Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Registration FAQs

FAQs for MFA Registration

1. How do I know when registration starts each quarter?
You will receive a registration info email from your MFA Advisor each quarter. Registration begins the following week. After receiving the registration info email, log into the MFA Students group in Canvas to either request that your portal be enabled for registration or to request classes for your MFA Advisor to enroll you (and list back-up choices for full online classes). The quarterly registration info (sent by email and in the MFA Students group in Canvas) contains links to view the Class Schedule, Registration Instructions, Course Descriptions, Textbooks, the First Assignment, and other important info, as well as any MFA program updates and reminders (including upcoming Degree Application deadlines). Be sure to read this email and all linked information thoroughly each quarter. You can check the dates for the quarterly email and the start of registration HERE.

2. Why did I receive an error message that said my advisor is preventing my registration?
If you click on Registration in the portal before the registration period begins, you will receive that error message. If registration has begun, then this error message almost always occurs because you are in the wrong term in the portal. When you click on Registration, you must already be in the correct term in order to enroll. Be sure to choose the upcoming term (SU for Summer, FA for Fall, WIN for Winter, or SP for Spring), and be sure to choose QTR. If you are in SEM (for semester students), or if you are in the current term instead of the upcoming term, you will receive that error message. If you are in the correct term and still receive that error, log out of the portal and then log back in, choosing the correct term, which will refresh the page to ensure that the portal is enabled for registration.

Another reason you would receive that message is if you did not post in the MFA Students group in Canvas to request that your portal be enabled for self-registration. It is a university requirement that students request this in writing every term because there must be advisor contact for registration. When you receive this email each quarter, read over all information thoroughly, then log into the Canvas group and post your name in the appropriate thread to request that your portal be enabled for registration. 

If you are on business hold or academic hold, you will receive an error message, and you will need to contact the business office or your MFA Advisor regarding the hold before you are able to register.

3. Why does the portal kick me out when I click the button to process registration?
This will happen if you have not disabled your pop-up blocker. If you have problems with the pop-up blocker, try changing your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Explorer, etc.).

4. How do I make sure I can enroll in a class I really want?
Some classes fill very quickly as soon as registration opens. Your best chance for enrolling in a preferred class is to post in the MFA Students Canvas group after receiving the registration info email to request that your portal be enabled, and then to register yourself as soon as registration opens (7am Central Time on the first day of registration).

Students who prefer to have their MFA Advisor register them in classes must realize that advisors have to enroll students in the order of posts in Canvas, starting these enrollments when the portal is enabled for registration. All newly accepted students must also be registered by advisors, so even if you respond to the registration email a day or two after receiving it and list your class choices, you will be far down on the list of students your advisor must register, and classes may be full before it is your turn to be enrolled. If you ask your advisor to register you, be sure to include in your Canvas post the number of classes total you want to take, your preferred choices for classes, and a list of back-up classes in order of preference, so that your advisor can enroll you immediately in a back-up choice if a preferred class is full.

5. Can I be put on a Wait List for a class that is full?
Wait Lists will be available for students to post requests in the MFA Students group in Canvas for any spots that open up in full classes after the open enrollment period ends. Since students can enroll themselves in classes, it is not always possible for advisors to send notifications regarding wait lists during the open enrollment period. During open enrollment, you can check the portal to see if a spot opens up in a class (click on Course Offerings and filter by IMF), and if a spot does open up, you can enroll yourself (and you can drop yourself from classes during open enrollment). Note that you must have requested that your portal be enabled for self-registration to be able to drop/add your own classes. After open enrollment ends, students cannot make any schedule changes in the portal, so the MFA Advisors will contact the first person on the wait list when a spot opens up in a class after open enrollment ends. After 24 hours, if that person has not responded, advisors will contact the second person on the list. If there is a class you really want, your best chance of enrolling in it is register yourself as soon as the portal opens for registration.

6. Does it matter which section of a class I enroll in? Why might my section number be changed after open enrollment ends?
When registering yourself for classes, you may enroll in any section of a class (one, two, or three sections may be offered for each class). It is best to balance enrollment across all sections of a class, so if section OL1 has 9 students and section OL2 has 2 students, it would be best to enroll yourself in section OL2.

After open enrollment ends, your section number may need to be changed to balance enrollment across sections. At least 5 students must be enrolled in a section for it to be held. Your advisor will always email you before changing your section, and if you need to stay in your current section for some reason (to stay in the same class as a friend, for example), you can reply to your advisor’s email and request that you not be moved from your current section. If a class ends up with fewer than 5 students and no other student changes can be made, your advisor will notify students that the class must be cancelled, and alternate class choices will be given.

7. Can I repeat a class for credit?
No, an exact course number cannot be repeated for credit. For example, if you previously took IMF 55602, you cannot take IMF 55602 again, but it is fine for you to take IMF 55603. You should check your transcript in your student portal to view the course numbers you’ve taken previously, to ensure that you do not enroll in the same course number twice. Be sure to check course numbers and not class titles. You may take several different classes within the same standard class title; as long as the course number is not exactly the same, you will receive credit for all of them (for example, if you take IMF 52301 Focused Nonfiction Workshop: Flash Nonfiction, it is fine for you to also take IMF 52303 Focused Nonfiction Workshop: Focused Flash Nonfiction).

