Marius Draeger, Rebecca Mason, Laura Perille and Steven Swarbrick will teach at Wheaton College in 2014-15, through the Graduate School’s partnership with the Norton, Massachusetts, college. As Brown/Wheaton Faculty Fellows, the doctoral students will exercise the teaching skills modeled and cultivated at the University while experiencing faculty life at a liberal arts college.
The four students – from the physical and social sciences and the humanities -- are part of an expanded cohort. Brown University and Wheaton College agreed to provide more opportunities for distinctive training in teaching, with up to four fellowships in the next academic year from two. In addition, the partners encouraged students from all disciplines to apply and widened eligibility to include third-year students in addition to fourth- and fifth-year candidates.
“The expansion of the Brown/Wheaton program reflects our strong commitment to helping students excel in all facets of graduate studies,” says John Tyler, the Graduate School’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “Our partnership with Wheaton provides a valuable and unique opportunity for our students to develop and teach their own courses.”
Through the program, advanced doctoral candidates teach a one-semester course and participate in the intellectual life of the college. The experience provides a better understanding of the responsibilities and challenges of academic life at a four-year, liberal arts college, which can differ from those at a research university such as Brown.
“I could not be happier to welcome a record number of four Fellows who were chosen from a large pool of excellent candidates,” says Gail Sahar, Associate Provost and Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College. “I am especially pleased that the program has been expanded to include fellows from across the divisions. Historically, we've had few fellows in the natural and physical sciences, so it is exciting to have two scientists coming this year.”
Mason heard about the program and noted that no Computer Science students had participated before. Both her director of graduate study and the Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning encouraged her to apply. Sheridan Center training on how to write teaching philosophies and job cover letters “solidified my career goals,” she said, and it helped her to prepare the fellowship application. She will teach programming languages.
Perille, a fifth-year History student, is delighted to be part of the program. "It is meaningful for us to bring our original course ideas to Wheaton," she said, "and gain insight into being a faculty member at a small liberal arts college." Her course is “Cross-Cultural Interactions in the Early Modern World.”
Draeger, a fourth-year candidate in Chemistry, will teach Organic Chemistry 2. He already had TA and lab mentoring experience and was looking for classroom teaching opportunities. “It fits into my schedule now,” he says, “and it will help me become a better teacher.”
Steven Swarbrick, a fifth-year English student, will teach Green Shakespeare at Wheaton.
Wheaton and the Brown Graduate School collaborated on the selection of the faculty fellows, with significant input from Wheaton academic departments. At Brown, the program is administered by the Graduate School and the Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning.
~By Beverly Larson