Residential Faculty Fellowship at Williams-Mystic

Williams College faculty members are invited to submit a proposal to spend one semester as a participant in the Williams-Mystic program, to enhance understanding of and competencies in interdisciplinary, collaborative, and experiential pedagogies, and to expand intellectual engagement with ocean and coastal studies.

Background: Professor Benjamin W. Labaree, a Williams historian, founded the Williams-Mystic program in 1977. It is distinctive in offering an experiential liberal arts curriculum focused on the sea. In fact it is the only undergraduate program that offers interdisciplinary semester-long courses in maritime history, literature, policy, and science. Environmental studies and ocean sustainability are strong themes.

Note that Williams-Mystic is not a semester at sea. The campus is the Mystic Seaport museum. The program educates undergraduate students in an investigation of the sea that uses the resources of the Seaport’s vast historical collections for class, and also features travel throughout the United States and original research opportunities. Students enroll from Williams and a range of other colleges and universities to spend an intensive, immersive 17-week long semester. During that time, students take four interconnected courses, pursue independent projects, participate in three extended field seminars at different sites (one offshore and two coastal), and cultivate hands-on skills. Additional information is available at

The five faculty members at Williams-Mystic develop and implement their courses in close coordination with one another and share the work of organizing and mounting field seminars. As such they model interdisciplinary teaching in ways not often seen here in Williamstown. This fellowship will enable a Williams College faculty member to participate in this immersive semester and observe this interdisciplinary collaboration up close.

Eligibility and responsibilities: All Williams faculty members are eligible to apply. Generally, preference will be given to tenured faculty members but assistant professors and lecturers/senior lecturers may also apply. You need not have disciplinary expertise related to the oceans. Fellows will be expected to be in residence and active participants in the program for the semester, but they are not responsible for developing or teaching a course while there. Instead, they participate in all of the field seminars and contribute either guest lectures or seminars to existing courses as appropriate and devised in consultation with the Williams-Mystic faculty members. Fellows are also expected to seek ways to adapt and translate aspects of the pedagogy of Williams-Mystic back into her/his own teaching, and to share her/his observations with faculty at Williams. Attendance at the spring semester Williams-Mystic Council meeting (usually held in Williamstown) is expected, and each Fellow is asked to submit a written report to the Dean of the Faculty at the end of their residency.

Terms: This semester will count as an active teaching semester. That is, the faculty fellow at Williams-Mystic will receive full teaching credit for the semester and 100% salary and benefits as well as a housing subsidy.

ApplicationPlease submit a 1-2 page statement of interest to the Dean of the Faculty by November 15 of the year prior to the appointment year. In your statement, please explain what draws you to this opportunity and how you think you would benefit from it. Please also speak with your chair about the impact your proposed absence from campus would have on your home department or program’s curriculum.  We hope to make this fellowship next available during the 2021-22 academic year.

Selection: Fellows at Williams-Mystic will be appointed by the Dean of the Faculty, in consultation with the Associate Deans of the Faculty, the Executive Director of the Williams-Mystic Program, and the faculty at Williams-Mystic. Faculty fellows will be selected by their likelihood to fully engage in the interdisciplinary venture and their ability to make use of the experience in their teaching when they return to the Williams main campus.

History of appointments

  • Shawn Rosenheim (spring 2018)
  • Christian Thorne (spring and fall 2019)