8. How do I qualify for a grant?
The MFA Program offers two grants:

-Teacher Grant: Currently employed teachers of elementary school, middle school, or high school may apply for the teacher grant ($60 off per credit hour). This grant is handled through Admissions.
-60+ Grant: Students age 60 and over qualify for this 50% tuition grant. Verify with Admissions that this grant is being applied in your first quarter of enrollment, and then the grant will be applied in all future quarters. Grants will appear in your Ledger in the student portal as Pending Financial Aid.
NOTE: The university also offers a grant for community college instructors. Contact Admissions for more information.

Other Questions: Beth Mead is the Advisor for MFA in Writing students w
hose last names begin with A-L (bmead@lindenwood.edu); Gillian Parrish is the MFA Advisor for students whose last names begin with M-Z (gparrish@lindenwood.edu). Contact your advisor with any questions.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Workshop Etiquette

A respectful, thorough critique of a peer’s work is the cornerstone of an MFA program. Solitary work has its place in the writerly life, but the vast majority of us who write want others to see it and be moved, be changed.

Three important things are accomplished through workshop:

1.    You receive a variety of feedback about your work, which you will learn to filter as useful toward your intention for the piece or not.

2.    You sharpen your skills as a reader and enter the discourse of literature.

3.    You find yourself within a community of writers, an invaluable thing that extends past graduation from your MFA program.

Your critique and close reading of workshop pieces should be a response to the writing itself, the piece of work in front of you—not a response to the writer, not a proclamation of your personal taste or beliefs as related to this piece, and not simply a pat on the back. Give useful, respectful comments, in a way in which you would like to receive them yourself, about your own work.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

LU MFA Thesis Guidelines & Enrollment Instructions

Thesis Guidelines are also available on the LU website HERE

When it is time for their final quarter in the MFA program, after receiving the quarterly registration info email, students must post in the Thesis Registration assignment in the MFA Students group in Canvas and request to be enrolled in the Thesis class. Students should also indicate in this post the faculty member they would like to request as their midterm thesis reader (for personalized feedback at midterm). Students will then be registered in the Thesis when registration opens. While the Thesis is primarily a time of independent student writing, it is a 3-credit class that requires participation on Canvas for certain requirements (journal entries/authentication videos, midterm draft submission, final thesis submission, and program survey).

LU MFA Thesis Guidelines
updated 2017

The final three credit hours of the MFA program are devoted to completion of a graduate thesisa final creative writing project that the student produces independently, with midterm feedback from a requested faculty thesis reader.

Final page count will range from 70 to 100 depending on the student's chosen genre; this page count includes a title page and a required 5-page introductory essay. The final thesis is submitted through Canvas toward the end of the quarter.

The thesis content is flexible to ensure that each student is able to create a final project that best reflects his or her preferred writing style and content. The thesis may be a collection of poetry, short fiction, or creative nonfiction/personal essays; it may be a novella; or it may be an excerpt from a novel or memoir. Students may also choose to combine genres (for example, a thesis may include both poetry and short fiction); however, all components should feel cohesive in some way (thematically, stylistically, reflective of the writer's voice, etc.overall connections among pieces can be discussed in the intro essay) to ensure a polished final project.

Note: If a student’s chosen thesis genre is scriptwriting, permission must be obtained from the Director at the time of thesis registration. A new script must be written for the thesis, and it cannot exceed 100 pages. The full script written during the on-campus scriptwriting cluster cannot be revised and used as a final thesis project.

Approximately 50% of the thesis may include revisions of pieces that have been workshopped during the MFA program; at least 50% should be new work that has not been workshopped in the program. The final thesis should be publishable work.

Students enrolled in the thesis will log into Canvas several times during the quarter, click on Modules, and click on the appropriate module for instructions and information. Three modules require a journal entry; others remind students to continue writing with upcoming deadlines in mind.

Thesis Progress & Feedback
The thesis is intended to be primarily a time of independent writing for the student. This allows the student to transition from the workshop environment to the post-MFA writing environment. At the beginning of the quarter, a student enrolled in the thesis will complete a video journal entry in Canvas explaining the intended concept for his or her thesis. The student will write independently for the first half of the quarter, periodically logging into Canvas to check the Modules page for journal assignments and thesis due dates.

At midterm, the student will upload a thesis draft in Canvas (draft page count is flexible). The Director will forward this work to the assigned midterm reader for feedback. The midterm reader’s comments will be emailed to the student within one to two weeks. The student will spend the remainder of the quarter revising, developing, and polishing the creative content; the student will also write the 5-page introductory essay during this time.

