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Taking a Pathway to Graduate School and Academic Careers

Published: June 28, 2017

Taking a Pathway to Graduate School and Academic Careers

At a discussion session for GSEF fellows at the Annual Summit in 2016.

Fifty students at ACM colleges have been selected for fellowships that could help propel them to graduate school and, eventually, to careers as professors at liberal arts colleges.

The students, who will be juniors this fall, are the second group to participate in the Graduate School Exploration Fellowship (GSEF) program, which aims to build from the ground up to foster greater diversity among college faculty.

The fellowships provide a variety of activities and support, including campus-based workshops and one-to-one mentoring by faculty, annual career development conferences organized by the ACM, and a paid summer research internship at a Big Ten university or the University of Chicago.

The GSEF program is part of the Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate, a collaboration of the ACM colleges, the research universities of the Big Ten Conference, and the University of Chicago.

The initiative, funded by an $8.1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed to address barriers to faculty diversity in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and the arts, especially in the context of liberal arts colleges. Students who plan to major in those disciplinary fields and are from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the professoriate are eligible to apply for the GSEF.

In its other areas of focus, the Fellows Program supports faculty fellows in tenure-track appointments at ACM colleges whose backgrounds and life experiences will enhance diversity on the campuses, and also sponsors annual hiring and diversity workshops for administrators and faculty.

The first cohort of 45 GSEF fellows, who began the program one year ago, have recently embarked on summer research internships at 13 research universities. Along with mentoring and a research experience, the fellows are getting a taste of the graduate school environment at a major university.

The two GSEF groups will gather at the Fellows Program Annual Summit later this summer in Chicago to learn more about academic research, graduate school, and teaching in the liberal arts setting, as well as to network with their peers and the ACM faculty fellows. The first GSEF cohort will give presentations about their just-completed summer research.

During the seven years of the GSEF program, fellowships will be awarded to 280 students — 20 from each of the ACM member colleges. Students apply for the GSEF on their home campuses during their sophomore year. See the GSEF webpage for an application guide and list of campus contacts.

 

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