Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Spalding University: A Student's Take

Bashful Blogger writes in about Spalding University in reference to our post a few weeks back:

I was an "elderly" (48 year old) lurker on your MFA blog this past fall and was impressed with your fielding of various questions; since you acknowledged in one of your responses that you did not know a lot about Spalding University (Louisville)'s low residency MFA, I thought I would give you my "take." (A little background on me: I've published widely--Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, Poetry London, Southern Humanities Review--and have several degrees already--but none in English.)

When I first started contemplating an MFA, Spalding University was not on my list As I began the application process, a friend of a friend mentioned, "Oh, there are some great teachers at Spalding, you might check into it"—the rest is history. (fyi: I applied to two full residency programs—Vanderbilt and Notre Dame, and was accepted at both, with excellent funding—so I chose Spalding after much research and consideration).

My first residency experience (May 2006) was, across the boards, exceptional. I was impressed with the rich mix (racial, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic, geographic) of students and faculty I met there. The Administrators at Spalding are without exception helpful, caring, sincere. My workshop leader was fantastic (as do most of the Spalding faculty, he teaches full-time at another University). Every lecture I attended was truly enlightening. No bullshit. No blah-blah-blah-ing. These are the big things. But the small things were just as well done, and added up to make the residency a friendly, comfortable week. For instance, the residency's opening dinner has assigned seating—and everyone makes an effort to get to know new people.

And, although I have completed less than a month of at-home study under the guidance of a mentor, I can already say that I have had an excellent experience. How many graduate students have a one-hour private tutorial with a professor (like I had via phone this morning) in their first month of school? And that is the tip of the iceberg of the gifts I am receiving. The Spalding program is rigorous—I am averaging thirty hours a week on my reading and writing. I highly recommend that prospective MFA-ers research this program: http://www.spalding.edu/frame.asp?pg=/db2.asp?id=375
I could not be happier about my decision.


Anne Haines said...

Glad to hear good things about Spalding -- it's by far the closest to me geographically, and not having to shell out money for plane fare twice a year is a big plus. I'm going to be applying to low-res programs within the next couple years (as soon as a certain new one I know of starts taking applications), and I've been debating whether to include Spalding on my list.

Foust said...

I just got my acceptance letter from Spalding and your take on the program really made me feel good about my choice. I'm a"chronologically challenged"--age 45--full-time printmaker and feeling a little queasy about going back to school. My first residency will be the November one--hope I'll see you there!

aliyaa said...

I would suggest that university of pennsylvania admissions requirements must be fulfilled by students. This was incredible to read.