About the Symposium

In an effort to reflect upon and respond to the current national conversation about graduate education in literary studies, the Department of English at Michigan State University is hosting this symposium for CIC and regional graduate program directors on "The Futures of the English PhD." The event is supported through the MSU English Department's participation in the Council of Graduate School's "PhD Completion Project," and is scheduled for May 14-15, 2010, in East Lansing, Michigan.

This two-day event is designed to focus on the intertwined futures of humanities education, academic employment, and the state of the discipline in a time of intense budgetary compression and revisioning. We intend to provide a forum for a discussion of best practices in a rapidly changing doctoral evnironment, especially as programs are increasingly asked to re-imagine their mission, gauge their viability, and, in some cases, justify their existence. Our hope is that by initiating a conversation with our peer institutions in the CIC and beyond, we can better understand the particular regional exigencies of this crisis and examine the ever-changing profession that our graduate students are preparing to enter.

Our keynote speakers, Sidonie Smith (University of Michigan) and Evan Watkins (University of California, Davis), have both written eloquently about the state of the discipline and the future of higher education. Their keynote remarks are intended to provoke questions about specific aspects of doctoral education. Other participants include directors of graduate study from CIC and regional English graduate programs, department chairs, and interested faculty and graduate students, many of whom will be reporting on current practices and future plans in their home departments. 

Symposium Details

The Futures of the English PhD Symposium will take place on May 14-15, 2010 at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University Campus.
For specific times and locations, check the Symposium Schedule.
For more information on the MSU campus, the Kellogg Center and East Lansing, or for directions to the conference site, check the Directions and Lodging link.


Keynote Speakers:
          Sidonie Smith, Department Chair, University of Michigan and current MLA president.
          Evan Watkins, Professor, University of California-Davis.
          For more detailed information, check the Keynote Speakers link.

Universities in Attendance:
          University of Michigan                    Western Michigan University
          Michigan State University               University of Illinois - Chicago 
          Notre Dame University                    Indiana University  
          Ohio State University                      Purdue University
          Case Western University