Mercer/Princeton Teaching Partnership Program January 2017

Princeton University and Mercer County Community College Teaching Partnership Program 2017

The Mercer/Princeton Teaching Partnership program will enable Princeton University graduate students to teach courses at Mercer County Community College, which will provide a valuable, mentored experience by a community college faculty member. This program will help Princeton graduate students to develop as teachers, designing and delivering their own courses in their academic fields while learning about teaching at a community college.

This professional development opportunity will be particularly rich for graduate students because it will encourage them to develop effective teaching skills in a highly diverse community college -- skills that have been shown to benefit all students. Mercer faculty mentors will be enriched by the enthusiasm and talent of Princeton graduate students and will have the opportunity to get reconnected to their academic disciplines through conversation with their graduate student partners.

Beginning in January 2017, a cohort of approximately six enrolled Ph.D. students from Princeton who have completed the general examination in their field will be selected to participate in the program. Applications will be solicited from across Princeton University by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, with the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning offering assistance in recruitment of applicants.

Key Dates:

  • November 11, 2016 – Applications may be made through SAFE
  • November 15, 2016 – Applications forwarded to Dr. David Edwards, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Mercer County Community College for review by appropriate departments at Mercer.
  • December 12, 2016 – Applicants notified if they have been accepted to participate. 
  • January 10, 2017  – Appointments will begin for the spring semester.

Application Process:

Graduate students will submit a teaching-focused cover letter and CV (submitted through SAFE), along with a statement from their adviser that indicates they have permission to apply (this may be sent via email to Amy Pszczolkowski, Assistant Dean for Professional Development, Office of the Dean of the Graduate School,

Selection Criteria:

Mercer will select up to six Princeton graduate students to participate in the program, basing the decisions on Mercer’s own curricular needs, their assessment of the applicants, and the availability of faculty mentors at Mercer.

Spring 2017 Commitment:

Throughout the spring 2017 semester, each graduate student will be paired with a faculty mentor in his or her academic field. The graduate student will observe the faculty member teaching, will meet with the faculty member outside of class to understand curriculum planning, and may be invited to guest lecture in the course. We will also encourage the graduate student to shadow the faculty member in meetings, when appropriate, to gain a better sense of how the faculty, students, and administrators at a community college interact.  This will expose Princeton graduate students to the opportunities and challenges of teaching in the community college context.

During the spring and fall semesters, selected graduate students will also participate in 4-5 non-transcripted cohort seminars led by Dr. Alexandra Salas, Dean of Innovation, Online and Student Success at Mercer.  In these seminars, graduate students will learn about key topics in pedagogy, including assessment, online learning, student life, financial aid, and disabilities services, from community college campus experts. They will also draft their syllabi for the upcoming fall semester and receive feedback from their faculty mentors on course design. Graduate students will be encouraged to consider developing online or hybrid courses, and if they choose to do so they will be invited to take advantage of existing resources at Mercer and/or Princeton that support faculty in developing such courses.

Fall 2017 Commitment:

In the fall 2017 semester, participating Princeton graduate students will teach their own courses at Mercer. The faculty mentor of each student will observe at least two course sessions and provide feedback after the course in a separate meeting.

Fellowship Payment:

During the fall 2017 teaching semester, Mercer will pay participating graduate students the prevailing adjunct rate (which is $758 per credit hour for 2016-2017). The graduate students will receive a $1000 fellowship stipend from Princeton that will be paid in equal installments of $500 at the conclusion of each term.

Program Oversight:

Over the course of the program, the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School at Princeton will check in periodically with Princeton graduate student participants, and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mercer will check in with participating Mercer faculty mentors.  Through the cooperation of these two offices overseeing the program, any issues that arise will be addressed and the program’s implementation and outcomes will be evaluated.

In addition to the program elements described above, Mercer County Community College is responsible for providing Princeton students participating in the program a learning and work environment on the Mercer campus that offers the same level of support and protections that other adjunct faculty at Mercer would receive.

For more information please contact Amy Pszczolkowski, Assistant Dean for Professional Development, or 609-258-9675.