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Higher Learning

HR Pro: ‘Master’s Degrees Often HURT an Application’

In a controversial comments thread, one anonymous human resources professional told a writer with a creative writing master’s degree: “I work in HR and master’s degrees often HURT an application more than help, especially in entry level positions.”

Getting an MFA is creative writing or English is an impressive accomplishment, but it’s not always going to be an asset in the real world job hunt. Unless you are looking for a job in teaching, writing or publishing, an MFA could actually be seen as an obstacle to getting an entry level job.

What do you think? Recent graduate Eric Auld decided to run a job-search experiment. He posted a fake entry level job on Craigslist to check out the competition and see how many higher learning folks were applying to these jobs. He received 653 responses in one day.  Read more

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Poets & Writers Responds To MFA Rankings Criticism

After almost 200 creative writing teachers and program directors criticized Poets & Writers for its ranking of MFA and PHD programs, Poets & Writers has responded to the criticism.

Do you think MFA programs should be rated? In the original letter, professors from some of the higher ranked universities complained: “Instead of asking such students and alumni about quality of instruction, or anything else about actual program content, P&W’s rankings are heavily skewed toward viewing a program’s financial aid offer as the final arbiter of that program’s overall quality.”

Poets & Letters defended its choices. Here is more from the publication’s rebuttal: “Why didn’t we survey MFA faculty and students about the quality of MFA programs? To continue the analogy Leslie Epstein used to describe our approach in the press release, that would be like asking diners who only frequent their favorite restaurant to assess the quality of all restaurants.”

Textbook Rental Growing On College Campuses

Students preparing to go back to school this year will have new textbook options, as more companies are renting textbooks.  Barnes & Noble started renting them last year, Amazon just joined the game, and a handful of other companies have been in the space for year, renting digital and print textbooks to co-eds.

According to Alan Martin, CEO of CampusBookRentals.com, about 20 percent of students are now renting physical textbooks for at least a portion of their classes. Martin also said that only a small percentage rent digital textbooks, but Amazon’s entry into the space could change this.

In an interview with eBookNewser, Martin  said that professors influenced the move: “At the end of the day, students follow the professor’s suggested materials, and the median age of professors in higher ed doesn’t align perfectly to the digital movement which adds another layer of complexity to mainstream adoption.”