New Programs, New Problems

I reworked the draft, adding some charts and tables to demonstrate that the program wouldn’t require any new dollars. But mostly I substituted abstract nouns for concrete ones, stuffed sentences with nominalizations, and replaced active verbs with passives, violating the rules of writing that students in the M.F.A. program would be expected to follow. —Dennis BaronNew Programs, New Problems (Chronicle)

Note: I added the above links.

I’m not part of Seton Hill’s MFA program, but as the “new media journalism” specialist I was hired to take a leadership role in getting the NMJ program off the ground.

Planning for the program was well underway when I was hired, so my role was mostly writing up or otherwise wrangling together syllabi to flesh out the 8 or so new courses in the NMJ curriculum. Two of the courses hit administrative snags that John never fully explained to me, aside from glancing in the direction of the administration building and giving a sad little sigh every time I brought it up. For a sample syllabus on “New Media Aesthetics,” I had offered a special topic course on “The Documentary Film” because I thought it would fit better in a journalism program, because I thought it would be easier to explain that course to non-experts, and because it’s a genre that interests me; but cinema also fits in with art and communications, so the proposal set up a red flag.

John was very encouraging when I suggested that I supply a version of the syllabus that focused on digital culture instead.

He handled all the final paperwork details for the new slate of courses. As the deadline approached, I sent him an e-mail with about 12 files in different formats, and he filled out all the forms, checking the right boxes and, I presume, providing the right amount of administrativese.