I just graduated from WCU's English M.A. program (Writing, Teaching, Criticism track), and while there are some very good professors in the program, I have to say that the graduate English program is an underwhelming, unorganized, highly disappointing mess. I feel as if I wasted two years of my life in a program that could at best be described as mediocre.
For starters, there are approximately 100 students in the English grad program, and at least 80 of them are K-12 teachers who attend part-time for either post-bac studies or to pursue a Master's degree. The remaining 20 are generally full-time students who aren't teachers, and about half of them (such as myself) plan to pursue a Ph.D. Because the majority of students are teachers, the program is very K-12 teacher oriented; those of us who wish to teach at the college level are generally ignored. Most colleges allow grad students to work as TA's, but WCU does not, so there's no opportunity to learn how to teach a college class, unless you count leading a class discussion once a semester, as some professors require. Otherwise, most of the classes are filled with teachers who do very little except dominate the class time complaining about how much they hate being teachers.
Up until the 2012-2013 school year, English grad students who were pursuing post-bac studies couldn't be in the M.A. degree program at the same time, and M.A. degree students weren't allowed to simultaneously pursue post-bac studies. In April 2012, it was announced that starting fall 2012, students could finally cross study in both programs, which should have been allowed all along.
Academic advising is sketchy - there are two advisors - the graduate coordinator for M.A. students and another English professor for the post-bac students. It's hard to see them because they're generally there during the daytime, and the grad classes are at night. Valuable info that the students need isn't generally disseminated in a timely manner. For example, the department never advised of the deadlines to apply for graduation, drop/add, course withdrawal, etc.
There are no online courses, although I heard a rumor that hybrid online/in-person courses were in the works. The classes are all in-person lectures that take place at horrible times. Since the class schedules are created to cater to the needs of teachers, all of the classes meet once a week from either 4:15pm to 7pm or 7:15pm to 10pm. The 4:15 class time is okay, but 7:15pm to 10pm is a nightmare, especially for those of us with long commutes. I had a one hour commute, but I had classmates who lived in NJ, and drove for as much as 1.5-2 hours one way. A few professors are mindful of the late time and try to let you out early, but others will keep you there until 10pm exactly or later.
There are some really interesting classes listed on the English program website, but many of them are only offered once every 2-3 years. This is fine for the part-time students (i.e. teachers) because they're usually at WCU for 4-6 years. For full-time students who complete the program in 2 years, they miss out on a lot of good courses.
There are some really great professors (like Drs. Mader, Green, Ashley, Verderame, Fletcher, Lalicker, Awuyah), but then there are some professors who are not so good (Drs. Wanko and Walters), then you have professors who are absolutely dreadful (AVOID Dr. K. Hyoejin Yoon - who should change her name to Dr. We Hate Yoo because everyone hates her - including the faculty, staff and students. The department received so many complaints about Yoon, she was promoted to minimize her her teaching time). What makes professors like Wanko, Walter, and Yoon so bad is that they assign crippling amounts of homework to disguise the fact that they're poor educators. For example, in Yoon's ENG 616 Research Seminar, on the first day of class, she assigned so much homework, that the description of the assignments that were due within a week took up two sides of a sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper. 4 people dropped the class after that first meeting. Plus, she actually demanded via email that we complete homework for her class before the semester even started! I never had a class where everyone despised the professor until I had Hyoejin Yoon as an instructor. Her G.A.'s hate her, and the other members of the English faculty say she's incompetent.
The library at WCU is cool, and the hours are great, plus there's a Starbucks on the lower level. That's one of the few highlights of the school.
For anyone wishing to pursue a M.A. in English - do yourself a favor and go to Lehigh or Penn State. WCU's English grad program is woefully deficient.