January 26, 2023

Graduate programs offer experiential learning

This semester, the low-residency programs have a number of exciting opportunities for their graduate students. Events include a rare opportunity to help direct National Park Service guidance, the celebration of a program’s silver jubilee, and a chance to work directly with curators at the Smithsonian throughout Washington, DC.

  • Fieldtrip to the Library of Congress


The M.A. in Historic Preservation program has formed a working group of faculty, students, and alumnae/i who will be meeting throughout the winter term to analyze the National Park Service’s draft revisions to the Traditional Cultural Properties guidance bulletin. Traditional Cultural Properties are places that the federal government recognizes for their “association with cultural practices or beliefs for a living community that are rooted in a community’s history and are important to maintaining the continuing cultural identity of the community.”

The adoption of this recognition since it was created in 1990 has been rare and limited. The working group will also be preparing a set of comments that will be submitted to the National Park Service during the public comment period.


The M.A. in Arts Administration will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a host of events planned this summer.

Alumnae/i and former faculty will return to the Goucher campus this summer for a light-hearted evening of remembering, celebrating, and telling stories. That weekend, the program will also host a keynote speaker looking forward to the next 25 years of the arts administration world.

The arts always exist in the time and context of the world around the work, so the future of the social, political, environmental, economic, and scientific worlds is of critical importance to the future of the arts. Following the keynote speaker, a panel of alumnae/i and former faculty will share their practices and predictions for the future.


This winter, students in the course Representing Cultures at the Smithsonian will work closely with Smithsonian curatorial staff on projects related to the 2023 Smithsonian Folklife Festival program titled Living Religion: Creative Encounters in the U.S. The course will be offered as a limited residency during January 2023, including four days of visits to Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC.

These visits will include presentations by curators and other Smithsonian staff. Students will explore how the Folklife Festival’s programs are developed and participate in behind-the-scenes experiences showing how exhibitions and related public programs are carried out. Student research about religious traditions in their own communities will potentially contribute to the Living Religion: Creative Encounters in the U.S. festival program.


As one of Goucher’s low-residency graduate programs, the M.F.A. in Nonfiction embraces a hybrid model of teaching where students spend most of the year learning remotely but come together twice a year for a pair of residencies. The summer residency is shared with the three other low-residency programs and brings students together for a week of in-person learning on Goucher’s campus.

The M.F.A. in Nonfiction also features a winter residency, where students spend a week in New York City, networking with literary agents, editors, and publishers. This year will be the first in-person winter residency since 2019, as the program went fully virtual during the start of the pandemic. Program director Leslie Rubinkowski says she’s thrilled students will have this in-person opportunity once more.

“There’s just an energy you get when you’re there,” Rubinkowski says. “There’s a very different feel to go to the offices of The Paris Review and meet people in that space versus doing the same on Zoom.”

Rubinkowski says the nonfiction program has a two-fold mission: to help students become better writers and to help them navigate the publishing process. The NYC residency is dedicated to the second point, immersing students in the publishing world and learning firsthand the process of querying agents, submitting their writing, and publishing in literary journals.

The nonfiction program has an excellent record of student publishing. According to Rubinkowski, about 200 students out of about 300 who have completed the program have published with either university or literary presses.

About 20 students will participate in the residency this year, which concludes with three days of in-person workshops and an alumnae/i event.

Workshops include sessions on how to pursue a career in nonfiction writing, the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in the publishing world, and a hands-on seminar on creating short stand-alone works from your larger manuscript.

Cheryl Keffer, a nonfiction student who attended the virtual residency last year, says she’s excited to participate in New York this year.

“The energy of a real-life gathering of writers cannot be conveyed through Zoom,” Keffer says. “It’s such a treat to sit together and bond over the joys and challenges of our craft. Doing all of that in such an inspiring locale with a deep literary history is a phenomenal experience.”