Mellon Humanities Alliance Fellowship for Doctoral Students Interested in Community College Teaching

Deadline: January 31, 2017

The Humanities Alliance is soliciting applications for a unique fellowship opportunity enabling nine (9) doctoral students at the Graduate Center to explore community college pedagogy and possible teaching careers. In addition to actual teaching experience at a community college, Fellows will participate in dedicated teaching and learning workshops designed to help them prepare their courses and examine how community colleges foster innovation that serves the “new majority” of undergraduate students today.
The four-year CUNY Humanities Alliance project, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, recognizes the growing importance of community colleges in higher education; the expansion of community college job opportunities for new faculty; the critical significance of community college students and humanities education to the future of American society; and the crucial role these colleges play in developing pedagogical innovation for all of higher education.  The competitive and highly prestigious two-year Fellowship offers graduate students in the humanities and the humanistic social sciences the opportunity to receive robust professional development from faculty and administrators at both LaGuardia Community College and the Graduate Center, to work with community college master faculty, and to participate in peer learning and peer mentoring with other graduate students in the Humanities Alliance. By teaching and working in a community college, Graduate Fellows will gain insight into how colleges and teachers are innovating and serving the specific needs of community college students, especially low income, first-generation and other underserved students.
After shadowing a master LaGuardia Community College faculty member in their first semester, fellows will teach one section of that course (or a similar course in that department) at LaGuardia in each of their second, third, and fourth semesters in the program. Throughout the fellowship, they will participate in Humanities Alliance workshops, fellows’ meetings, research, and other professional development activities, while also developing their own work, thoughts, and teaching materials into an online presence that will be advantageous to their future careers. Networking opportunities with other community college programs will also be available, especially as the Humanities Alliance moves towards a national conference (in Fall 2018).
This cutting-edge, high-visibility Fellowship program requires reflection, flexibility, collegiality, and willingness to teach introductory-level courses that lay crucial foundations for community college students’ learning, thriving, and success. It offers an ideal opportunity for Graduate Center students committed to public higher education, social justice, and supporting the students that the City University of New York is intended to serve—which is to say, anyone in New York City who wishes to learn. This program is organized in partnership with the Futures Initiative and the Teaching and Learning Center at the Graduate Center, and the Center for Teaching and Learning at LaGuardia Community College. Together, these programs offer a range of professional development workshops and seminars to help participating doctoral students advance as scholars and teachers within the context their own disciplines and the changing context of higher education.
Simultaneously, this program is dedicated to broadening and strengthening access to and opportunity in the Humanities for community college undergraduates, some of whom may well be identified as having the potential to, one day, become future Humanities professors. The program supports a range of cultural opportunities and enhancements for the undergraduates including course-related Humanities enrichment activities and the LaGuardia Mellon Humanities Scholars program for select LaGuardia students.


  • Doctoral student in the humanities or humanistic social sciences at the Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Entering years 2-5 of study in Fall 2017
  • Prior teaching experience welcome but not required
  • Open to students with and without fellowship packages


Fellowship Structure

This two-year fellowship offers compensation of more than $26,000 per year and will follow a specific sequence, with schedules posted in advance and workload calculated each year not to exceed the requirements of a Graduate Assistantship B.
Semester 1 (Fall 2017): Graduate Fellows shadow master faculty mentors in courses taught at LaGuardia Community College. Fellows will be expected to participate in a two-day intensive institute at the beginning of the semester, monthly workshops hosted by LaGuardia Community College, and regular fellows’ meetings at the Graduate Center.
Semester 2 (Spring 2018): Graduate Fellows will be assigned to teach their own section of the LaGuardia course they shadowed in Semester 1. Monthly professional development seminars continue, as well as regular fellows’ meetings.  Fellows’ attendance at and participation in these meetings are required in this and subsequent semesters.
Semesters 3-4 (Fall 2018, Spring 2019): Students will continue to teach one course per semester. They will become mentors in the professional development workshops for a new entering cohort of Humanities Alliance Teaching Fellows, and share their reflections about their experiences with a broader audience at the Graduate Center.
Throughout all semesters, Graduate Fellows will be writing public reflections on their work, attending events and meetings to gain exposure to the LaGuardia departments, and collaborating with Humanities Alliance leadership and staff on research about the program. Fellows will also have opportunities to participate in additional professional development opportunities open to the GC and CUNY community.


