Choosing and Preparing for Your MALS Courses
What courses should I take?
How can I be sure that I have registered for the correct version of Models of Critical Inquiry?
Should I take both required courses this first term or only one of them?
What if my form of financial aid requires me to carry a specific amount of credit?
When is orientation?
What does orientation cover?
How do I prepare for the orientation?
When and where will the residency take place?
What will the residency cover?
How do I prepare for the residency?
Most students begin the Master of Arts program in Liberal Studies with the first two required courses: Seminar in Liberal Studies and Models of Critical Inquiry.
Seminar in Liberal Studies orients you to the requirements of graduate-level critical thinking and writing. New schools of thought such as multiculturalism, post-modernism, and feminism have challenged older assumptions about knowledge. Interdisciplinary approaches have reconfigured the relationships among formerly separate fields. Seminar will familiarize you with some of these developments. It will allow you to locate yourself among the ideas and inquiries that make up contemporary academic life and to articulate your questions and curiosity, considering the relationship of liberal studies to your own personal, intellectual, and professional trajectory.
Models of Critical Inquiry is designed to help you more fully develop the competencies necessary for graduate-level critical reading, writing, and thinking. A major theme is paradigms and paradigm shifts; Models examines the various lenses through which phenomena are perceived, interpreted, and given meaning as well as the tensions, debates, and relationships between different ways of knowing the world.
We offer different sections of Models of Critical Inquiry from which to choose. All share the same pre-residency assignment, introduced at orientation and on the web pages of the online part of your course. All sections focus on the ways knowledge and power interact in historical and social contexts to produce particular paradigms for interpreting the world and how these paradigms shift over time. All sections include a graduate research paper assignment later in the term. You can choose the section that is the best fix for you and this information is available through the online registration page on MyESC.
You will register for your section of Models by selecting the topic of greatest interest to you. Each interest topic is led by a different course instructor. The different Models topics available are described in the online registration system list of term courses.
Graduate courses are challenging and time consuming. Time management will likely be an issue for you whether you take one course or both. If you work full-time, have a young family, and have not done academic work in a long time, you might do well to take only Seminar in Liberal Studies your first term. Many entering liberal studies students take both courses and succeed.
Because of financial aid, some students need to take a minimum of either two courses or three courses each term. If this is your situation, there are a number of variable-credit course options. Contact the core faculty in your closest Liberal Studies location (listed below) to help you decide what elective(s) will best complement your core course(s) and fit your academic needs and goals. It is important to note that the majority of financial aid packages require that the student be enrolled in at least 5cr per term. If you are not sure what your package requires, please check with the Financial Aid Office.
Orientations for new students will take place as follows:
January 17, 4 - 7 pm
Metropolitan Center, Manhattan
Core faculty: Diane Gal (845) 563-9905, x3459
Fifth floor front desk: (212) 647-7800
January 16, 5 - 8 pm
Northeast Center, Latham
Core faculty: Anastasia Pratt (518) 564-2841
Front Desk (518) 783-6203
The January 16 orientation session in Syracuse has been cancelled. If you have any questions, please contact Mark Soderstrom.
Central New York Center, East Syracuse
Core faculty: Mark Soderstrom, (315) 460-3164
Front Desk (315) 460 3156
January 17, 4 - 8 pm
Genesee Valley Center, Rochester
Core faculty: Adele Anderson, (585) 224-3256
Front Desk (585) 224-3200
One of the purposes of Orientation is to introduce you to Liberal Studies, the faculty, and each other. Orientation is one of the few times in the program when you get the chance to clarify the important steps and resources you need to succeed in your first term. You will identify and connect with the people who can best help and support you if you have questions or concerns. Finally, it will be critical for you participate in Orientation to fully understand the approaches you will need to take in carrying out your liberal studies writing assignments.
The orientation will also focus on developing the graduate-level skills of academic inquiry that you will need to succeed in the program. For this reason, you are asked to complete a pre-orientation assignment that forms the basis for a discussion at Orientation. The pre-orientation assignment appears directly below:
All students will read Mary Louise Pratt’s essay, “Arts of the Contact Zone,” preparing about a page and a half of written response for discussion and sharing at orientation. You can access this essay on the web at:
One way of looking at Pratt’s essay is as a practical demonstration of different theoretical perspectives. In her essay, Pratt “reads” a surprising array of phenomena (baseball cards, Guamon Poma’s New Chronicle and Good Government, academic communities, her son’s grade school composition, and the curriculum and her classrooms at Stanford). She insists that traditional questions applied to these phenomena (in Cultural Studies, we refer to them as “texts”) have led to misreading and failed communication. She asks other kinds of questions of these texts that open up new meanings.
Once you have read her essay, consider Pratt’s questions and the interpretations that her strategies yield. In what ways are her methods similar to and different from the ways you were taught to analyze phenomena in your undergraduate education? In what ways does her essay challenge you? You may just want to select one of her approaches that you find particularly interesting, helpful, or revealing. Please prepare and bring a thoughtful, specific response to this set of questions, about 1½ pages long
Also for orientation, come prepared to discuss the kinds of questions you might pursue in your field of interest while studying in the Liberal Studies program, and how they might be interdisciplinary.
BRING your brief written response to the Pratt assignment to orientation, along with a notebook on which you can jot ideas while in discussion with the group. Please also spend some time looking at the ANGEL web site and exploring their tutorial, accessed through the MyESC web site located at:
The residency will take place at the following location and dates:
February 7 - 9, 2013
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
You can view the residency information at:
Graduation Residency Information
The opening residency is one of the most important events of your core course. In this short-term conference setting, you will have the opportunity to discuss the concepts of the core course in depth with live faculty interaction. You will receive individual attention in small discussion groups, with feedback on your contributions and will have the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the readings, concepts, skills, and processes of Liberal Studies. Writing and research workshops, a session on the expectations of the literature review in your program, and interactions with fellow students will help you to get a sound start on your assignments and your program approach. Residency attendance is required. Once the residency schedule is available, you can view it at: Graduation Residency Information
Both Seminar in Liberal Studies and Models of Critical Inquiry have a pre-residency assignment. They are included in each online course. Most of the courses will open in one week before the term begins. You will also receive an introduction to these assignments at the orientation.
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read PDF documents. If Acrobat Reader is not installed on your computer, you can download it for free from Adobe. If you are unable to use the file, please contact Graduate Student Services for assistance.