Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mills College Graduate Assistantship in Community Poetics

Tight deadline but not impossible. Please forward to anyone considering applying to MFA in poetry programs.

Mills College Graduate Assistantship in Community Poetics

Mills College is pleased to introduce a two-year, full-tuition assistantship to one student pursuing a master of fine arts (MFA) degree in poetry beginning fall 2011. Candidates for the assistantship will design and implement a poetry-related community project during the course of their two-year degree program. The assistantship does not require a teaching commitment. Under the mentorship of Mills' renowned faculty, the successful candidate will have the unique experience of pursuing his/her MFA degree while implementing a community poetics project of his/her own design. This is a high-profile opportunity to explore poetry's possibilities for transformative dialogue---at Mills and beyond.


Continuing the Mills tradition of experimentation in graduate education, this newly created assistantship is designed to support the development of innovative, even risky, ways of teaching and/or presenting poetry. As the number of full-time teaching positions in higher education decline across the United States, Mills seeks to explore the possibilities of making poetry available outside traditional academic confines to broaden access to the art form and utilize it as a force for social change.

This assistantship aligns with the goals of the existing Mills Community Teaching Project which offers students the opportunity to teach residents in the communities surrounding the College. Mills graduate students lead writing workshops in a variety of alternative venues, including after-school programs, elder homes, community centers,
half-way houses, lock-down facilities, and battered-women's shelters.

Proposals should not replicate the Community Teaching Project but should re-imagine poetry's socially transformative possibilities. Applicants are encouraged to imagine a project that in some way propels poetry into
new encounters outside the academy. Some examples of projects that inspired the creation of this assistantship include Mark Nowak's poetry workshops with auto workers in the US and South Africa, Heriberto Yepez's public poetry signage in Tijuana, and June Jordan's Poetry for the People.

Application Instructions

Applicants should follow and complete the usual application processes for the MFA in Poetry by the priority application deadline of December 15.

In addition to those materials, they should submit 
  • a maximum 1,000-word proposal that outlines a project they would like to pursue during the two-year MFA program. Proposed projects could explore new ways of teaching poetry, expanding arts access, and promoting social change. The proposed project needs to be executed during the timeframe of the student's MFA program. It can be a continuation of work the applicant is already doing.
  • They should also submit a CV or resume that demonstrates any relevant experience and skills. The proposal and CV or resume should be submitted separately from the program application materials.
Assistantship proposals and CV or resume can be submitted by going to:

The assistantship in Comminity Poetics is listed on slideroom along with multiple assistantships the deparment offers, and applicants to the MFA in Poetry program are encouraged to apply for the Community Poetice
assistant ship as well as any other graduate assistantships in which they are interested. Please note that each student may only be awarded one assistantship position for the academic year. Please also note that all other available assistantships carry an award of $3,000/semester or $6,000 for the academic year and are awarded in addition to any need-based scholarships students may be awarded. The Assistantship in Community Poetics is the only full assistantship offered by the MFA in Creative Writing at Mills College at this time.

NOTE: There is a $10.00 total submission fee to apply for this and any other assistantships online via SlideRoom; though we prefer that mode, and we think applicants might find it easier to manage the application. However, if the $10.00 fee causes a hardship, contact Stephanie Young by email and include a statement about why you need to waive the application fee.

Judging Criteria

Proposals will be judged based on:

    1. Creativity
    2. Potential for social impact/change

Deadline: December 15, 2010

Questions please contact:

Stephanie Young, English Graduate Programs Coordinator

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