Florida State University Rhetoric and Composition Program: Introduction
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Florida State University Rhetoric and Composition Program: Introduction

August 23, 2019

In the Rhetoric and Composition Graduate Program
here, our joke is that we’re the “Cheers” program where everybody knows your name, which
is a way of saying that we have a strong sense of community. That means that if you do well, people are
happy for you. There is a lot of collaboration as well, which
we might think of as part of community, or we might think of it as something separate. But, it means that people are presenting together,
they’re authoring together, they’re just enjoying one another’s company. It doesn’t always have to be about work, though
it’s a lot about work. I think we have such a fine curriculum that
provides a scholarly and a practical understanding of the field. Another distinguishing feature of the Rhet-Comp
Program at FSU its size. I think it reflects the best of both worlds. There are some aspects of a large program
here in terms of the number of faculty and what we can bring to the program and the opportunities
students have in terms of teaching and learning, but it’s intimate, so students can experience
something like a small program as well. I think that graduate students can definitely
expect to encounter a dynamic and challenging curriculum to prepare them for a career in
Rhetoric and Composition. In addition, I think that they can also expect
to be mentored by and supported by the faculty who are here and specializing in the field. They will have a sense of themselves growing
as teachers, as scholars, and as professionals in the field as a result of that. We’re a program that’s going to challenge
what you think you know, right? And, you know, it’s not so much like some
programs: I’m going to break you down to nothing and then build you back up, but to challenge
what you think you know and have you add onto that and grow. We’re a mid-sized program that has enough
people so that there is a diversity of thought and ideas, but we’re small enough where we
can show each and every person who comes into the program a lot of personal attention and
help them meet their individual goals. Florida State is a place where people that
are alumns of the program are invested in meeting the newer graduate students, and so
it creates this longitudinal trajectory of that intellectual community I was just talking
about. And I think that’s really important as you
first start out, but I also think that as that intellectual community grows that you
also have those connections when you’re on the job market and things like that so it’s
not just the initial, but it helps you throughout your graduate career. I think over the course of a graduate student’s
career here there are two things that they can count on: one is a healthy sense of rigor,
but also a sense of mentoring. And I think the mentoring goes two ways: we
try to specialize in vertical and also horizontal mentoring so that they’ll get quite a bit
of mentoring from the faculty members here. They’ll get quite a bit of mentoring from
their peers if they’re willing. In our program students can look forward to,
number one, a community and a support structure that I think is unparalleled. The second thing that graduate students can
look forward to is opportunity, in terms of scholarship, opportunities for graduate students
to teach in upper division undergraduate courses, opportunities for students to discover if
they enjoy admin, if this is where their professional identity might take them. So, community and opportunity.

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