Bennington College selects second teaching fellow at Bennington Writing Seminars program

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BENNINGTON — Bennington College has selected its second residential teaching fellow at the Bennington Writing Seminars program, continuing an effort that began this year with inaugural fall fellow Lisa Ann Cockrel.

Matthew Groner, a third-term MFA candidate at the college, will begin his term in the classroom in Spring 2019. The fellowship is the first of its kind in the country to offer full-time undergraduate teaching experience in a low-residency MFA format, according to a press release from the college.

Groner will assist in a poetry class taught by Michael Dumanis, "Reading Poetry: A Basic Course." He'll work in grading, advising, guest lecturing and research, along with assisting in the development of course material.

"I'm just really excited for the opportunity," Groner said when reached by the Banner Monday. "I'm grateful that I get to get back in the classroom."

Groner, a Kansas City, Missouri resident, has over 10 years of academic experience as a writing center director, English instructor and literary arts programmer, according to the release. He holds a master's degree in English and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Creative Writing from the University of Central Missouri.

He said he's also excited to participate in the happenings at Bennington College. "Getting to immerse myself in the campus community sounds like it will be a lot of fun," he said.

As someone who's taught many classes, Groner said this poetry course seems unlike those he has taught.

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"It's unique in the sense that's kind of looking at the trajectory of poetry from antiquity to present, as I understand the course," he said. "I've never been involved in a course exactly like that."

In teaching a course on, say, American literature, the focus of the class tends to be more narrow, he said.

The fellowship is open to Bennington College MFA students who are entering their second, third or fourth term. Students are mentored one-on-one with the campus faculty member they're working with as a teacher, and by the faculty member they've been assigned to work on their manuscript.

Groner is currently studying with faculty member Amy Hempel, according to the release.

The fellowship was created in response to MFA students' desire for teaching experience before completing their degrees, said Megan Culhane Galbraith, associate director of the Bennington Writing Seminars, the college's MFA program.

"We've been hearing from students this is something that they really want," she said. Many people would like to teach after getting their MFAs, so being able to say they had actual teaching experience while getting their degree is "a real bonus," she said.

Benefits of the program include full tuition remission for one term, housing and board, along with enrollment in an on-campus class, according to the release.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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