Gaius Charles Bolin Dissertation and Post-MFA Fellowships

Fellowship Description

The Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowships at Williams College promote diversity on college faculties by encouraging graduate students from underrepresented groups to complete a terminal graduate degree and pursue careers in college teaching. The fellowship was established in 1985 to address the shortage of faculty of color in US colleges and universities.

Gaius Charles Bolin was the first Black graduate of Williams, in 1889. He was an active and influential member of his class who went on to a successful career as a lawyer in Poughkeepsie, NY. Bolin also was a founding member of the local branch of the NAACP, and was the first African-American president of the Dutchess County Bar Association. In 1969, eighty years after Gaius Bolin graduated, Joseph E. Harris, the first Black tenure-line faculty member, was hired at Williams.

These fellowships, which honor Gaius Bolin’s legacy, are two-year residencies at Williams. Two scholars or artists are appointed each year. Fellows devote the bulk of the first year to the completion of dissertation work—or in the case of MFA applicants, building their professional portfolios—while also teaching one course as a faculty member in one of the College’s academic departments or programs. The second year of residency (ideally with degree in hand) is spent on academic career development while again teaching just one course.


The Bolin Fellowships are awarded to applicants from groups underrepresented in academia and/or in a particular field of scholarship, who show exceptional promise as scholars, who have an interest in and capacity for teaching students from groups that have been underrepresented in higher education, and who are pursuing a career in higher education in the United States. Eligible applicants include all U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card); individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program; Indigenous individuals exercising rights associated with the Jay Treaty of 1794; individuals granted Temporary Protected Status; asylees; and refugees. Ph.D. candidates must have completed all doctoral work except the dissertation by the end of the current academic year. MFA candidates must be recent recipients of the degree; only those with degrees granted in 2023, or to be granted in 2024, are eligible to apply.

Fellowship Terms 

The annual stipend for the position is $57,000. The College will also provide health and dental benefits, relocation and housing assistance, academic support including office space and a computer, and an annual allowance of $4,000 for research-related expenses.

During the period of residence at Williams, the Bolin Fellows will be affiliated with an appropriate department or program and will be expected to teach one one-semester course each year, normally in the fall semester of year one and the spring semester of year two.

Fellowship Application will open September 1, 2023

Candidates should apply via Interfolio before November 15, 2023 with:

  • a cover letter with a description of your research and teaching interests; this letter should also explain how you will advance the goals of the fellowship in furthering diversity in U.S. higher education;
  • a full curriculum vitae;
  • two confidential letters of recommendation;
  • PhD applicants: a copy of the dissertation prospectus, preferably limited to 10-15 pages, or a research statement of the same length; and a timetable for completion of the degree.
  • Post MFA applicants: project description, preferably limited to 2-5pages [250-1250 words], and additional material, as described below:
    • Writers: 2-3 short stories, 10-15 poems, or novel passages not to exceed 50 pages
    • Visual Artists: 20 images
    • Theatre Artists: sample of design portfolio, links to performances

Eligible candidates may apply to more than one academic unit. Participating units are:

(Beginning September 1, 2023, click on the academic unit to apply-please note: only those units listed are participating and units change from year to year.)

Williams College is a liberal arts institution located in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. The college has built its reputation on outstanding teaching and scholarship and on the academic excellence of its approximately 2,000 students. Please visit the Williams website (

Beyond meeting fully its legal obligations for non-discrimination, Williams College is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where members from all backgrounds can live, learn and thrive.