Dear Dr. Vander Meulen:

Here is my response to the questionnaire that you distributed via email. If
you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to call me at
xxx.xxx.xxxx.

Best regards,

xxxxx

*AMERICAN STUDIES M.A. PROGRAM QUESTIONNAIRE*

When were you enrolled in the program?

Respondent #20: Class of 1997



How did you learn of the program?

I learned about the program when Alan called me to offer me a spot in the
class.



Why did you enter the program, and did it meet your expectations?

I was immediately excited by the multimedia dimension of the program. Instead
of being immersed in paper-based academia, I would be able to explore new
avenues in reading and writing about literature.



What did you find most valuable about the program?

The web training, most definitely!



Was the program different in any significant ways from your earlier
education?

It was more skills-oriented and forced me to apply my knowledge in new ways.



Did the program help you develop any of these aspects of your life?
-Thinking and communicating?
-Work habits?
-Research abilities?
-Technical abilities?

ALL of those aspects! The program took my academic training as an
undergraduate and exploded it in a thousand different directions. I became a
much more creative person but also a much more analytical person. Now, as a
web manager for a business publishing company, I recruit frequently for the
web department. I wish that I see more job candidates with the training that I
had at UVa.



To what extent did your classmates affect your experience in the program?

Relatively. We were a small group -- smaller than in other years, due to a few
people dropping out. I think it would have been good to have more people --
perhaps 10 or so total -- to improve class discussions. On the other hand, we
could spend a lot of time critiquing each other's work, which was very
beneficial.



To what extent did the public venue (the Internet) for much your work
affect your experience in the program?

The web platform made the American Studies program great. Since graduation, I
have been a web editor, designer and developer, and I love the medium.



Was the course work appropriate to the goals of the program?

Yes.



Did you perceive yourself as part of any university department or
community larger than the American Studies Program itself?

I did not feel like a direct blood relative of the English Department, but
rather a hybrid distant cousin. I think this is unavoidable, given the
multidisciplinary and mixed-medium nature of the program.



How well was interdisciplinary study integrated in the program?

Very well. I took several anthropology classes, and combined anthropological
bents with the literary requirements of my projects.



Were the following resources (and any other ones) adequate for your work?
-Libraries? YES
-Computers and technical support? YES
-Work space? YES
-Classes? YES
-Faculty? YES
-Financial support? YES
-Other?

During the program did you have any relevant part-time employment?

Yes. The first semester I worked in the English office; then the second and
third semesters I worked for Special Collections in Alderman on the Early
American Fiction project. I also worked part-time as a content evaluator for a
educational cd-rom, Webivore.



Please describe briefly your major forms of schooling and/or employment
since your time in the program (giving dates, name of organization, and
chief activities there):

(1997-Present) Web Director at Selling Power, Fredericksburg, VA I started
off in as the Web Editor and gradually was promoted to be the manager of the
department. I am responsible for all aspects of the web site, and I have a
team of 3 developers. The URL is http://www.sellingpower.com.

1998-Present Web site Coordinator at the Central Rappahanock Regional Library,
Fredericksburg, VA
A part-time position. I reorganized and was part of a major redesign here,
and I still perform maintenance and development. The URL is
http://www.crrl.org



Did you find advising and placement support in the program to be adequate?

No. I would have benefited from more advising.



Has your involvement in the program made a discernible difference in the
subsequent steps of your career?

Yes! I would not have my job -- nor the promise of great jobs to come -- if I
was not in the American Studies program.



How might the program be strengthened?

1) Please please please allot the program more funding! Alan ia incredibly
hard-working and devoted to the program, and his time would be better spent
directing the students' work than fiddling with defunct servers because he
cannot get adequate tech support. Due to the hardware and software demands of
the program, it should have its own (generous) budget.

2) Also, I think the program should be extended to two full years. 1 year was
too intense and did not allow me to finish my projects as I would have
preferred. Now, two years after my graduation, I am regretting that I did not
take a more leisurely and thorough route through graduate school.

3) One more enhancement would be to include an internship of some sort,
perhaps during the summer. There are plenty of places that need web pages, and
I think it would be excellent experience for the students to work with a
client in this fashion.



Any other reflections?

The American Studies program is a fantastic asset, and the University of
Virginia will suffer if the program is allowed to expire. It is unique in that
is combined rigorous academic training with practical technical skills, all
the while challenging the student to explore creative multimedia dimensions.

David L. Vander Meulen wrote:

Dear Alumni,

As we explained in our letter of April 16, at the request of Alan Howard
the English Department is reviewing the American Studies M.A. program to
determine its future. The insights of those who have been through the
program are crucial to the committee's understanding, and we therefore
hope that within the next day or two you will be able to help us by
responding to the following questionnaire. Thanks.

For the Committee,
David Vander Meulen, Chair
(English, UVa; 804/924-6624; dlv8g@virginia.edu)

Peter Baker
(English, UVa; 804/924-6651; psb6m@virginia.edu)
Joseph F. Kett
(History, UVa; 804/924-6968; jfk9v@virginia.edu)
Randy Bass
(English, Georgetown; 202/687-4535; bassr@gusun.georgetown.edu)

------------------
*AMERICAN STUDIES M.A. PROGRAM QUESTIONNAIRE*

When were you enrolled in the program?

How did you learn of the program?

Why did you enter the program, and did it meet your expectations?

What did you find most valuable about the program?

Was the program different in any significant ways from your earlier
education?

Did the program help you develop any of these aspects of your life?
-Thinking and communicating?
-Work habits?
-Research abilities?
-Technical abilities?

To what extent did your classmates affect your experience in the program?

To what extent did the public venue (the Internet) for much your work
affect your experience in the program?

Was the course work appropriate to the goals of the program?

Did you perceive yourself as part of any university department or
community larger than the American Studies Program itself?

How well was interdisciplinary study integrated in the program?

Were the following resources (and any other ones) adequate for your work?
-Libraries?
-Computers and technical support?
-Work space?
-Classes?
-Faculty?
-Financial support?
-Other?

During the program did you have any relevant part-time employment?

Please describe briefly your major forms of schooling and/or employment
since your time in the program (giving dates, name of organization, and
chief activities there):

Did you find advising and placement support in the program to be adequate?

Has your involvement in the program made a discernible difference in the
subsequent steps of your career?

How might the program be strengthened?

Any other reflections?