Unused Scholarship Money

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26th, 2010 by Tammy – 232 Comments

I just got this email from Professor Gremore, Literature and Language Department Chair. Zoiks, people! Apply for the free money already!!!

As chair of the University Scholarship Committee, I want to let you know
about free money that might be available to your students:

Please encourage your students to log in to Metro State’s financial aid
office web site and look on that page’s “deadlines calendar” for the
listing on May 14. This is the deadline to apply for Student Senate
Academic Achievement awards for next fall and spring.

At the moment, we do not have enough applications to use all the
available award funds.

The Student Senate Academic Achievement Award provides a grant of $600
per semester for two semesters to students who have done outstanding
academic work at Metropolitan State University.  Students whose GPA is
above 3.5 might qualify for these awards.  

The application process is simple, and the deadline is May 14, 2010. We
are seeking applications for fall, 2010, and spring 2011.  More
information and online application forms are available on the Financial
Aid home page (http://metrostate.edu/msweb/pathway/aid/index.html).

We recommend that students act quickly, because they will need to ask
two instructors to log in to a web site and complete a short
recommendation form for them.

Full eligibility requirements and application instructions are on the
financial aid home page

Who Will Make the 200th Comment?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21st, 2010 by Tammy – 219 Comments

Along with our stunningly early spring, this month celebrates our burgeoning experiment in blogging.  We’re just three comments away from having 200 comments — not bad for the blog’s second semester in a small English Major community.

The comments are thrown open to your voices! Please, share your stories about how this blog has changed your life, given you the will to live, and helped you train your dog.

Trained professionals are standing by to listen to your testimonials, their tissue boxes close at hand.  Really, don’t hold back. We’d love to hear how, because of this blog, your life will never be the same again.

The lucky 200th commenter will receive an amazing grand prize with magical, mind-bending properties and which can also serve as a portal into a whole new realm!

Okay, it’s a book. Of course it’s a book! It’s the English Major blog…?

Metropolitan State U Spring Job Fair

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20th, 2010 by Tammy – 220 Comments

Seniors, mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 28, 2010!

10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

MEC M2100 and M2200,

Minneapolis Campus

Sixteen employers are anticipated, including Sam’s Club, the Metropolitan Council and Best Buy Mobile!

This is a free event, but let Career Services know if you plan to attend. RSVP by phoning 651.793.1528, emailing career.services@metrostate.edu or registering at  www.metrostate.edu/career.

Human Services Career Fair: April 7!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5th, 2010 by Tammy – 207 Comments

human services













Get ready for the Metropolitan State University Human Services Career Fair!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010
1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Great Hall in the New Main Building

Students, faculty, alumni and staff are welcome! Light refreshments provided courtesy of: Metropolitan State University Alumni Association with additional support from the Human Services Department. For more information contact:

Nancy Miller at 651.793.1364 nancy.miller@metrostate.edu

Deborah Mosby at 651.793.1359 deborah.mosby@metrostate.edu

Cut-and-Paste Novels?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24th, 2010 by Tammy – 210 Comments


Thanks to student writer Greg Gephart for contributing today’s article.

The New York Times  ran a February 26, 2010, article entitled “The Free-Appropriation Writer,” by Randy Kennedy, in which he discusses the “Communal Creativity” movement in the world of literature. This was something new to me, but then this is Minnesota. We aren’t always privy to knowing about the latest movement of anything in the cold winter months. As Mr. Kennedy explains, Communal Creativity is code for blatant plagiarism. The writer responsible for this latest expose of the movement is a young German woman named Helene Hegemann who has written a novel that is a “finalist for a prestigious literary prize” to be awarded in Germany. Besides her youth, the unique thing about her novel is that much of it was plagiarized from another author. Ms. Hegemann stated that is had been her intention from the start to use someone else’s material, that it is her “birthright” to use anything available if it gets the job done. She added: “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” Patrick Ross, executive director of the Copyright Alliance. counters her twisted semantics by pointing out “the expressions were original in those books, even if the ideas were not new” and that a “borrowing” culture will “quickly grow stale.”

Hegemann is supported in her argument by the writer David Shields in his Reality Hunger, “a feisty literary ‘manifesto’ built almost entirely of quotations from other writers and thinkers.” Shields argues that borrowing has been around forever and lists several prominent authors who have availed themselves of the practice—Sterne, Elliot, Emerson, Joyce—and he feels borrowing should be done more than it is.

Shield’s and Hegemann’s assertion that there is “no such thing as originality” is just a lazy writer’s way of getting something on paper. I’m not overly concerned that any writings by these two dolts will make a significant addition to the canon. What does concern me is the last statement in the essay. Louis Menand, a Harvard professor and author of The Market Place of Ideas, states, “If something is really successful, then the law tends to get changed and society changes to allow it to happen. ” There is no doubt in my mind that the “dumbing down” of America is a real phenomenon. People are becoming more reluctant to think for themselves. I recall a town hall meeting held in my hometown during the last presidential campaign. John McCain had to take the microphone away from a woman in the audience who was exclaiming that she knew, firsthand, that Obama was an Arab and a Muslim. I know these people. I grew up with them. To my horror, they are reproducing. They are the intended audience for the drivel spewed out by the likes of Hegemann and Shields.

