The Lawrence Fellows in the Liberal Arts and Sciences program has two primary goals. First, to help develop the professoriate of the future by providing mentoring, teaching opportunities, and research collaborations for persons who have recently finished their graduate degrees. These activities are designed to better prepare them for careers at selective liberal arts colleges. Second, to bring young scholars to campus who will enrich student learning, share new research directions being pursued at distinguished graduate programs, collaborate with faculty on research and performance, and further strengthen the ability of Lawrence University to offer one-on-one learning experiences for all students.
The program was initiated in 2005 with the hiring of eight Fellows for the 2005-06 academic year. Fellows are appointed for two years, during which they teach courses, offer individualized instruction opportunities to students, and continue their professional activities as scholars and/or performers. A unique aspect of the program is its scale and breadth. All fields represented by departments or interdisciplinary areas are eligible to apply for Fellows.
For students, the program provides an increase in course offerings and more individualized instruction opportunities due to the presence of additional faculty members, and also helps to maintain small class sizes. For faculty, Fellows are not only valuable by helping to expand departmental curricula, but also as collaborators in research and performances. Fellows may also free Lawrence faculty to teach more specialized courses or to offer more individualized instruction. Further, the connections formed with the premier graduate schools from which Fellows are selected create opportunities for faculty by promoting research collaborations.
For the Fellows themselves, the program aids their transition from graduate school to an academic career; a lower teaching load enables them to create new courses under less intense pressure while also maintaining their professional activities as scholars and performers. By promoting the development of the next generation of college professors, the program makes a more general contribution to academia. A development and mentoring program has been designed to foster excellence in teaching and scholarship. The development program promotes self-reflection by Fellows and assistance by faculty mentors in setting goals and strengthening Fellows' skill as teachers and productivity as scholars. Evaluation from multiple sources (e.g.,student evaluations, faculty mentor and observer evaluations, and self-evaluation) ensures that Fellows receive systematic feedback to foster improvement.
Program evaluation has been built into the program from its inception, integrating evaluation of its effectiveness into every aspect of the program.