Community College Teaching Partnership Program

The Community College Teaching Partnership program offers Princeton University graduate students a two-semester long experience at local community colleges.

Following a mentored semester, during which Princeton Ph.D. students shadow and learn from a tenured community college faculty member, each Princeton Ph.D. student has the opportunity to teach a course at a participating community college. The program helps Princeton graduate students develop as teachers, as they design and deliver course content while learning about the academic environment of 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, regardless of their career trajectory. 

A cohort of roughly seven Ph.D. students (who must be enrolled, and must have completed the general examination in their field) are selected to participate in the program each year. Applications will be solicited from across Princeton University by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, in concert with the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning.

Key Dates for 2019-2020: (Note that the application window closes in November)

October 10, 2019 - 4:30-5:30, 329 Frist Campus Center – Information Session with community college faculty/administrators, and current/former teaching fellows

November 1, 2019 – Applications are due; Apply directly through SAFE

November 3, 2019 – Applications forwarded to the colleges for review by appropriate faculty and departments

December 15, 2019 – Applicants notified if they have been accepted to participate

January 2020  – Appointment will begin for the start of the community college's spring semester

August 2020 – 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 James M. Van Wyck, assistant dean for professional development, Office of the Dean of the Graduate School,

Selection Criteria:

The colleges will select 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 Commitment:

Throughout the spring semester, each graduate student is paired with a faculty mentor in or close to their 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 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 Commitment:

In the fall semester, participating Princeton graduate students will teach their own courses at the partnering institution. 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 teaching semester, the participating community colleges will pay teaching fellows 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 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, participating community colleges are responsible for providing Princeton teaching fellows a learning and work environment on the campus that offers the same level of support and protections that other adjunct faculty would receive.

For more information, please contact James M. Van Wyck in the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.


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