Monday, December 17, 2007

Writing Program for People with Careers and Families

I received this from Rutgers University, and I think it's wise to pass it on. -- Tom

To those looking for an MFA Program that supports writers who work at other careers, raise families, etc:

Please take a look at the new "Real lives, Real stories" Rutgers Newark MFA Program at

Selected one of "5 Up and Coming MFAs in the US" in last summer's Atlantic Magazine fiction issue, we're a 48 credit hour, research/studio Program completed in two years full time, three years part time. Rutgers Newark is a PATH train ride from Manhattan, hosts the exciting Writers At Newark Reading Series (featuring E.L.Doctorow, Yusef Komunyakaa, Junot Diaz, Cathy Park Hong, D. Nurkse, Tina Chang, Scott Spenser, Richard Price, Alexander Chee and others in 2008/9), features Jayne Anne Phillips, Tayari Jones, Rigoberto Gonzalez, James Goodman, Rachel Hadas, Alice Elliott Dark and H. Bruce Franklin as faculty.

We offer every student an interdisciplinary curriculum, the chance to graduate with a published chapbook in our Literature/Book Arts electives concentration (other choices are Cultural/Political/Ethnic studies and Performance/Media Studies). Our workshops and MFA courses take place at 5:30 pm, allowing our students time to both write and work. Our students range in age from 23 to 60; many have had or continue successful careers in other disciplines. We're accepting applications now for our Sept. 08 class; our deadline is Jan. 15, 2008. Please peruse our website and apply. Questions may be addressed to Program Coordinator Dahlia Elsayed at


R.T. said...

What is your take on writers who have won different fellowships and awards, but have not produced any visible or at least public work recently, such as Jayne Anne Phillips?

Some of these writers teach, including M. Robinson at Iowa, who is clearly prestigious (Pulitzer and all). Is it important to look only at their history, or at their present writing life as well?

Nick Ripatrazone said...

Tom and others,

I respect the RU-N English Department and posted about their faculty back in August ( I earned an MA from RU-N in 2003, and although my practical observations may be dated (class size, time, etc.), I greatly enjoyed my study with Dark, Hadas, Franklin, etc., and thought that MA got me very ready for my current MFA studies at UTEP.

And Robin, as for your question, I can't help but think that a writer/teacher has got to be a good teacher, first and foremost. I think a "big-time" publication record is more important to the university's brand-name than to the actual students enrolled.

K.G. Schneider said...

O.k., I let this steep for a while. How do you get from a full-time job to the classroom by 5:30? Who is this targeted at, bakers? I attended an MFA program where classes met at 6:15 -- even that was a push for some people, but 5:30 would have been too early.

On the point raised in the first comment, what Nicholas said. I had terrific teachers whose publication histories were not huge but who really knew their teaching stuff.

Sarah said...

Speaking of writing programs that are accessible to people with careers and/or families, Rutgers University in Camden, NJ has a new MFA program starting in Fall 2008. Their classes are offered at night, and I can vouch for the excellence of the faculty in all genres (I'm a grad of their MA program). Detailed information on the MFA program is available at

JB said...

Sarah, Can you tell us more about your impressions of the MFA at Rutgers Camden? I have looked it over and my biggest concern is that the faculty is very small. I wonder if it may be limiting, for example a student might be very frustrated if among the faculty there, he or she has a hard time finding someone who connects with their work. Also, their webpage emphasizes that they're a great program for aspiring teachers. Well, I've got a career already and am not looking to teach, but only to become a better writer. Last, because it's so small and new and unproven, I'm wondering what kind of clout they have in terms of helping with networking.