Thursday, October 29, 2009

Reaction to the Poets & Writers MFA Rankings

Early reports suggest that by and large the rankings have been received extremely well, and seen for the probative starting-point they intend to be--however imperfect they are, and however much (particularly with the unscientific portion of the rankings comprised by the applicant poll) it will take years to continue refining the methodology for the project. As to that part of the rankings that constitute the first-ever hard-data funding ranking, selectivity ranking, and postgraduate ranking (and the handful of data-based assessments published also), there's been no criticism, and the consensus seems to be these will help applicants in the months and years ahead.

I want to thank all of you who've sent along words of support and encouragement to me in the past few days. As the P&W article says (several times), no ranking can or should claim to be a conclusive assessment of program quality, nor be a primary element in any applicant's matriculation determination--but I do hope these rankings can be one tool among many in a field where (for too long) critical admissions and funding information have been systematically withheld from the programs' most important and invested constituents: applicants.

[Poets & Writers rankings #1 to #52 can be found here, and #53 to #142 here; an excerpt from the methodology article is here].

Those interested in getting the programs' (much less circumspect than bloggers') reactions to the rankings can follow these links: Brooklyn College; George Mason University; Rutgers University at Newark; Southern Illinois University (2, 3); University of Wisconsin-Madison (2); University of Virginia (2, 3, 4, 5); University of Minnesota (scroll down); University of Oregon; University of North Carolina at Greensboro; University of North Carolina at Wilmington (2); Vanderbilt University; Indiana University; University of Iowa (2, 3, 4, 5, 6); University of Texas; University of Wyoming (scroll down); University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The rankings have also been covered by The New York Daily News & (among other online media) by Bookfox, The Rumpus (2), and Fiction Writers Review.