if people actually used the discussion feature, but apparently they don't. I imagine it doesn't really matter too much as long as these discussions take place beneath the main posting area.
Q: Good gravy! Where are all the nonfiction postings? Am I the only nonfiction person here?
Oh, and is it just me, or does it seem like SCs are picking their interviewees later this year?
A: Nope, you're not alone. It may be just the two of us, but I'm wondering too! A: Nope. I'm here too. Haven't heard on any of the nonfiction jobs (besides Arizona where I had a phone interview).
List-Related Comments & Suggestions
Q: How can we get a ballpark figure on how many individuals are actually checking this board? A: We can't. Folks should just try to spread the word that this page exists.
Q: Any ideas on how we can "spread the word" more effectively? A: Post about it on listserves. A: Blog about it.
Q: Can anyone recommend some widely-read creative writing blogs that could help get the word out?
Q: Listserves and blogs are fine, but how about getting MLA and/or AWP on board? They could really get the word out.
Q: Who removed all those other comments, and why?
Q: I agree with the earlier post (which has since been removed for some reason): This board could be providing much more of a service than it is. Look at the lit and comp/rhet boards; they have job listings, interview tips, a long faq list, etc. This board should be more than just a score sheet. Or are we so competitive that we don't want to share job listings and job-seeking advice with each other? We're writers! We should be able to put together a better board. We could should use one. A: Why keep lamenting the state of the board? Why not just start posting whatever info you think would be useful to others? There's no gatekeeper here. Go for it.
Q: One thing the lit board has, which seems very useful, is a link to last years job board. Can we do that? Or was that board just deleted?
Q: Maybe we could move this section (which is bound to keep growing) to the end of the page? Also, maybe we could diversify the headings a bit more, rather than lumping all these things together? A: I agree. A: Me, too. There should be a section for list-related business. A: Okay, let's do it.
Q: Perhaps we should list the updates in chronological order, rather than alphabetizing them. This would make it easier to see the recent updates. An A: While chronologically makes it easier to see what's new any given day, it's really hard to find particular schools, and generally much harder for those of us who don't check every day, or who need to refresh our memories. Is there a way to do both? A: There were multiple calls to alphabetize last year, for the same reasons mentioned above. It seems there's not any easy solution.
Q: Why can't I refresh this page by just clicking the refresh button on my browser? Is there another way to do it?
Q: Should there be a separate section for Q&A regarding specific postings? They clutter up the other sections and make them difficult to read.
Q: Are the people who are counting themselves above in the "Have TT job, looking for a new one" category also counting themselves in the "on the market" category? If so, they should stop. (I think the last poster before me did this.) The whole point of the counter is to get an idea of how many unique visitors/users this page has. Frankly, I don't see why someone created a "Have TT job, looking for a new one" category in the first place; for the purposes of the counter, it's irrelevant. Can we remove it, and merge the two categories?
A: The last poster to weigh in to the count in 2 categories was actually 2 posters using the same computer to view the board.
Q: Are there different figures for Starting Salaries for Creative Writing jobs in specific (as opposed to the Starting Lit Jobs Salaries listed below)?
A: There are not, at this point, but someone should start such a page, or at least add a creative writing category to the exisiting one. (In this case I think a separate page would work better.) Can someone who is more tech-savvy than I am do this? (If you are that person, please be sure to post a link on this page.) And how can we encourage folks to post there?