Teaching with SPS – Pre-College and Undergraduate Programs

Through the School of Professional Studies, Brown University offers a number of programs designed for pre-college students as well as Brown and visiting undergraduates – primarily during the summer months.  Our instructors are primarily Brown faculty, visiting instructors, graduate students, post-docs and members of our greater academic community.  They all find, in teaching in an SPS program, opportunities to develop innovative courses and acquire valuable experience with different audiences.

Each fall we renew the call for proposals to teach in the upcoming summer.  Proposals are best received by us by November 1.  The summer curriculum is typically finalized between mid-December and mid-January. 

A course proposal form and instructions on its completion can be found below. We encourage those interested in teaching with us to read over the descriptions of each program carefully to ensure that the course they have in mind is designed for the most appropriate program/audience.   If you have further questions and wish to speak to a Program Director, please feel free to contact us:

Program Directors:

The Programs

University Summer Session

Summer Session serves as the summer term for Brown University, and Brown undergraduates comprise the primary audience for courses, although some visiting undergraduates, advanced high school students, and Brown graduate students do also enroll. A substantial number of students seek to enroll in courses that are pre-requisites for further advanced study; in courses that are particularly challenging during the fall and spring, such that focusing on just this one course in the summer appeals to them; in courses that are frequently closed during the fall and spring; and to a lesser degree in courses that have broad appeal across disciplines. Visiting undergraduates typically seek courses that are foundational in a discipline and which typically share common curricula with other colleges and universities. Advanced high school students generally seek courses that are introductory to a discipline or which appeal to them as exemplars of first year college study. The term is 7 weeks long, which include 6 weeks of instruction (approximately 8 hours per week of class time) along with an additional week of combined reading period and final examinations. Courses are also offered fully on-line as well as on campus and follow the same calendar. Our expectation is that all the goals accomplished in a course offered during a 15-week semester will be accomplished in the 7-week summer session, whether delivered on campus or online. Students may take no more than two courses during the Summer Session. In order for a course to be offered in the Summer Session, both course and instructor must have the endorsement of SPS and a Brown University academic department, and be approved by the University faculty committee responsible for the curriculum – The College Curriculum Committee.

To learn more, visit: 
Undergraduate Programs Web Site »
Those interested in teaching in the University’s credit bearing Summer Session should please contact James Chansky, Assistant Dean, Summer Session and Pre-College Programs directly at [email protected] or 401-863-7905.

[email protected] Courses

High school students interested in the intellectual sophistication and varied methods of inquiry typical of a first-year undergraduate liberal arts curriculum pursue these opportunities through [email protected] These non-credit courses are presented in an intensive workshop/seminar format that meets Monday through Friday, for 3 hours per day. Multiple sessions ranging in duration from one week to four weeks are offered, beginning at the end of June and ending the first week in August. The program curriculum reflects the diversity of a college curriculum in general, as well as the diversity of the particular academic fields represented at Brown University. Courses appropriate for this audience should be targeted towards a first-year student: in other words, for those beginning learners who are ready to be intellectually challenged, but might not have all of the building blocks of a more experienced student. For the most part, students are most interested in courses that introduce them to a discipline, a particular mode of inquiry, a particular methodology, or a particular issue or topic that provides a vehicle for such an introduction. Course content and delivery should be designed with the length of the term in mind, so that the goals of the course fit the timeframe. As classes meet for three hours daily, it is crucially important for instructors to consider a varied toolkit of teaching techniques, so that classes are engaging and—as much as possible—interactive.  As courses should be designed with the expectation that students will also spend up to 3 hours daily on preparation for each class, outside of class work should be similarly engaging, pointed, and directly connected to work done in class.

To learn more, visit: 
Pre-College Program Web Site »
Course proposal form »

The Leadership Institute

The Leadership Institute is designed for highly motivated, intellectually curious students who are interested in social issues and making a positive impact in their communities.  Consisting of three core elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan, this program enables students to analyze complex social issues and cultivate both the self-awareness and confidence to act on the knowledge they have gained. Faculty will work with the program director to synthesize course content with the established leadership components of this Institute. Courses are two weeks in length and meet for three hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. Additionally, students and faculty are required to attend several late afternoon workshops related to leadership development and spend one full day off-site at a low ropes course. Course proposals that provide interdisciplinary, global, and contemporary perspectives and faculty who are committed to youth engagement are well suited for this program.

