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Professional Development

Annual Graduate Student Conference

Every Spring Semester, the English Graduate Organization plans an interdisciplinary conference where graduate students from UMass and regionals program present their scholarly work to the University community. Sessions are chaired either by faculty or by the students themselves. This conference is an excellent opportunity for young scholars to present their work at an early stage in their careers to a supportive and interested audience.

Dissertation Workshop

This year-long, faculty-led, voluntary writing group has been enormously successful in helping students through the sometimes difficult transition into a full-time writing project. This workshop usually consists of ten or fewer students, and topics about the dissertation process itself are the focus of early discussions. Students also present their work-in-progress to the group throughout the year, receiving helpful feedback from their peers. Most students leave the dissertation workshop with a completed prospectus and first chapter.

Job Planning and Placement

The English Department has, we believe, one of the most thorough job planning and placement frameworks across the country. Every student entering the academic job market has the following resources at his or her disposal:

  • The Associate Director of Graduate Studies offers an initial workshop on preparing your written materials for the job search. S/he also meets with each and every student individually to go over drafts of letters and CVs.
  • In addition, the Associate Director reads over each student’s dossier to determine that all letters are present and in order, and that the dossier represents the student in the best possible fashion.
  • The Associate Director offers a second workshop during the fall in which strategies for interviewing at the MLA are discussed.
  • Every student who is invited to interview for any position is offered a practice interview by the department. The interview lasts approximately 35-40 minutes, and is then analyzed and discussed with the student by the faculty-member participants and the Director or Associate Director of Graduate Studies.
  • The Associate Director meets with every student who is scheduled for an on-campus interview to discuss what to expect and how to handle various scenarios. Faculty members are also willing to discuss multiple job offers with students and how to make the decision that is best for them at this point in their lives.

Our program has a placement record that has ranged, during the past ten years, from between 50-60% in tenure track jobs. Many of our students also work in adjunct positions, some have received prestigious post-doctoral positions (such as Harvard and UCLA), some have sought work outside academics. Students recently graduated from our program have obtained tenure track positions at the following institutions: Kansas State University, Truman State University (MO), Colorado State University, Cleveland State University, Holyoke Community College (MA), Bowling Green State University (OH), Western Illinois University, Fort Lewis College (CO), Auburn University (AL), Wheaton College (MA), James Madison University (VA), Montclair State (NJ), University of Montevallo, Alabama, Dartmouth College (NH), University of Central Florida, University of St. Thomas (MN), California State University, LA, Florida State University, Vanderbilt University, State University of New York at Albany, Knox College (IN), and Ohio State University.