The Department of English’s graduate students have served as the spine of our publicly engaged undergraduate curriculum, acting as teaching assistants and instructors for a variety of courses with service learning and publishing components. Graduate students have incorporated service learning within ENGL 1501W Literature of Public Life and ENGL 3741 Literacy and American Cultural Diversity classes, composition instruction, and even Introduction to Shakespeare classes (“He’s nothing if not a fantastic social commentator”—Mitch Ogden, PhD 2008). Doctoral students also serve as the instructor for ENGL 3351 VG: Voices from the Gaps: Writing and Art by Women of Color, helping undergraduates research, write, and produce web pages for the popular VG website.
Graduate students have been mentored by faculty involved with public engagement, especially as TAs for ENGL 1501W and ENGL 3741 sections. First year teaching assistants receive information about public engagement pedagogy though their weekly teaching practicum. They can also review sample syllabi by clicking on the Teaching Resources link on the left navigation bar.
In addition, our MFA Creative Writing Program students are encouraged to apply for the Scribe for Human Rights Fellowship, which supports an MFA student to work with the Human Rights Program as a writer-in-residence. The Scribe learns the issues involved in the Program’s public human rights work, then uses this experience to write an article for publication for a large audience. The Human Rights Program and the Creative Writing Program inaugurated the Scribes for Human Rights fellowship in January 2006. Three Scribes have since benefited from the Fellowship.
In terms of our publishing programs, in 2001 MFA students founded the new media journal of the arts Dislocate. Edited and marketed entirely by its MFA student staff, Dislocate is an international journal committed to publishing high-quality work in many different styles and forms, featuring both established and emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Graduate students have also assisted Creative Writing Program professor Ray Gonzalez, the editor of Luna, a journal of poetry of translation. Finally, an MFA student acts as the instructor for the ENGL 3711/3712 Literary Magazine Production Labs, in which undergraduate students create the University of Minnesota’s art and literary magazine Ivory Tower.