Community College Teaching Partnership Program

The Mercer/Princeton Teaching Partnership program has now expanded to include Camden County College as another partner this year.  The program enables Princeton University graduate students to teach courses at Mercer County Community College or Camden County College, which will provide a valuable, mentored experience by a tenured community college faculty member. This program helps 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 is particularly rich for graduate students because it encourages them to develop effective teaching skills in a highly diverse community college -- skills that have been shown to benefit all students. Mercer faculty mentors are enriched by the enthusiasm and talent of Princeton graduate students and have the opportunity to reconnect to their academic disciplines through conversation with their graduate student partners.

Beginning in January 2019, a cohort of up to seven 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:

  • October 3, 2018 - 4:30-5:30, 329 Frist Campus Center – Information Session with community college faculty/administrators, and current/former teaching fellows
  • November 1, 2018 – Applications may be made through SAFE
  • November 3, 2018 – Applications forwarded to the colleges for review by appropriate faculty and departments
  • December 15, 2018 – Applicants notified if they have been accepted to participate
  • January 2019  – Appointment will begin for the start of Mercer/Camden's spring semester
  • August 2019 – teaching appointments begin

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, alp19@princeton.edu.

Selection Criteria:

The colleges will select up to seven Princeton graduate students to participate in the program, basing the decisions on their own curricular needs, their assessment of the applicants, and the availability of faculty mentors at the college who align with the applicants.

Spring 2019 Commitment:

Throughout the spring 2019 semester, each graduate student will be paired with a faculty mentor in or close to 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 the Graduate School and McGraw Center.  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 community colleges and/or Princeton that support faculty in developing such courses.

Fall 2019 Commitment:

In the fall 2019 semester, participating Princeton graduate students will teach their own courses at Mercer/Camden. 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 2019 teaching semester, Mercer will pay participating graduate students the prevailing adjunct rate. The graduate students will receive a $1,000 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 community college partners 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 and Camden are responsible for providing Princeton students participating in the program a learning and work environment on the Mercer/Camden campus that offers the same level of support and protections that other adjunct faculty would receive.

For more information please contact Amy Pszczolkowski, assistant dean for professional development, alp19@princeton.edu or 609-258-9675.