Last June2011, I first mentioned Arcadia University as they were preparing for the first ever residency for their newly created low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program. Now that a couple of residencies have passed and another cohort is happily on their way to earning grad degrees, I caught up with Joshua Isard, the Program Director of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Arcadia University.
“We’ve just finished our first residency with our second class, which is great,” Josh said. “More interesting than that, however, is how we’re developing the pedagogy and technology.”
Josh told me how Arcadia is vamping up their online discussion boards and focusing on ways to make their student-faculty communications super-accessible, regardless of how the student logs in and no matter the device. That includes using the discussion boards for weekly workshops.
“Our MFA program is totally accessible on mobile devices,” Josh said. “We've switched from Blackboard to more mobile-friendly discussion software, make use of Google Apps—which Arcadia subscribes to, not just the program—for file sharing and collaboration, and continue to use Skype for one-on-one faculty to student conferences.”
That’s great news for students who can now complete their program on a desktop, laptop, iPad, or other mobile device. It comes down to is accessibility and finding ways to make the MFA life part of the student’s everyday life. As Josh said, “Students really can take their classroom anywhere now.”
Speaking of anywhere… Arcadia has a really cool residency schedule for students who enjoy travel or wish to write with a global perspective. Each cohort experiences three residencies, one of which takes place abroad. That includes Edinburgh, Scotland, and other locations like Umbria, Italy. The other residencies take place at the King of Prussia campus, just outside of Philadelphia.
In addition to residencies, students take between six to nine credits each term and work toward completing a full-length manuscript. Then, with the assistance of mentoring faculty, students design a publication plan to get that completed work out into the world.
Applications for admission in August 2013 are being accepted now, and the priority deadline is March 1. Review the admission requirements before applying.
Residencies for the class of 2015:
- Residency One: Aug. 12-17, 2013 (in King of Prussia)
- Residency Two: July 2014 (abroad in Italy or Scotland)
- Residency Three: Jan. 12-17, 2015 (in King of Prussia)
For more info about the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program at Arcadia University, visit http://www.arcadia.edu/mfa-creative-writing.htm.