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Deans’ Faculty Fellows Teach Self-Designed Spring Courses

Current Fellows: (back, left to right): Ross Parker, Virginia Thomas, Ian Russel; (front, left to right): Silvia Štubňová, John Krantz, Nikole BonacorsiCurrent Fellows: (back, left to right): Ross Parker, Virginia Thomas, Ian Russel; (front, left to right): Silvia Štubňová, John Krantz, Nikole BonacorsiSix recently completed doctoral candidates kick off the spring semester teaching their own, individually devised and crafted courses. This fifth cohort of Deans’ Faculty Fellows hail from across the disciplines and look forward to this unique teaching experience before entering the job market.

The fellowships give advanced graduate students the opportunity to strengthen their teaching portfolios through the development of their own courses in consultation with a faculty mentor.

Nikole Bonacorsi is teaching a course titled, 500 Million Years of Land Plants in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department. “The idea of the course is to take students on a journey through time to explore the fossil record of land plants, what the ecosystems they built looked like through time, and how different the earth looked in the past,” she says. 

Bonacorsi was excited about the opportunity because she loves teaching and wanted the opportunity to run her own course. “I’m really looking forward to getting to use the skills I have learned through the Sheridan Center in my own course, and I hope this experience will help me prepare for a teaching-focused future career,” she says.

Silvia Štubňová chose to design a course about the non-royal Egyptians. Her course, “Life on the Nile: Ancient Egypt beyond the Pharaohs takes a unique perspective, focusing on various classes of people who are underrepresented in historical narratives,” says Štubňová.

She explains that teaching an interdisciplinary course will expand her capacities as a professor and provide a unique teaching experience, both of which she hopes will prove invaluable for her future aspirations within the realm of academia.

Ian Russell’s course, Queer Aesthetics en español, explores the history and circulation of queer desire and relations in Spanish and Latin American literature and art. Students are encouraged to read and explore texts from around the Spanish-speaking world. 

“I’m really looking forward to embarking on a semester-long project with students in which we will collaborate to create a digital ‘map’ of different artists and writers as a way to think about queer histories and lineages through art, literature, and cultural exchange,” says Russell. 

To be eligible for a Deans' Faculty Fellowship, applicants in their fifth-year must have a record of excellence in teaching and scholarship and commit to completing, defending, and submitting the dissertation by January 15 of the sixth year. The DFFs are offered full fellowship support without any teaching responsibilities during the Fall semester. In the Spring semester, those who meet the thesis deadline are appointed as Visiting Assistant Professors with assignments to teach a course in their areas of expertise.