Thesis Practicum

Overview

BCWRIT 599 Thesis Practicum supplements the creative work of BCWRIT 700 Thesis by providing students with mentored opportunities to gain experience as artists and writers.  

The thesis practicum provides students potential community and career pathways while emphasizing that professional development an integral part of the writing life. The experiences developed in this course encourage participants to see themselves as part of a larger conversation that they can enrich through their work. The goal  is for students to graduate from the program with the social networks and professional practices that can support their ongoing creative work.

Students develop individualized plans to practice presenting or performing their artistic work in progress, participate in writing communities through feedback and appreciative critique, submit work to conferences and/or publications, and/or intern at local arts or educational organizations.

Specific activities and professionalization goals will be determined with a student's thesis advisor and recorded in writing in a student's 2nd year plan.

Course Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will gain experience in the ability to: 

  1. Imagine, and begin to build, a relationship to local artistic and writerly community;
  2. Present their work in public or professionalized settings;
  3. Receive feedback on work-in-progress and provide feedback to others;
  4. Develop professional and practical skills specific to career pathways they are interested in;
  5. Explain and enact the role of the writer as an engaged artist, citizen and public scholar

Expectations

Students are required to complete 6 credits of thesis practicum work for the MFA degree.  Normatively, students complete 2-3 credits of BCWRIT 599 Thesis Practicum quarterly, according to the following criteria. Substitutions are allowable for students completing their theses as non-residents, or who have specific priorities and commitments.  All arrangements are negotiated with a student's thesis advisor.

  • Expected: Active attendance and participation at MFA Salons (there are 5 organized Salons in Autumn & Winter quarters) is expected of all thesis students and should be thought of as (roughly) equivalent to 2 credits of the 6 credits of required thesis practicum.
  • Expected: Active attendance and participation at the Fall Convergence (this year hosted in the context of &Now) and Spring Festival is also expected of all thesis students and should be thought of as (roughly) equivalent to 2 credits of the 6 credits of required thesis practicum.
  • Directed: Students should discuss with their thesis advisors at least one other significant practicum project they want to undertake in their thesis year. Some examples include teaching, community service, internships, organizing readings or other event, conferencing, or other customized research. This additional project should be thought of as (roughly) equivalent to the remaining 2 credits of the 6 credits of required thesis practicum.

Grading

This is a Credit/No Credit Course. Grades will be based on a combination of active participation in selected activities, self-assessment in dialogue with your thesis advisor and successful completion of agreed-upon assignments. 

UW criteria for awarding credit: The 1-5 credit range allows for differences among the scope and goals of various participants and coincides with an hourly requirement. During one 10-week quarter, the ratio of weekly hours per elective credit is 6-15 hours per credit.

Credits break down as follows:

  • 6-8 hours/week or 60-89 hours total = 2 credits
  • 9-11 hours/week or 90-119 hours total = 3 credits
  • 12-14 hours/week or 120-149 hours total = 4 credits
  • 15+ hours/week or 150+ hours = 5 credits

Developing a Thesis Practicum Plan

As a credit/no credit course, BCWRIT 599 Thesis Practicum represents a development opportunity where your engagement forms the basis for success.

Firm expectations should be developed in consultation with your thesis advisor and communicated in writing, either by email or through an agreed-upon printed document. In general, the following criteria should serve as guidelines for successful completion of practicum credits.

Typical BCWRIT 599 Thesis Practicum assignments include:

Practicum/Development Plan

Students should complete a Thesis Practicum Plan quarterly, which consists of a 1-2 page description of their practicum’s development objectives and activities. Activities may include directed readings and research, attendance and performance at MFA salons and events, attendance and performance at community events, guided internship and practica experiences in teaching, publishing or other experience in arts, education, or media organizations, and similar. ‘

Within the first week of the quarter—or earlier if desired—students should write and submit a Plan for Thesis Practicum statement, which consists of a 1-2 page description of the practicum plan and anticipated outcomes. The thesis advisor will comment on the plan which, upon approval by both parties, will form a learning contract for the course.

Implementation of Plan/ Practicum Experiences

Practicum activities can vary widely. Typical activities may include: presentation at MFA-organized salons, coupled with reflective dialogue about and/or written responses to critiques received; presentation at other community events, as appropriate and as agreed-upon by the thesis advisors; community, conference, workshop and/or other forms of professional engagement, coupled typically by similar reflective statements and/or dialogue with thesis advisor; teaching exercises, usually conducted in the thesis advisor's classroom and subject to conversation and/or other pedagogical and mentoring interactions.

Students are expected to carry out the proposed practicum over the course of the 10-week quarter, setting a manageable schedule for themselves, and forging a connection with the community they have chosen to engage with. In order to keep faculty abreast of activities with the internship, students will compose a regular email that provides a narrative of their progress-to-date. 

Documentation and Reflection 

Students are expected to document and reflect on their practicum experiences in writing or some combination of visual, auditory, and textual material.  This may take any number of forms: journal, blog, letters to the advisor, or preliminary poetics statements.

Documentation and reflection is an opportunity for students to consider how their activities extend or modify their evolving thesis work and creative practice, how they conceive of the role of the writer with respect to community, audience, and public, where their work-in-progress or other practica experiences succeeded/failed/surprised them in productive ways, and how the venue and arrangement of events furthered some objectives over others.

This documentation and reflection engages with the “why and how” that is central to the program, serving as a statement of poetics for the project itself.

Sample Practicum Planning Template

Autumn Quarter 2019

Sample activities below may be selected, deselected, added to and substituted for.

For additional planning resources, students and advisors can consult the MFA Calendar of Events

Other local literary event and community resources include:

Date Event Selected?

Participation Plan 

(attend, present, produce, assist, etc)

Thurs, Sept 19 
evening
&Now Conference        

Fri, Sept 20
All day

&Now Conference        
Sat, Sept 21
All day    
&Now Conference        
Sun, Sept 22
morning
&Now Conference     
Thurs, Sept 26
7 pm
Ching-In Chen reads, Hugo House        
Fri, Sept 27
7 pm
Reading and Conversation with Ann Lesley Selcer and Amaranth Borsuk        
Wed. Oct 23
6-9 pm
SAL Poetry Reading w/Hanif Abdurraqib    
Thurs, Oct 24
7 pm
Rebecca Brown in Conversation with Ariel Goldberg, Henry Art Gallery    
Wed, Oct 30
7 pm
MFA Salon, UW1-361    
Fri, Nov 5
7-8:30 pm
Gamut Reading Series, Open Books    
Wed, Dec 4
7-10 pm
MFA Salon, Hugo House