Updating our graduate program

Our graduate committee recently finished the paperwork for a comprehensive revision of our graduate program. “Update” is an understatement. The old curriculum was state of the art around 1970. Maybe 1870. Coursework covered three areas: British Literature, British Literature, and Other. The roster of courses long abandoned would be funny if it wasn’t pathetic.

We’re replacing these courses with an much more compact, updated list far more strongly balanced between literary and writing studies and other areas of English. Coverage of literature is broadened substantially; no more periodic approach. For me, the addition of more courses in writing appeals, specifically a course in new media; while I don’t expect to get teach it soon (I’m scheduled for a different graduate course this Fall) I’m glad we are including this material in our program.

Better courses are backed up with stronger requirements. All students will now complete a thesis or a capstone course culminating in an exam. Instead of picking “literature” or “writing,” students will work with their committees to develop individualized programs. Stronger mentoring and exit interviews will be built into the program. Somewhat reluctantly, we’re dropping a language requirement which has proved impossible to enforce, given Western’s lack of support (we have no undergraduate language requirement).

We have a few more administrative hoops to jump through; assuming that goes well, then the fun part: implementation. It’s nice to be a step closer to getting this project done. (Sorry for all the PDFs, but this material is still in flux; we’ll make ’em web pages when it’s finished.)

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