April 01, 2005

Accelerated Masters Degree Program

As you may or may not already know, depending on whether or not you have read my bio (see Snapshot: Zoom in... in the navigation menu to the right), I am majoring in English with a concentration in linguistics at George Mason University. In my undergraduate work, I will have attained senior status upon the completion of the current semester (there is roughly another month left to go). With my concentration in linguistics and through the Accelerated Masters Degree Program, I have an opportunity to take some graduate-level LING classes (9 credits worth in total, six of which I will later be able to transfer into my graduate degree which will also be in English, specifically, linguistics).

I recently signed up for my first grad class, FRLN 573 - Current Trends in Language Pedagogy or Foreign Language Anxiety (the latter seems like it might be an old course title still associated with the course number, but the two aren't mutually exclusive). The class is being offered this summer, in Session C, at the Fairfax campus of George Mason. It will be taught by Dr. Goldin, my current SPAN 301 Spanish Grammar and Syntax prof., and Associate Chair of the Modern and Classical Languages Department.

Feeling somewhat intimidated about taking a grad class at this stage in my education (yes, despite whatever you may have thought, even students with a 3.9 or higher GPA question the extent of their abilities now and again), I decided it might make it easier for me if I planned to take my first class at that level with a professor that I am already familiar with. I like his teaching style. He is himself a linguist and so in SPAN 301 he had been good about defining the patterns for us that he has observed within the language. We have been learning all about the structure of Spanish. There is much that I will take away from this class.

I probably have my association (maybe friendship is better choice, but I wouldn't want to be presumptive) with Dr. Chamberlain, the Chair of Modern and Classical Languages and my former prof. of LING 326 General Linguistics, to thank for assisting me to enroll into Dr. Goldin's SPAN 301 class after registration for it had already closed. At the time, I was busy taking SPAN 209 the intensive Spanish course that combines both SPAN 201 and 202 into six credit hours and the date passed me by. I mentioned to Dr. Chamberlain that I was intending to introduce myself to Dr. Goldin and make my case to him so he would potentially let me in the class anyway. Apparently, he took it upon himself to go to Dr. Goldin before I had a chance to and so when I did get around to seeing him he said he had heard about me. He was already aware that I am good student who is eager to learn and he didn't have a problem with my joining his class. he told me, "We'll find a way to make it happen." And so he did. I have since developed a pleasant relationship with him (again friendship might be the better word, but I don't wish to be presumptive).

I have been keeping both Dr. Chamberlain and Dr. Goldin informed with how my plans for my education have been progressing. They have been very supportive of me, offering whatever advice they can. I went to them this past week to see if they would be willing to each write the two prerequisite letters I will need to make my admission into the Accelerated Masters Degree Program official. Much to my satisfaction, they both happily agreed to it. I think the letters would be best coming from them, even though they are in charge of the Modern and Classical Languages Dept., because they are able to attest to my qualities as a student firsthand and both of their backgrounds are in linguistics.

As far as the other requirements for admission into the Accelerated Masters Program go, I have already or will soon have satisfied all of them. I am no doubt in good academic standing with a GPA that rests at 3.97 and I have completed LING 326 with Dr. Chamberlain and earned an A+ in the class. I have 89 credits currently, but I will have 99 at the end of this semester (they only ask that you have 90 completed to enter the program). Now there just remains the matter of filling out the paperwork and I understand that there will be a lot involved.

According to Dr. Weinberger, the Director of the Linguistics Program, I am the first student to have expressed interest in this program (and it has been in place for over a year now! He and I had discussed this option as a possibility for me back in fall of 03 at the time I was taking ENGL 325). So, he has a few phone calls that he needs to make before we can move further with this and make it official. When we spoke he also agreed to accept FRLN 573 for my undergrad concentration in linguistics, after I explained what the class was, but he did make me aware that any grad classes I may I take without the LING designation would not be transferred into my grad degree. That was fine by me because only six of the nine credits I need for my concentration can count for both undergrad and grad credit. For my other two remaining classes, he insisted I take Phonology and Semantics with him. I had been exposed to both phonology and semantics in the course of taking LING 326. I didn't particularly find either one to be exciting myself, but Dr. Chamberlain was a charming professor.

I had met Dr. Weinberger him this past Wednesday after attending a lecture he gave to an ENGL 325 class (coincidentally enough) on Literary Nonsense: The Linguistics of Neologisms. It became evident to me that he is a phonologist thoroughly excited by his subject material. I found that aspect of him to be very engaging. He also revealed his sense of humor which I "got."

I'm now looking forward to taking my grad-level classes with Dr. Goldin and Dr. Weinberger, two really great professors. And I can't believe how far I have come!

-- CrystalShiloh @ 04:49 PM