The completed thesis (a single document including the cover page and the 5-page introductory essay) will be uploaded in Canvas toward the end of the quarter for final approval by the Director of the MFA in Writing Program. The specific due date will be listed in Canvas. The Director will email students one of three possible responses: Approval with no edits required; minor edits suggested before the end of the quarter; or suggestion to take the Thesis Extension. If the student elects to take the Extension, the cost is $150, and it allows an additional quarter for the student to revise and complete the thesis. Students may enroll in an extension up to three times if needed.

Introductory Essay 
The thesis project must include a 5-page essay introducing the thesis, describing the over-arching theme or connecting voice for your project, and reflecting on the journey you have taken as a writer, culminating in this final writing project. You may reflect on your writing interests and experiences before entering the MFA program as well as your time in the program. You can discuss insights you have gained about writing craft or your own writing process. You may include acknowledgements of people who have been supportive or instructive in your journey as a writer. You may discuss books or writers who have inspired you, and you may include quotes from writers you admire (use MLA format for direct quotes). You may include examples of your own creative writing to illustrate points you make about your growth as a writer. Ideally, the introductory essay should be written at midterm or later in the quarter.

Final Requirements For Thesis Completion
Before a grade can be submitted for the thesis, all students must complete the program survey as the final Journal assignment in Canvas. Completion of Canvas journal entries and adherence to deadlines throughout the quarter will be factored into the final thesis grade.

Format Guidelines
The final thesis must be uploaded in Canvas by the due date and must be formatted according to the guidelines below:

-The thesis must be uploaded as a single document (at midterm and for final thesis submission). Do not send separate files for individual portions of the thesis.

-The first page of your thesis document should be a title page that lists the overall title for your thesis, your name, and the date of final thesis submission.

-A page number should not appear on the title page (when inserting page numbers, click the box for Different First Page under Design).

-Insert page numbers beginning with page 2; the page number and your last name should be right-aligned at the top of each page.

-After your title page, begin your 5-page introductory essay. After your introductory essay, begin the creative content of your thesis. (Students may include an Acknowledgements page and/or a Table of Contents if desired, but these items are not required.)

-The page count for the final thesis must be between 70 and 100 pages (including cover page and introductory essay). Use a standard font style and size (such as Times New Roman 12pt).

-Double-space the intro essay, and double-space all fiction and essay pieces. Poetry should be single-spaced; print no more than one poem per page.

-Left, right, top, and bottom margins should be set at one inch.

Thesis projects are archived electronically; they are not posted publicly. The student retains all publication rights.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Summer 2016 Class Schedule

Registration begins May 23 at 7am CST. 
All students must reply to Beth's 5/16 registration email before registration begins.
On-Campus Clusters begin the week of July 5.
Online classes begin the week of July 11. 
Summer quarter ends September 23.

NOTE: Course numbers may NOT be repeated for credit. There are no exceptions to this rule as of Summer 2016. Check your transcript in your student portal to ensure that you do not enroll in course numbers you've taken previously. 

On-Campus Clusters:
IMF 54500 / 54600 / 54700 Creative Nonfiction--Andrew Pryor--Tuesday
IMF 57500 / 57600 / 57700 Scriptwriting--Peter Carlos--Monday

Online Classes:

Fiction--Literature Classes:
IMF 54303 Focused Young Adult Lit: Sci-Fi/Fantasy (literature class)--Nicole McInnes
IMF 54302 The Graphic Novel (literature class)--Zachary Vickers
IMF 53701 Magical Realism Literature (literature class)--Eve Jones

Fiction--Workshop Classes:
IMF 52205 Focused Fiction Workshop: Short Stories--Steve Kistulentz
IMF 52200 Focused Fiction Workshop--Kali VanBaale
IMF 54402 Sci-Fi Workshop: The New Weird--Kelli Allen
IMF 51602 Fiction Craft & Workshop--David Hollingsworth

Poetry Classes:
IMF 52700 Selected Emphases in Poetry--Anothai Kaewkaen
IMF 51701 Women Poets--Eve Jones
IMF 52102 Rockstar Poets & Writers--Julia Gordon-Bramer

Creative Nonfiction Classes:
IMF 52302 The Memoir--Wm Anthony Connolly
IMF 56600 Narrative Journalism--Tony D'Souza

THESIS: Students in their final quarter must reply to Beth's 5/16 registration email and must request enrollment in the Thesis. Include the name of the faculty member that you would like to request as your midterm reader. Full Thesis Guidelines (updated for Canvas) are available here.

TEXTBOOK INFO is available HERE.

First Assignment for On-Campus Clusters
First Assignment for Online Classes

Click HERE to view course descriptions sorted by instructor. New classes and new faculty members will be added to this page. 

2016-2017 Academic Calendar

TEACHER GRANT FORMS for Summer 2016 must be returned to Beth by June 1.
See Beth's 5/16 registration email for details.

LU MFA Graduate Reading ~ May 2016

Congratulations to our graduating students for their wonderful readings of their work at our 2016 LU MFA Graduate Reading!