>ETA: OK, I conflated the Welsh and the Cornish in my babbling about pasties and miners below. D’oh! Pasties are Cornish. And the miners who brought them to the UP were Cornish as well. But the miners in southern Ohio were indeed Welsh. But wait, there’s more! — see below.
So I’ve spent at least half of each of the last three days compiling a mailing list of every high school English department in our metro area and every college and university English department in the upper Midwest that doesn’t have an MA program — all for recruitment purposes for our own MA program. And since I’m doing this on the web and not in phone books, it gives me opportunities to learn all sorts of interesting things about education in my metro-area and region of the U.S. because it’s hard to keep myself focused on getting the basic information I’m there to get. Clicking around is almost second nature!
For one thing, I’ve learned that you can do three electives in gourmet cooking at one of our area’s best public high schools, and that graduates have gone on to the CIA (the culinary one, not the government one). I wonder if they’d take an “adult learner”? Te-hee!
I’ve also learned that there are an un-frakin’-believable amount of tiny colleges in this part of the country. Seriously, how do these places survive?! Now, some of them are Christian colleges with very active religious missions, so I suspect they have a very directed marketing campaign. But how do the rest survive? These are the kind of places that are so tiny that they have departments of “language and literature” where there are five English profs, a Spanish prof, and maybe a French prof. Our area high schools have bigger faculties — and their own, separate departments of English and Foreign Languages! (Clearly my life-long association with research universities is beginning to show here. But dang, even the SLACs I know something about are about 10x the size of these places. Maybe we should call them TLACs for “Tiny Liberal Arts Colleges.”) Anyway, I’m especially targeting these places because their students really need our MA program if only to get a decent generalist program of study in English for whatever their goals are. They probably wouldn’t be able to get into most Ph.D. programs with their majors in “English/Humanities.”
But I’ve also found out all sorts of little cultural and historical tidbits. I remember last summer finally learning how the “pasty” (pronounced “past + y” and not “paste + y”), which I think of as belonging to certain parts of Great Britain, became the regional treat of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and parts of Northern Wisconsin — the
Welsh Cornish miners who worked there brought it with them. But does Northern Michigan University, situated on the Upper Peninsula, have a center for Welsh Cornish studies? No, it does not. Meanwhile, it turns out that southern Ohio is a region with a Welsh heritage, also related to mining, and so much so that teeny weeny University of Rio Grande (and no, it’s not in Texas) has a Madog Center of Welsh Studies. There’s even a Welsh Scenic Byway in that part of the country. Who knew? Now I totally want to take a scenic drive there someday.
ETA: OK, so while the Welsh were in southern Ohio, the Finns were waaaay up yonder in Michigan’s UP, founding Finlandia University on the tip of a smaller peninsula jutting into Lake Superior (pretty much as far north in Michigan as you can get). And get this: you can major in Finnish studies! Again, who knew?! I’m learning so much about the upper midwest.
And now I swear I’ll stop updating this post.
Ah the internets — making a boring task fascinating and much, much longer that it really should be! Sigh.