The Brown/Wheaton Faculty Fellows Program is a partnership that brings Brown University graduate students to Wheaton College to teach courses in their academic fields and to gain valuable experience in the responsibilities and challenges of professional membership in a college community. A graduate student, during an appointment at Wheaton, will carry the title Visiting Instructor and Intern in the Liberal Arts.
Brown is a major university whose graduate students are among the best in the world. Wheaton College is a classic undergraduate liberal arts college with a national reputation for effective teaching. The Faculty Fellows Program, an outgrowth of many years of formal and informal Brown/Wheaton partnerships, allows both institutions to profit from the strengths of the other. For Brown’s graduate students, Wheaton provides an ideal setting for them to develop their teaching skills and learn to function as a professional member of a collegial community. Wheaton, in turn, gets vital access to new learning through connections with Brown’s academic departments and programs and the opportunity to enrich its commitment to teaching and learning in ways that benefit its own programs. Both institutions share a belief that research and teaching mutually enhance intellectual community.
Purpose of the Program
The purpose of the Faculty Fellows Program is to develop advanced competency in undergraduate teaching in a liberal arts environment. Brown/Wheaton interns in the liberal arts will find and enact their own most effective teaching style, will learn how to teach with concern for the whole student, and will experience the special multidisciplinary collegiality that characterizes the undergraduate liberal arts college. This will include learning how to articulate for a broader audience the most exciting elements of their own research, and how to advance from teaching what others have learned toward professing their own knowledge.
Administration of the Program will be shared at Wheaton by the Office of the Provost, and at Brown by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School and the Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning. Administrative concerns include: selecting Brown students as interns; determining appropriate compensation for Interns once they have been selected; supervising and supporting interns at both institutions; assessing interns and integrating assessment into their learning; and periodic assessment of the Faculty Fellows Program.
By the end of February each year, the Office of the Provost at Wheaton will identify courses that (1) should be replaced as a result of leaves, or (2) represent areas of learning that would enhance current offerings (particularly in multidisciplinary areas), and will submit those projected openings to Brown’s Graduate School and Sheridan Center. (This list of courses may be updated in September with additional openings for the second semester.) The Graduate School, with assistance from a faculty oversight committee, will invite and review candidates for these internship opportunities and send their recommendations to the Provost’s Office at Wheaton as soon as feasible, normally by early April (or by October for spring courses identified in September). The Wheaton department or program will interview the recommended candidates, and hiring of accepted candidates will be completed through Wheaton’s Office of the Provost before the end of the academic year. This office will in turn notify the Brown Graduate School and Sheridan Center of accepted candidates and of the identity of the Wheaton faculty mentors who will work with each Intern. Mentors will be expected to make an initial connection with their Interns at this time. The specific internship program for each accepted candidate will be coordinated by the Sheridan Center and by the Office of the Provost at Wheaton College.
Level of Compensation
Normally, an intern’s compensation will be the equivalent of what the student would have earned teaching a course at Brown; this varies slightly among disciplines.
Qualifications and Expectations of Interns
Interns will typically be advanced graduate students, well along on the dissertation, who have participated in the Sheridan Center’s certification programs. The ideal candidate will have completed or be in the process of earning a Sheridan Teaching Certificate III. The Wheaton internship then becomes the logical on site practicum to complete a program in pedagogy. Students who do not meet this ideal, however, may be considered, but will be expected to participate in Sheridan Center programs during the internship.
At Wheaton, interns will teach one course and be expected to participate, as completely as possible, in the life of the liberal arts college community. They will be invited and expected to attend department meetings and faculty meetings (though they may not vote), to join faculty from various departments in the faculty lunchroom or other venues for multidisciplinary interaction, and to attend relevant monthly teaching and learning workshops that are part of the regular experience of Wheaton faculty. They will also be expected to share their ongoing research with the Wheaton community, in whatever way seems most appropriate—a Faculty Lunch Talk, as part of a panel on a pertinent topic, as a presentation for departmental majors, or similar collegial opportunity.
Upon hiring, each Brown/Wheaton Intern in the Liberal Arts will be assigned two on-campus Wheaton mentors, one from inside and one from outside their academic department. The intern should expect to meet with one of these two mentors as soon as possible to review the syllabus and assignments before the semester commences and to develop with them a written statement of goals and objectives for the internship experience. After the term begins, they will continue to meet with one of these two mentors each week, or according to another comparable schedule worked out among the mentors and intern (the three might choose to meet together every other week, for example). The mentors will typically review the syllabus and assignments, serve as sounding boards about the progress of the course, observe the class and make recommendations, help acculturate the intern to the liberal arts environment, and answer questions as they arise.
Interns will also be expected to participate in a Sheridan Center seminar in the semester following their internship to share their experiences with graduate student colleagues at Brown. Wheaton mentors and/or a representative from the Provost’s Office will be invited to participate in these events as well.
Once they have completed their semester at Wheaton, interns will be expected to submit a reflective self-assessment of their internship to the Office of the Provost at Wheaton and the Sheridan Center. Mentors will be expected to provide additional commentary on the experience and on their intern’s assessment. Wheaton will use its standard Course Evaluation Form plus whatever additional instrument(s) the Sheridan Center and the Provost’s Office may deem appropriate to assess each Intern’s performance. A copy of the student evaluations for the course will also go to the Sheridan Center, and all these documents reviewed by both the Brown Faculty Oversight Committee and the Wheaton Provost’s Office for their comment, if appropriate. A representative from the Brown Graduate School and Wheaton’s Office of the Provost will meet each year to review the results of the program and to recommend any changes.
Representatives from Brown’s Sheridan Center and Wheaton’s Office of the Provost coordinate and supervise the Faculty Fellows Program and its evaluative elements. A biennial conference might allow for more summative reporting, and also invite other colleges and universities to learn about exportable features of the program.
Brown/Wheaton Program Contacts:
- Vanessa Ryan, Brown Graduate School
- Shawn Christian, Wheaton College