The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Anonymous and Insightful: On Promoting Doctoral Programs

Submitted by syntaxfactory on May 9, 2013 - 9:04am

From another site (anonymous):

When I was an MA student, I remember sending out emails to people I really wanted to work with in PhD programs. One rhetoric person in particular--someone I really wanted to work with--wrote back to tell me that her program really wasn't a good place for me. She was in a "very traditional English Department," where people focused on literature in pretty traditional ways.

At the time, I remember feeling like her answer was strange. Didn't she want a student to work with her? Wouldn't she, a rhetoric scholar, want to have a rhetoric PhD student there?

Now, however, I feel like I really understand and appreciate her response. Of course she'd want more rhetoric students, but she also knew that traditional English Departments are not good places for people interested in studying rhetoric. She knew I wouldn't be able to thrive there as well as a program that was more welcoming and forward-thinking for non-literature students.

Telling potential students that they shouldn't apply to your program takes a lot of nerve. And honesty. And selflessness. More of us should probably be doing it more often.

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