If you haven’t already, please send me your thesis blog url and be sure to post about how it is going thus far. I will be syndicating your blogs in to this site shortly.
Some of you are just starting the process of discovery and invention for this thesis project. And some of you are well on your way, and have various elements “in the can.” At this stage, you can all take a look at the “Early MA Proposal” document shared on this site. I will speak with each of you individually about your project ideas, and that should serve as the basis for the formal articulation of your project. If you are well down the road with the project, this will be a good “check back in” kind of exercise to think about where you started and where you are going. For some of you, this will be the motivation to get some early ideas down more formally. Please follow the guidelines posted in the Early MA Thesis Proposal Document in order to get the most out of this exercise.
Thesis proposal documents should be sent to Dr. Zamora and fellow MA thesis colleagues by Feb. 14th. When we meet that night, we will conduct an informal peer review. We will consider each of your proposals (in whatever state it is in at the time). Since you are at various stages in this process, this will be a good time to touch base with all three projects and learn from each other as each project takes shape or (shapes up with more nuance and specificity) in a unique way. Each of you can learn something from considering each other’s proposal approach, no matter how “early” or “late” in the process your proposal might be.
I want to draw to your attention the opportunity to showcase your work at Kean Univerity Research Days which takes place in April on campus. “Research Days” at Kean is a special time when both faculty and students celebrate the research that is being done at Kean. Please consider sharing your work at this gathering. More information below:
Here is a brief video which offers a glimpse of last year’s Kean Research Days proceedings:
We can talk about what you might want to present at Research Days and formulate a plan for sure!
We have all gained some momentum in our one-on-one conferences for the past few weeks. Each of you has an individualized plan for the semester – some of you are in the editorial and proofreading phase, some of you are in the discovery and invention phase, and some of you are in the writing/implementation phase. These conferencing moments will be key to your continued progress. With that support in place, what is most crucial is your own dedication to your work in a steady committed fashion. Map out your own timeline, and schedule your “thesis work” time into your weekly schedule.
Each of your reflection blogs has been a pleasure to read – remember they serve as an important record of your process throughout and can also be a component of your final thesis submission (sort of like a process-oriented appendix).
For my new thesis students, keep in mind the benchmarks to complete this semester: -Early Proposal, -Lit Review, -Methodology. Please remember that the writing and research process for a project like this is inherently more intuitive and unscripted than the mere adherence to such benchmarks, but they are in place (for now) in order to GENERATE the foundation for the work.
Here is a link to the peer review protocol. Soon you will have some weekly conference time to conduct a peer review session. I plan to have you all participate in a round-robin peer review session of each other’s work on October 25th. We will make sure to coordinate a swap of key thesis materials to complete this work. In short, you will continue to revise your own work, but take a pause to work together in order to receive the benefit of peer feedback. Remember to please respond as a fellow writer and as a reader, in a spirit of helpfulness and respect. Share observations of what you notice in your colleagues proposal and/or draft work, but also share observations of what you notice occurs inside of you as you read the writer’s text. What questions emerge? What connections do you make as a result of the writer’s inquiry? I believe this approach to feedback will be helpful to each of you.
Looking forward to continuing our conference style seminar with each of you. I will share with you the parameters of the peer view session during our earlier meetings this month.
Writing a thesis is not easy. There are many twists and turns in the road, roadblocks do come up, and there are unforeseen landscapes that cannot be imagined until you cover ground and truly travel. That said, the more time you have on the road, the more of chance you will have to discover. I have no doubt that each of you will eventually “arrive” at the place of your own design. A place of insight and learning. A place where perhaps the outcomes were not the ones you originally anticipated.
I look forward to working with each of you as you set a course and cover some significant ground on your own terms as you develop your culminating project for your Masters of Arts degree. I am here to provide feedback, resources, and insight. Sometimes you get further along the road due to insightful feedback during a conversation, and sometimes you surge forth due to a long session of engaged reading & research. And sometimes inspiration hits at the most unlikely times ;). I hope you will experience all of this.
The MA in Writing Studies @KeanUniversity is inherently a “customizable” degree, and I encourage each of you to follow a course for which you feel a spark of commitment and passion. I also encourage you to take risks in pursing forms of learning that matter to you personally. In my own experience, this is the place from which meaningful transformation is born. And if you are going to work hard at something, why not make it both meaningful and transformative on your own terms?
The site will serve to organize some shared resources for supporting your writing process while connecting our learning. It is also a showcase of your work this year (in progress).