Mentoring Quick Guide:
The DGS, ICaP, and main English offices are always ready and willing to advise students and their mentors about any departmental or university requirements or questions. But because many students will naturally go to their major professors first, we’ve put together a quick cheat-sheet to some of the most common queries that come up.
For MAs: Students should finish their 30 credits of coursework and the language requirement within two years, at the end of which they may either take the MA exam or defend a thesis.
For MFAs: Students should finish their 30 credits of coursework within two years. Ideally the language requirement should also be finished in this interval. Students then have a third year to compose and defend an original creative thesis project.
For PhDs: Think 2:1:2 – Students have two years for coursework, one for exams (prelims in the fall and the prospectus defense in the spring), and two years for dissertating. Ideally the language requirement will also be completed within the two coursework years, but, in any case, students cannot advance to ABD status without it.
This is treated in detail in the grad manual, but here’s a nutshell version:
There are many ways to fulfill the requirement, but they essentially boil down to taking coursework, passing an exam, or being a native speaker of a language other than English (this requires the approval of advisor and DGS). MFA students may also elect to do a translation project (see grad manual for details). MFA students who began their programs in 2018-2019 or later are recommended, but not required, to fulfill the language requirement; all other students in all programs must fulfill it. To fulfill the language requirement, a language needs to be modern (e.g., not Latin: if you would like to petition to use an ancient language, contact the DGS), and spoken by humans (i.e., we do not accept programming languages).
Purdue offers a number of graduate-level language classes; to use one for the requirement, students need to earn a B- or higher. Incoming students may also be able to satisfy the requirement through a major or minor done at the undergraduate level, or through a language requirement undertaken during a previous MA degree. Consult the DGS office in such cases.
All MA and MFA students admitted before 2018-2019 cannot graduate without fulfilling the language requirement, even if they’ve fulfilled every other requirement. PhD students cannot advance to ABD status without fulfilling the language requirement. For these reasons, we strongly urge students and their advisors to plan for this requirement earlier rather than later.
First of all, we have travel support: remind them to apply for it!
It is best for students not to miss their teaching obligations during the semester; however (just as with their professors), we know this is sometimes unavoidable, and we want our students to represent Purdue in the outside world proudly and with confidence. Students should do everything possible to minimize missed classes, and they must inform the relevant directors if they need to miss class for any reason (illness, travel, FMLA, etc.). Students are entitled to 10 days of paid leave within a 12-month period, excluding FMLA leave.
For ICaP: Linda Haynes
For lit or film classes: Barbara Dixon
For CW classes: Brian Leung
For PW classes: Michael Salvo
Students should try to arrange for their own substitutes, but program directors also stand ready to help them with this as needed.
Important: as per university policy, any student missing more than 22 days of class will be dropped from payroll retroactive to the first missed class date.
*But what if the student is teaching 106Y or another online course?
By vote of the graduate committee and English department faculty, we adopted the following policy in 2018.
Teaching in absentia policy:
Students teaching online for Purdue English for the first time are expected to be in residence while they are teaching, whether during the summer or the regular school year. In the case of experienced online teachers, teaching in absentia, for all or part of any term, requires a strong record of teaching and successful progress towards degree. Graduate teaching assistants must apply in advance and in writing, explain the need for this request, and include the consent of their major professor. Students will need to complete a request for a “Change of Duty Station” (formerly the RLA form) via the business office, which must be approved by the relevant program director, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate School. Graduate teaching assistants teaching in absentia are expected to maintain their visibility within the Purdue community, and to commit to high levels of communication with the Department. Such students must make all necessary arrangements for network access, accommodation of time differences, and account for any other predictable eventualities caused by travel and distance.
The Plan of Study should be filed in October of a student’s second year (i.e., in the third semester). Details vary by degree and program, so check with the grad manual or DGS office, but here are a few constants:
- Students need 30 credits (10 classes)
- To count on the Plan of Study, a class must be worth 3 credits, and must be graded (no S/U or P/NP)
- Students may use up to two 590 classes (to use more, you will need to petition the DGS)
- Students may, under some circumstances, use a language class on the PoS, but only if it is not being used to fulfill the language requirement
And please remember that the Plan of Study is easy to amend. Its purpose is not to lock students into a course of study early on, but rather to make sure they’re on track and have a valid pathway to finish their course of study on time. Substituting courses, adding or changing committee members, etc. are perfectly normal actions; just see the DGS office for the necessary form.
Generally speaking, and pertaining only to employment via the English department and Writing Lab, the answer is "not really." International students may never work in excess of a 0.5 FTE appointment, unless they have a CPT internship arrangement. In some cases, it may be desirable for domestic students working a 0.5 FTE to take on some limited additional hourly work; this should not, in general, exceed 6-8 hours / week. As for quarter-time appointments, it is legally possible for domestic students to take them on if they are making good progress to degree and have the advisor's written permission (Janeen has the form). But we strongly discourage this practice, as it is not healthy for time-to-degree. Further, students will be allowed to teach more than a 0.5 appointment (as opposed to combining teaching and some other hourly form of work) only in rare and exceptional circumstances.
Working over 0.75 time requires the consent of both the adviser and the DGS – and is discouraged.
Working over a 100% appointment is forbidden by the Graduate School.
That’s why we have a DGS office! Send them to us; we can either help or put them in touch with others who can.
There are always copies available in the DGS office, and it’s accessible online as well.