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 for the semester, to participate in all of the field seminars, to contribute either guest lectures or seminars to existing courses as appropriate and devised in consultation with the Williams-Mystic faculty members, 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. Fellows will not be responsible for developing or teaching a course while at Williams-Mystic.

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.

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.

Timing: Please submit a 1-2 page statement expressing your interest in this opportunity for upcoming semesters of Spring 2018, Fall 2018, or Spring 2019. 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.

Faculty interested in a Spring 18 fellowship should apply by September 30, 2017. Faculty interested in a Fall 18 or Spring 19 fellowship should apply by December 15, 2017. We hope to make this opportunity available at least once per academic year.