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TTU HomeDepartment of English Graduate Degree Information

Professional Development Curriculum

Spring 2015 Professional Development Workshops

First-Year Students [FY14s]

Evidence of Professional Progress by the end of Semester 2

Second-Year Students [FY13s]

Evidence of Professional Progress by the end of Semester 4


Professional Development Curriculum (PDC) Overview

Semester 1 - Fall


(all-day program)

Introduction to Graduate Studies
Welcome to TTU, the Graduate School, Arts & Sciences, and the Department of English; introduction to the department, its staff, faculty, and resources; intro to graduate student curricula, guidelines, and procedures; introduction to time management, professionalization, academic and personal conduct

Week 1 - Success in Graduate Seminars
Faculty expectations for basic conduct and comportment; meeting deadlines and obligations; managing reading loads; participation; presentations; the seminar paper; the importance of being earnest (or at least organized)

Week 3 - Assembling a Thesis/Dissertation Committee
What are the expectations of a thesis or dissertation; conceiving a research project (with sample MA theses and dissertations on hand); drafting the thesis proposal; choosing a supervisor; assembling a committee

Week 5 - Juggling Responsibilities, Managing Time, Maintaining Productivity
Pleasing everyone: juggling multiple seminars; juggling classes and teaching; time management; from student to professional

Week 7 - The Job Market
The academic job market & some key aspects; resources relevant for determining job trends.

Week 9 - The Teaching Portfolio
Introduction to the teaching portfolio; what does it include? what records does one cultivate, collect, and save? how does one build the kinds of teaching experiences that are steps to success? Workshop teaching portfolio materials, as time allows.

Evidence of Professional Progress by the end of Semester 1


Semester 2 - Spring

Week 1 - Choosing a PhD Program (MAs only)
Identifying programs and/or scholars with outstanding reputations in your proposed field of study; leveling approaches to programs; contacting potential committee members; calculating cost of living; de-limiting and narrowing your choice

Week 3 - Managing a (Professional) Web Presence

Considering the range of of current social media and the implications of different information available to different audiences in different contexts; managing responsibilities of required information; making advantages out of potential disadvantages in web presence and professional identity.

Week 4 - The CV
Introduction to this most basic of career documents; what does a CV look like? what does one include? how does one accumulate the credentials that belong on one? Workshop CVs, as time allows.

Week 5 - The Publication Ladder: Book Reviews & Review Essays
Using reserach projects to feed publication records; generic distinctions of book reviews and review essays; what function they serve; what they look like; how one evaluates someone else's work; saying what you mean; not saying what you mean; how and where to publish book reviews; how & why to contact editors

Week 7 - What To Do on Your Summer Vacation
Using your 'breaks' from assigned activities to the best advantage; preparing work for scholarly publication; researching graduate programs; preparing materials for graduate school applications; preparing to write a thesis or dissertation.

Evidence of Professional Progress by the end of Semester 2


Semester 3 - Fall

All students required to take English 5390: Writing for Publication for 3 credits. With all students taking it, demand would be sufficient to run sections led by faculty in both TCR and English. Each student will revise and expand a prior seminar paper for publication; each might also produce a conference paper, book review, abstract, or mock thesis or dissertation proposal.

Semester 3 is the appropriate time for this to occur for two reasons:

  1. For MA students, the time is right for their preparation of a writing sample for PhD applications, or for adapting a prior seminar paper to a place within an MA thesis
  2. For PhD students, semester 3 is the latest that they can begin attempting to publish if they want a piece to be accepted or already in print before they hit the job market.

Week 2 - Applying to PhD Programs (MAs only)
Choosing appropriate recommenders; organizing application processes & information; choosing (and revising) your writing sample; revising other required documents (personal statement, CV, etc)

Week 4 - Understanding an Academic Job-Hunt
Giving 2nd-year students an overview of what it's like to be on the academic job market; what does the job market look like; what are reasonable expectations for academic employment? what documents and materials does one need to prepare for an academic job-hunt?

Week 6 - Statements of Teaching Philosophy
Expectations of this document; exploring media options; making it complement your teaching portfolio and job dossier; rhetorical strategies

Week 8 - Phone Interviews, MLA Interviews, and Campus Visits (PhDs only)
Preparing for interviews; handling phone and MLA interviews; what to wear on campus visits; how to field difficult questions; choosing (and tweaking) your research presentation; the complexities of negotiating employment offers and conditions

Evidence of Professional Progress by the end of Semester 3


Semester 4 - Spring

Week 2 - Considering Academic &/vs Non-academic Employment Options
A career workshop to let students know about particularly their non-academic options; weighing academic vs. non-academic options; crucial for our 2nd-year MAs who have decided not to go on; useful, too, for those who go on but never finish a dissertation or land an academic job; only 1 in 3 students who finish PhDs land in tenure-track jobs within 4 years of finishing, so it's irresponsible to consider professional training only in the context of academic jobs; exploring most-current trends in "alt-ac" or alternative-academic careers.

Week 4 - The CV

Revisiting this most basic of career documents; what does a CV look like? what does one include? how does one accumulate the credentials that belong on one? Workshop CVs, as time allows.

Week 6 - Applying for Grants and Alternative Funding Sources
Identifying available grants and fellowships; choosing recommenders; drafting a proposal or research statement

Week 8 - Dissertation Unbound (PhDs only)

A roundtable discussion on the parameters and generic distinctions of dissertations for programs in English; some strategies for managing the workflow of this project

Week 9 - Exit Interviews
One-on-one meeting with ADGS to review professional development and determine future activities; scheduling tba

Evidence of Professional Progress by the end of Semester 4