Creative thought is a fundamental premise of our democratic way of life. The Declaration of Independence was written as an original, creatively inspired document based on ideas as old as humanity. If our founding fathers had followed Hegemann’s way of thinking they could have just as easily have inserted clauses from the Divine Right of Kings.

Not to be Missed!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22nd, 2010 by Tammy – 310 Comments


Today’s blog comes courtesy of fellow English Major Cris Tibbets!

In “Theater du Jour,” Metropolitan State Theater program and Theater Underground take a unique look at the students of Metropolitan State University and the issues that concern them.  Dozens of stories have been solicited and collected since the spring of 2009 from students on all three campuses.  Many students wrote their own stories; some met with student playwrights to be interviewed.  Students tell of the issues and values that matter most to them–immigration, health care, economic racism, gender identity, and truth-telling in the classroom.  

The show is performed by a company of twelve Metro State actors:  Farrah Buffington, Tracy Campion, Julie Dafydd, Justin Eggen, Michael Enderle, D.K. Iversen, John McNeil, Eric Ramberg, James Napoleon Stone, Cristopher Tibbetts, Austene Van, and Amanda Weecks.  The pieces are directed by Metro State students Julie Dafydd, D.K. Iversen, John McNeil, Eric Ramberg, Cristopher Tibbetts, and Amanda Weecks, as well as Metro faculty members Scott Rubsam and Gail Smogard.  The design team includes Kirby Moore (set/technical director); Mike Wangen (lights); Elin Anderson (costumes); and Scott Rubsam (sound and visuals).

Says company member Cristopher Tibbetts:  “It’s a rare treat to bring this show to our student population.  Since our campus is so non-traditional, we knew there would be amazing stories out there, but I am blown away by the bravery and strength of the students who are daring to share their stories with us.  It’s also fun working on an original script.  We’ve worked closely with the student playwrights and writers to honor their vision, while making sure the script is dramatically compelling.”

“Theater du Jour” will perform March 25-27 at 7 p.m. at the Whitney Stagedoor Theater on the Minneapolis campus, and April 16 at 7 p.m. in the Founder’s Hall Auditorium on the St. Paul campus.  A reception will follow the April 16 performance.  Reservations are recommended by calling 612-659-7222.

The production is dedicated to the memory of Camille D’Ambrose, former Metro State acting instructor and director, who recently passed away.

Be sure to check out the awesome poster!

The Future of Books (I can’t wait!)

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19th, 2010 by Tammy – 200 Comments

Great Moments in Literature: Cuneiform.  Alphabets. Scrolls and vellum manuscripts. The Rossetta Stone. Gutenberg’s printing press….

…the iPad…..

No joke! The touch screens and multimedia experiences packed into an iPad “book” (and other soon-to-be-unveiled gadgets)  just begin to hint about the future of reading. An English professor’s job investigating and studying modes of literacy and publishing has never been so exciting!

Sample iPad Books

Applying to Graduate School (Part 4 of 4)

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17th, 2010 by Tammy – 206 Comments
Lion's Gate at the University of Aberdeen

Lion's Gate at the University of Aberdeen

In this, the last of the posts on Graduate School, we take a look at some of the nitty-gritty, practical procedures of the application process.

Two years before Graduation: This is the time to begin researching programs to figure out what the admissions requirements are. If you think you’ll be headed to an institution requiring the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), you should buy books or CD-ROMS and start studying for the exam and taking the practice tests.

Two years before Graduation: Start saving money. Taking the GRE costs between one and two hundred dollars as does each program application. If you have the good fortune to be accepted at more than one place, you’ll want travel money to make campus visits to help you decide.

Two years before Graduation: If you’re considering a traditional graduate program in English, you should make sure you take all four survey courses (that is, LIT 341, LIT 342, LIT 371, and LIT 372) as an undergraduate.

One year before Graduation: Consider developing a focused SDIS (independent study) for the summer preceding your senior year. Many programs want to see a longer, scholarly writing sample (12-20 pages) and the senior Capstone (in Spring) occurs too late for most October application deadlines.

One year before Graduation: Go online to find out when GREs are being proctored at locations near you. You need to have the results to submit with your application materials in October. Keep in mind that you can sit for the exam more than once. That said, an admissions committee looks more favorably on someone who scores high on the first attempt than someone who finally scores high after multiple attempts.

Six months before Graduation: Apply to your selected graduate programs! If you’re sure that you’re well-qualified for a particular program and you’ve spoken to a representative about it, you might choose to apply to that program and no other. More traditional graduate students, however, should apply to a range of programs. For instance, even if you have a 4.0 and high GRE scores, so do scads of other applicants, and some programs, such as the U of Delaware, for instance, are choosing only twelve students from the entire nation to join their Master’s program in any given year. So, yeah, it can be pretty competitive to get into those highly-ranked programs.

