MFA HANDBOOK

 

Getting Settled

Checklist
Employment
Establishing Residency
UNCW E-mail
Department Listservs
MFA Student Mailboxes
Student Organizations
Professional Organization
Student Publications
Fellowships and Awards
Travel Grants

Checklist
  • If you are an out-of-state student, see the MFA Handbook section for information on establishing North Carolina residency. Please also see the Graduate School’s Residency Information webpage.
  • On UNCW orientation day, get your UNCW ID card (UNCW OneCard) and buy a parking permit. For both, go to Auxiliary Services (Warwick Center).
  • After you declare your intent to enroll, a UNCW e-mail account will be automatically set up for you. We will rely heavily on UNCW e-mail throughout your time in our program; please activate your account and check it regularly (off-campus addresses will not be used for departmental communication). To activate your e-mail account and for other important information on technology services for students, please visit http://uncw.edu/ITSD/help/newemail.html.
  • If you have questions about student health insurance, contact the Student Health Center in DePaolo Hall.
  • Your Creative Writing Department mailbox is in the back hallway in Kenan Hall, first floor.

Employment

Establishing Residency

If you moved here from out of state specifically to go to school, you are likely to be considered an out-of-state student during your MFA career. If, however, you moved here primarily for another reason (for instance, due to the relocation of your spouse or for a job), you need to begin establishing your residency immediately by:

  • Obtaining a written lease from your landlord.
  • Getting a North Carolina driver’s license.
  • Registering your vehicle with the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (when your current registration expires).
  • Registering to vote in the North Carolina county in which you live.
  • Paying North Carolina state income taxes and filing a state tax return by April 15.

These steps will increase your chances of becoming a North Carolina resident after your first year. The Graduate School’s website offers in-depth information on the residency process, at http://www.uncw.edu/grad_info/Residency_Information.htm

The MFA coordinator will e-mail a reminder in spring semester when it is time for first-year MFA students to apply for in-state residency. If you have questions about the process or your eligibility, please feel free to contact the MFA coordinator or the Graduate School at any time.


UNCW E-mail

All important MFA program announcements – regarding deadlines, course information, job, award and publishing opportunities, invitations to readings and events, and much more – are sent via campus e-mail, to your UNCW e-mail account (see Getting Settled: A Checklist, above). If you do not check e-mail, you will find it difficult to meet your academic obligations, and you will miss out on activities that inspire a sense of fellowship within the department. It is the student’s responsibility to regularly check UNCW e-mail. No special arrangements will be made.

Accessing UNCW E-mail

  • You can check your UNCW e-mail via the web through Outlook Web Access:
  • Go to the UNCW home page: http://www.uncw.edu
  • Click STUDENTS, then click OWA (Outlook Web Access)

You must delete e-mail messages (or file them on your own computer) on a regular basis! When your e-mail fills up, you are no longer able to receive e-mail and will be removed automatically from the listservs.

  • If you experience any difficulty with your UNCW e-mail account, contact the Technology Assistance Center’s Help Desk: 962-HELP (962-4357) for assistance.

Your UNCW e-mail account will be active while you are enrolled and will be deleted automatically when you graduate. After graduation, we will add you to our crwalum listserv if you provide us with a personal e-mail address, so that you can continue to receive news of our community and events for all eternity.


Department Listservs

Listserv Rules

The departmental listservs are a university-sponsored means of communication primarily related to our common educational community and goals. The university’s guidelines regarding e-mail say, in part:

Users may not use electronic communication to harass, stalk, or threaten others, or in similar ways create an atmosphere which unreasonably interferes with the education or employment experience. Generally, communication that is repeated, unsolicited, unwanted or unwelcome may constitute harassment.

The listservs exist so our students, faculty, and staff can be quickly notified of:

  • MFA program information and upcoming deadlines
  • Communication regarding individual courses
  • Campus-wide activities
  • Changing or current school policies
  • Readings and upcoming social events
  • Resources (jobs, rentals, etc.) of general interest to our community
  • Publishing, award, and contest opportunities
  • News items regarding members of our creative community

The listservs should not be used for:

  • Political or religious announcements, grievances, or debates
  • Chain letters
  • Forwarding forwards (jokes, petitions, protest letters, etc.)
  • Personal virus warnings (UNCW will forward any legitimate warnings)

A Note about Student Blogging

Neither UNCW nor the MFA program has any policy regarding student weblogs at this time. As writers, we all support free expression, not to mention the sense of community the blogging world can provide. However, anyone who maintains, posts comments on, or reads blogs should be aware of potential risks to their safety, privacy, and professional standing. If you tweet, blog, or regularly read and comment on others’ blogs, please remember the following:

When you publish or post anything online, it never goes away. Even if it’s only posted for a short time and then deleted, text and images are saved (“cached”) or archived somewhere on the Internet, whether or not you’re aware of it, and will likely be accessible for years to come.

There is no such thing as a secret blog. If you are publishing online, trust that someone in our very large community is reading your words. Do not publish anything you would not want your professors, classmates, students, supervisors, family, future employers, or law enforcement to see. It is true that on your personal blog you do not represent UNCW or our MFA program –but on the flip side, neither can the university protect you from job loss or other liability you may incur on your own. If you are unsure what’s “safe” to say, err on the side of caution.