Funding for the Humanities Alliance Graduate Fellowship come from two sources:  Graduate Fellows are appointed to a Graduate Assistant B position, which will pay over 12 months through bi-weekly paychecks on New York State payroll; and Graduate Fellows also receive a lump sum fellowship totaling $14,159 which will pay through the Graduate Center’s financial aid office.  The lump sum fellowship is divided into two payments, each paying towards the beginning of the Fall and the Spring semester.  The starting salary for the Graduate Assistant B for Fall 2017 is $11,969.  A fellow who has no prior service/appointment history as a Graduate Assistant B will receive the GAB salary of $11,969 and the lump sum financial aid fellowship of $14,159 for a total of $26,128 for the HA Fellowship funding.  If a selected candidate has prior service/appointment history as a Graduate Assistant B, the fellow will be appointed at the individual’s historical GAB salary and will also receive the lump sum financial aid fellowship of $14,159.

Course assignments:

The courses available to Humanities Alliance graduate fellows will be drawn from introductory-level courses in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.  These courses, such as literature, critical thinking, and sociology fill general education requirements in the CUNY Pathways structure and are the by far most common site for LaGuardia students’ engagement with the humanities.  As such they not only provide an opportunity to understand and learn from the process of teaching humanities courses most commonly taught by community college faculty; they also offer the sufficiently large number of sections required to make them available to Graduate Fellows and to allow some adjustments for fellows’ Graduate Center course schedule.  As part of the professional development process, Fellows will learn more about the course requirements and structures, and the ways that LaGuardia faculty customize their courses within those structures.
The final course assignments for the program will be determined during the selection process, depending in part on the applications received, the LaGuardia schedule as determined by department chairs, as well as the availability of mentors and other factors.
Types of courses that are anticipated to be available would include:

  • Introductory survey courses in history, literature, theater, sociology and psychology. Many of these courses, such as Writing through Literature, The Art of Theater, and Reading the Biography, integrate experiential and skill-building components with humanities content.
  • Elementary language courses in French, Japanese, and Spanish
  • Courses such as Critical Thinking and Speech Communication, where students build humanities-guided thinking and communication skills.

Please note that courses have specific requirements. For instance, departments may require special training in writing or composition, addressing particular topics or Core Competencies, the use of a particular textbook, or the inclusion of an ePortfolio component in their classes. Such information will be confirmed and communicated during the selection process.


Applicants must:

  • Be making satisfactory progress towards their degree;
  • Be available to teach on LaGuardia Community College’s academic calendar (Fall I runs from September through December; Spring I runs from early March through late June);
  • Commit to attending monthly professional development workshops at LaGuardia Community College and regular meetings at the Graduate Center;
  • Commit to writing 2-3 public reflections per semester about their experiences for the Humanities Alliance’s online platform;
  • Participate in public events at the Graduate Center to share their experiences with the 
GC community.



All applications are due January 31, 2017. A complete application includes completing this application form, as well as submitting the following information by email to

  • Statement of Interest no more than 500 words explaining why you are interested in teaching in a community college setting and what you will bring to the community college classroom and to the cohort of Fellows and mentors in this nationally-visible program.
  • Indication of all fields in which you are qualified to teach introductory humanities courses, as discussed above.
  • Your CV
  • Unofficial transcript
  • Names and contact information for two references.

These supplemental materials should be submitted as a single PDF. Please include “Humanities Alliance Fellowship” in the subject line of the email. 
All of the materials must be submitted by January 31, 2017 for your application to be reviewed. 
Selected applicants will be notified and invited to interview in early February.

1 Comment

  1. The email address provided is not working.
    I am a first-year doctoral student and currently have a Grad B Assistantship. I am required to begin teaching at Lehman college in the Fall. I am trying to figure out whether the teaching post at Laguardia would fulfill this requirement, or would I have to teach two courses?

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