Because the rejection rate is so high, most students protect themselves by applying to at least three (and usually five or six) different programs: a “safety” school (not particularly highly ranked, takes in many grad students because of freshman comp teaching, lower admissions standards), a dream school (I’ll never get in, but I meet the admissions criteria, so here goes!), and a couple of programs where you think you’ll likely end up.

Three months to one month before Graduation: If you’ve been accepted to multiple programs (congratulations!), do visit the campuses, meet the other grad students, and discuss your choices with your professors, both here and at the various universities so you can decide where you really want to spend the next 3-13 years of your life.

Selecting a Graduate School Program (Part 3)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25th, 2010 by Tammy – 179 Comments
Unicorn Gate at the University of Aberdeen

Unicorn Gate at the University of Aberdeen






















By their junior year in college, students who are thinking about attending graduate school should start researching graduate programs online. Consider the following factors:

Location. Are you tied to a particular geographical location? Your choices will be pretty limited automatically. If you’re free to relocate, consider applying to schools in an area you’ve always dreamed of living.

Google. Start by Googling such search terms as “Masters English” or “English graduate program” or “graduate school English” to generate a great quantity of programs. You can learn a LOT through idle browsing.

Ranking. All graduate programs are not created equal. Your needs as someone pursuing secondary teaching accreditation are very different from someone who’s planning to become a research professor. Examine various programs’ application requirements: in general, programs which require the GRE are more selective. Selectivity matters mainly if you’re interested in getting a Ph.D. after your Master’s. Contact a librarian to help you find an issue of U.S. News and World Report which ranks university programs nationally. These breakdowns are very specific: for instance, USN&WR ranked the University of Minnesota 13th in GLBT studies in literature.

Faculty. So, you’re a great fan of women’s issues in the Victorian novel. Because you cited Susan Gubar in every single paper you ever wrote, you might actually like to go to Indiana University and study under her! In other words, you might select your graduate program because of the particular faculty or resources in your area of interest. The downfall of this strategy, of course, is that your favorite scholar is liable to retire or trade up to a more prestigious university.

Fundage. No two ways about it: you have to go to a program you can afford. Many people work slowly toward an advanced degree, keeping to a pace that fits their yearly budget and work schedule. More traditional graduate students hope to earn fellowships (free tuition plus a small stipend),  teaching assistantships (free tuition and a small stipend in return for teaching), or research assistantships and do not work outside of the University.

Chime in, readers! What are other factors to consider?

Why Graduate School? (Part 2)

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19th, 2010 by Tammy – 224 Comments


Gate at the University of Aberdeen

Gate at the University of Aberdeen


So what exactly IS graduate school?

Graduate school refers to programs of study leading to the conferral of degrees beyond the Bachelor’s (B.A. or B.S.) level. Students can earn Master’s Degrees (M.A. or M.S.) and then, perhaps, move on to the Doctorate (Ph.D.). Whereas high-school and undergraduate studies tend to be broad and comprehensive, graduate studies are highly specialized.

Why do people go to graduate school?

Students choose to attend graduate schools for a number of personal and/or professional reasons. Certain professions, such as elementary and high-school teaching, require a commitment to continuing education. Some graduate students think that an M.A. will make them more attractive to prospective employers or more qualified for promotion in their existing work. Many students are looking for the continued personal and intellectual development that comes with advanced study in a specific discipline. And many are  trying to find out if they want to pursue the Ph.D. and become professors.

The Benefits of the M.A.

Granted: the news about the lack of tenure-track professor positions in our last post is grim indeed. Before you completely write off graduate school, however, here’s another point to consider.

While a Ph.D. essentially trains you for a job as a scholar/researcher/teacher (that is — to be a professor), the M.A. often translates very well to work in editing, writing, coorporate content managing, advertising, public relations, publishing, and a host of other “real world” employment.

A possible strategy for someone who really wants to become a professor might be to go ahead and earn the M.A. After all, in almost all cases, you’d have to earn the M.A. before moving on the Ph.D. anyway. Working in the M.A. program, however, lets you test if you’d really like being a professor. The scholarly expectations are ramped up drastically in graduate school: you’ll discover if you stand out among your M.A. peers or not. And, likely, you’ll be a “graduate teaching assistant,”  grading piles of freshman composition essays, so you’ll discover whether you actually like teaching in a writing-heavy discipline or not.

In short, the M.A. lets you test the waters of academia. If you’re a superstar new teacher and LOVE the intense life of the mind in your graduate courses and in your master’s thesis, then you’ll probably want to go on for the Ph.D., anyway, and nobody will be able to dissuade you! But if you discover the life’s not for you, you can graduate with your M.A., your sanity, and some marketable skills. 

To learn more about why English Majors go on to graduate school, read this very long and thoughtful blog by Eastern Michigan University professor Steven Krause.