Mason's MFA Program has approximately 45-50 TA and related slots, each of which pays a stipend of $16,000 for the nine-month academic year. Positions also carry a full tuition waiver (worth more than $30,000 over the course of the program) and full health insurance.
TA's have the opportunity to teach creative writing courses if they follow the normal sequence of TA training, which thoroughly prepares graduates to enter the highly competitive college-teaching market. Opportunities to teach creative writing are typically offered to third-year TAs and vary depending on demand.
The sequence: First-year TAs tutor in the Writing Center during their first academic year. TAs move to the classroom in their second academic year teaching composition in the first semester and undergraduate literature in the second semester. TAs may apply to teach an introductory creative writing in the fall of their third academic year and move on to teach a genre-specific workshop in the spring. TAs may also opt to continue teaching undergradaute composition and literature courses.
TAs are prepped and mentored through their tutoring and teaching experience at Mason with exceptional tutor training (the week before the start of fall classes each year), mentoring from faculty, and pedagogical coursework. ENGH 610 and ENGH 615 prepare TAs for the composition and literature classroom and provide a place for discussion about issues in the classroom as they arise. ENGH 615 is taken the spring semester prior to entering the classroom. ENGH 610 is taken the following spring as TAs simultaneously teach literature for the first time.
ENGH 615: Proseminar in Composition Instruction focuses on the methods of teaching expository writing and includes consideration of planning courses, practice in teaching and grading papers, and study of recent developments in the teaching of writing.
ENGH 610: Proseminar in Teaching the Reading of Literature focuses on the methods of teaching literature and includes study of methods of literary analysis, and ways of developing student responses to literature, with some classroom practice.
MFA TAs who carry a course load of at least 6 credit hours and a full-time assistantship paying at least $10,000 are eligible for health insurance paid for by the university. TAs who have dependents or spouses in need of health insurance may purchase additional coverage.
New-hire TAs and continuing TAs must enroll themselves in Aetna's subsidized student health insurance plan each calendar year. Listserv announcements each year list deadlines for enrollment/re-enrollment.
Read more about Mason's Subsidized Graduate Healthcare.
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