There is no such thing as anonymity on the Internet. Even if you use a fake name or engage in “anonymous proxy surfing,” your identity can be traced, via legal or unauthorized means.

The Internet is, legally speaking, still the Wild West. Internet law is still very much in flux, and no one, not even the experts, knows how technologies and regulatory measures will develop in the months and years to come. When debating or complaining online, whether on your own blog or elsewhere, remember that certain published speech may go beyond defamation or libel and meet state or federal definitions of threats, stalking, or harassment. Likewise, if you are the recipient of any kind of harassing or provoking communication (whether on your blog, via email, or in any other forum, do not respond or even acknowledge), but do save all material as a PDF file, hard copy, or both, and report the incident to law enforcement.

The above reminders may sound dire or extreme, but these issues affect our community in both immediate and indirect ways. Our concern is for the personal and professional security of every member of our creative community.


MFA Student Mailboxes

Each graduate student has a mailbox located in the corridor in the back of Kenan Hall. Check your mailbox frequently. Any MFA information that does not go out over e-mail will be placed in your mailbox. In addition, the mailbox area is a site for the posting of calls for papers, information on new course offerings, etc. Graduate students are not assigned a mailbox at UNCW Postal Services in the Warwick Center.


Student Organizations

The Creative Writing Graduate Student Association (CRWGSA) is open to all UNCW MFA students, and exists to support and represent your concerns and activities while you are enrolled in our program. CRWGSA sponsors MFA student readings as well as readings by visiting authors, organizes social events, and helps support MFA student travel. The CRWGSA is a great way to get involved within the department and community of writers. It’s also a great way to get to know your peers. All MFA students are automatically considered members of CRWGSA (you don’t need to do anything special to join). Watch your e-mail for announcement of meetings.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is dedicated to improving the lives of all students seeking a graduate degree at UNCW. The membership comes from all graduate degree–granting departments. The GSA works to make the concerns and interests of the graduate student body a driving force in the university. The GSA represents the general interests of graduate students, not individual departments. Previously, the GSA has been responsible for the creation of the Graduate Computer Lab on Randall Library’s 2nd floor and has a program to bring speakers to campus to discuss graduate concerns. The GSA has also spear-headed the initiative for better graduate student health insurance. We urge you to become involved.


Professional Organization

As a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), the largest national nonprofit organization for writers, UNCW’s MFA program receives the AWP Chronicle, a monthly newspaper with a wealth of information of interest to writers and teachers of writing.

Copies will be available near your department mailbox each month. AWP also publishes a monthly Job List, which is invaluable to MFA students nearing graduation. This electronic list of creative writing positions in universities and writing-related employment in the private and non-profit sectors can be accessed each month online at http://www.awpwriter.org, in the members-only eLink area of the site. While you are a student in our MFA program, we sponsor your membership in AWP, so watch your UNCW e-mail account for notification of your membership ID and password, which you need to access the Job List and other members-only areas of the AWP website.


Student Publications

An MFA program is measured by the success of its students and graduates, and your publications are always reason for celebration. On our website, we maintain a bibliography of work published by our students and graduates. In addition, we send out a monthly announcement that focuses on these successes. If you place a story, poem, essay, or book, please be sure to email Lisa Bertini (bertinil@uncw.edu) with complete publication information.


Fellowships And Awards

For more information about scholarships and financial aid, please see http://www.uncw.edu/writers/mfa/Scholarships.html.

Travel Grants

There are several types of funding available to help support graduate-student travel:

Graduate School Grants

If you are presenting a paper, participating on a panel at a conference, or giving an “invited reading” of your work at a conference or festival, you are eligible for up to $400 in Graduate School travel funding. The eligibility details and application form for these grants are on the Graduate School website at: http://www.uncw.edu/gradschool/currentstudents/travelaward.html. You must be presenting at an event, not simply attending, to be eligible for these grants. Students normally will be awarded no more than one such grant per academic year.

Graduate Student Association (GSA) Grants

If you are planning thesis-related research travel, you are eligible for a Graduate Student Association (GSA) grant of up to $400. The application form and instructions are on GSA's website at: http://student.uncw.edu/org/gsa/formpolicies.html. If you are a first- or second-year student and don’t yet have a thesis director, the MFA coordinator, department chair, or another faculty member who is familiar with your work can write the required letter attesting to the necessity of the travel for your project.

If you plan simply to attend a conference, such as AWP’s Annual Conference, but are not presenting or reading at that conference, you are also eligible for a Graduate Student Association (GSA) grant; follow application procedures mentioned above. In addition, the Creative Writing Graduate Student Association (CRWGSA) also sometimes helps support travel for attendance at the annual AWP conference. To be eligible for CRWGSA travel funding, you must attend CRWGSA meetings, which are announced via e-mail to the crwmfa listserv.

Department of Creative Writing Grants

Occasionally our department can offer limited travel funding to help MFA students whose travel is not covered by other types of grants, above, or to augment a Graduate School or GSA travel grant a student has already received.

For each source of funding described above, you must apply for the grant and get approved well in advance of your travel. Once your travel funding is approved, you must notify Lisa Bertini in the CRW office. Please see the most recent travel reimbursement instructions by clicking here.



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