To learn more, visit: 
Leadership Program Web Site »
Course proposal form »

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab (BELL)

BELL is a leadership program for high school students focused on environmental studies and science through place-based learning. Locations for 2019 include: Alaska, Florida Keys, and Rhode Island. The curriculum for each BELL program varies based on the location, though all programs include an interdisciplinary grouping of lessons including leadership development, science communication, scientific and field methodology, environmental justice, and environmental advocacy. BELL is seeking staff members to fill multiple roles, including instructors, on-site program managers, and leadership coordinators. BELL staff typically have experience working in residential programs such as summer camps, field camps, or outdoor leadership programs. They also typically have experience teaching high school students and utilizing active learning strategies to teach concepts in environmental science and/or leadership.

To learn more, visit:
BELL Alaska » 
BELL Rhode Island
BELL Florida Keys
Course proposal form »

[email protected] for English Language Learners

Modeled along the same lines as all [email protected] courses, those for English Language Learners also reflect the broad range of academic disciplines offered at Brown. While they are targeted towards a first-year student - for those beginning learners who are ready to be intellectually challenged, but might not have all of the building blocks of a more experienced student - they are also adjusted to serve the particular needs of university-bound English Language Learners as well. Courses are two weeks in length, and in addition to meeting Monday - Friday 9:00 to 11:30 am, they meet again on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:30 pm. Class sizes do not exceed 18 students. While applicants are all reviewed to ensure sufficient proficiency in English to benefit from these courses, their proficiency levels may vary and are not tracked by or within classes.

To learn more, visit: 
[email protected] for English Language Learners Website »
Course proposal form »

STEM I: for Middle School Students

The STEM I program is a Pre-College program for middle school students who have demonstrated an outstanding ability in science or math and are seeking to experience additional challenges and gain exposure to a multidisciplinary STEM-based curriculum. STEM I courses are one and two weeks in the summer and classes meet for three hours each morning and on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. They should be designed to introduce a complex scientific topic in a manner appropriate for highly advanced rising 7th and 8th grade students and should include hands-on activities, student-centered learning, and inquiry practices. Faculty should be prepared to develop courses that allow students to begin to think, and act, as interdisciplinary problem solvers.

To learn more, visit: 
STEM I Program Web Site » 
Course proposal form »

STEM II for Rising 9th and 10th Grade Students

This program is a Pre-College program for students who have completed middle school and are either entering the 9th grade or have just recently completed 9th grade. This program is designed to strengthen the student’s innate curiosity and passion for content in the STEM subjects, further prepare them for success in High School and introduce them to potential career paths. Ten courses will be offered, each two weeks in duration. Classes will meet for three hours each morning and on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Faculty will enhance the academic content through the inclusion of a challenging and comprehensive research project, activity or design challenge. The students will spend time out of class during the full two weeks working on this project and will present their efforts on the final day to their instructor, peers, and family. The students we are educating today will be the leaders of tomorrow. These courses should expose students to the concepts behind topics of global importance that are part of the students’ world and make them aware of where their curiosity and strengths may lead them in the future and how they can have an impact.

To learn more, visit: 
STEM II Program Web Site » 
Course proposal form »

[email protected] Online

[email protected] Online offers courses designed to be fully online, asynchronous learning experiences that, at the same time, model small seminar-style classes that facilitate close communications between students and instructors – and between and among students. As with [email protected] courses offered on campus, online courses involve the same expectation of college-level teaching and learning in a compressed, non-credit format. Courses may be drawn from any of the broad liberal arts disciplines offered at Brown, and are typically 3 – 4 weeks long, involving approximately 10 hours of student work per week. Though the courses are asynchronous, courses entail a weekly schedule with set due dates for assignments so that the learning is progressive with regular milestones and moments for assessment, feedback and interaction.

To learn more, visit: 
[email protected] Online Web Site »
Designing and Teaching Online Course »
Course proposal form »