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MFA program named one of the top in the nation

MFA program named one of the top in the nation

The Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing at McNeese State University has been named one of the Top 50 MFA programs in the United States, according to a ranking released in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers magazine.

The MFA program, housed in the Department of English and Foreign Languages in the College of Liberal Arts, is listed at No. 40 in the 2012 Poets & Writers Top 50 MFA Programs.

"Last year, McNeese was recognized as one of the 'most underrated' MFA programs, which was a major recognition, but not in the top 50," said Dr. Jacob Blevins, department head. "This year, however, Poets and Writers has ranked McNeese's program as No. 40 in the nation, better than major programs at Columbia, Boston University, University of South Carolina, University of New Mexico and University of Massachusetts."

Another valuable selling point for McNeese's program is that it was also ranked No. 28 in job placement of its MFA graduates, according to Blevins.

"As department head, what I find most encouraging is our high job placement ranking. What it shows is that not only are we helping our students to become better writers but we are also successful in preparing them to become good teachers and professionals," Blevins said.

Blevins said the rankings are based on both quantitative and qualitative data, such as funding amount, percentage of graduate students funded, faculty accomplishments, applicant pool surveys, teaching opportunities, visiting writer opportunities for students, etc.

"The increase in notoriety can largely be attributed to the efforts of Amy Fleury, our current MFA director and poet, and the arrival of our new fiction professor, Alex Taylor," said Blevins.

This news also happens to come during the 30th anniversary year of McNeese's MFA program, established in 1981. "The program is recognizing alumni this year with various readings from former students and faculty, who are or have been associated with the program," he added.

"An MFA program is only as good as its students, and we've long known that McNeese has some of the very best student-writers coming from all over the country, said Fleury. "McNeese has always fostered a small, intimate and supportive environment while maintaining rigorous standards, which is the original vision of our program founder, John Wood. Our alumni have gone on to publish widely and well and teach at colleges and universities around the nation. The unofficial tag line we've used for years is 'MFA's best kept secret.' Now the secret's getting out and we hope for the continued growth of the program and success of our students."

Students can choose to major in either fiction or poetry and have the opportunity to work with published faculty and visiting award-winning writers and poets.

For more information, visit the MFA program website.