Alumnus Mick Howard
Master of Arts in English, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010
Mick graduated with a Master of Arts in English from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2010. His thesis investigated cybernetic utopian imagery in the film Terminator 2. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD at Middle Tennessee State and is employed at Langston University HBCU in a tenure track position as a professor and administrator for the writing center. He considers his Master in English a huge component of how he ended up where he is now, especially in his position at the writing center. Mick also states that his MA helped set up a foundation for all of the theoretical work he is undertaking. Resuming the work from his graduate thesis, his PhD dissertation is still working within Cyborg Theory.
Mick describes that his biggest take-away from the program was simply understanding the discipline that he was moving into. The most memorable experience he had was in his Theory and Criticism course, when he got his paper back from Dan Kline with a note that said “this paper makes no sense whatsoever” where he got a “no grade” on it. Having recently quit his six figure job and moving his entire family up to Alaska from Washington made him reevaluate who he was and what he wanted to do in life. Aside from the Theory and Criticism course, another course he felt was essential to his education was the introductory teaching course.
Although Professor Kline drove him nuts at times, Mick credits him as the one who introduced him to cyborg theory, which has in turn become his life’s work. Laurie Mumphauer was also tremendously influential on him within the field of composition, helping him understand the role that it played in students’ lives. She also taught him that to be able to teach composition is an honor and a privilege. Toby Widdicombe played a critical role in helping Mick devise a new thesis when his original thesis had been rejected. The one piece of advice Mick would give to someone considering the MA program is: “Brace yourself. You’re in for a ride. It is a challenging program, the expectations will be high and you’re going to fail at things. No matter how smart you are, you can’t half-ass it and in the end I’ve grown not only as a professional but also as a human being. Be ready.”