First-Year Writing Program
Graduate Student Teaching
A distinctive feature of Emerson’s MFA in Creative Writing and MA in Publishing & Writing programs is the opportunity for graduate students to gain training and experience in teaching writing as instructors of First-Year Writing courses, as teachers and tutors in community writing projects, as consultants in the college Writing Center, and as contributors to the ongoing development of our curriculum and program.
Eligibility and Hiring
Graduate students who are interested in teaching begin by taking WR600: Teaching College Composition, which is required to apply for positions in FYWP and our community writing projects. This seminar provides a historical context for writing instruction in the U.S. and familiarizes students with writing theory and pedagogy as they write short essays and peer reviews, develop assignment sequences, read and respond to student writing, and design a syllabus. The shared experience of collaborating on curriculum and assignment design introduces students to the participatory ethos of FYWP and program philosophy. Each spring senior FYWP faculty conduct interviews to fill positions across our programs and projects, and all graduate students who have completed WR600 are eligible to apply.
Those hired as FYWP graduate instructors teach the two-semester sequence of undergraduate courses consisting of WR101: Introduction to College Writing in the fall semester, and WR121: Research Writing in the spring semester. Instructors also attend a required weekly practicum and participate in smaller mentoring groups with experienced faculty, along with three full-program meetings per year.
Applicants hired for EmersonWRITES teach creative writing workshops to high school students on Emerson’s campus. The courses are held on Saturdays from October through February and are co-taught.
Those hired as writing consultants in the Writing Center work with undergraduate and graduate student writers, individually and in small groups. Consultants develop and lead workshops for classes across campus, in addition to creating resources and materials for writing across the curriculum.
FYWP instructors are encouraged to publish, present at conferences, and apply to doctoral programs, for all of which senior faculty provide support and resources. Graduate students are also encouraged to undertake directed studies in topics in rhetoric and composition. We value innovation in the classroom, collaboration between colleagues within the program and between academic departments or institutions, and sharing of research and developments with colleagues on campus and beyond. The program offers regular professional development workshops on topics like developing effective CVs, cover letters, and teaching portfolios for a job search, writing successful conference and grant proposals, and applying to PhD programs. All members of FYWP, including the community writing projects, regularly come together for meetings and discussions, creating a collaborative environment committed to ongoing refinement of the intellectual and creative work of teaching writing.