I have been quite busy in the last few months working on many class projects, writing projects, and researching many possibilities for changes to my department’s way of evaluating students for their Masters degree. So sorry that I have not been on to write in a while.
A class project that I am doing this semester is working in the CSU, Sacramento Special Collections Library with a 15th Century manuscript, which is a single sheet double sided ripped from a book and sold off by collectors. The collector did not know what the actual book was and was only interested in selling off pages of the manuscript for money. Our text was originally thought to be a “psaltiarium” from a 15th Century book. Working with two other classmates to determine where the text actually came from, what the words are on the page (originally written in Latin), translating the Latin into English to figure out what text it actually came from. This project was started by our professor Dr. Kim Zarins (author of Sometimes We Tell the Truth published by SimonPulse) for her ENGL 240A- Chaucer class as a way of furthering our knowledge of Medieval manuscripts and as a way of preparing for doctoral programs, where we will probably be working with original manuscrips for our Ph.Ds. If you are reading this Dr. Zarins, yes, I did just plug for your class and your first novel.
My second project was editing, revising, and presenting my research findings from a literary analysis paper on Walt Whitman’s Third Edition of Leaves of Grass, which inclded his “Children of Adam” (Enfans d’Adam) cluster and the “Calamus” cluster the two clusters are the equivalent of Heterosexual and Homosexual experience respectively. My research was specifically on the “Calamus” cluster and the title of my research paper is “Whitman’s ‘Calamus’ Cluster in the Third Edition of the Leaves of Grass: The Closeted Homosexual Experience”, which was a fifteen page paper originally, was presented at the Student Reseach Symposium at California State University, Sacramento on March 4th, 2019 at 10:20AM.
The Third project has been looking at all CSU campuses English M.A. programs to see how they evalute their students to grant a Masters of the Arts in English. Our current methods at CSU, Sacramento are 1) Thesis and 2) Comprehensive Exam, both of the current options have some significant draw backs for our students and the department. The first draw back for students is the fact that a student needs a 3.7 GPA to write a thesis and find two readers willing to read the piece of work that will be published in our library for you M.A. The GPA cap and the finding readers are both in existance because faculty members in our department are not compinsated to read thesises, meaning that they are not being given release time or being paid for the hours that they put into being a reader for students work. So, this option is extremely limiting in who can write a thesis instead of taking a five hour written exam on 40 texts and 5 theoretical texts. The Exam option is very challenging because students are doing a timed writing and being forced to memorize over 40 texts and be able to pump out three lengthly essays on the texts in just a small five hour time frame. Some of the texts the student may never have been exposed to in our classes or in their academic career up to this point. The exam is an archaic way of testing students knowledge as a way to meet old academic standards from a formalist approach, we at CSUS do not teach timed writing in our M.A. classes, so the question becomes why have this exam? The exam is another way that faculty members get around the not being compinsated delema, it is only a small amount of readers reading the exam.