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University of Virginia UVA Arts & Sciences Default

First Class of College Fellows Selected

Aug 30, 2016 |
Inaugural Class of College Fellows

The inaugural College Fellows charged with preparing the Engagement courses for the pilot of the new curriculum features Arts & Sciences faculty members from eight different academic departments. The Office of the Dean’s summer call for Fellows drew applicants ranging across the arts and humanities, the social sciences, and natural sciences.

Sarah Betzer, Associate Professor of Art and Co-Chair, College Fellows Program

The following faculty members have accepted invitations to serve as College Fellows:

  • Sarah Betzer, co-director (Art)
  • Chad Wellmon, co–director (Germanic Languages and Literatures)
  • Ahmed al-Rahim (Religious Studies)
  • Tico Braun (History)
  • Bruce Holsinger (English)
  • Jamie Morris (Psychology)
  • Deborah Roach (Biology)
  • Janet Spittler (Religious Studies)
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan (Media Studies)
  • Lisa Woolfork (English)

The faculty members will be joined by two postdoctoral fellows, Roberto Armengol (Anthropology) and Laura Goldblatt (English).

Chad Wellmon, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and Co-Chair, College Fellows Program

Arts & Sciences faculty voted in May to pilot the first comprehensive changes to the College’s general education requirements for undergraduates in more than 40 years. Building on the work of the General Education Committee, the College Fellows will spend this academic year designing the Engagement courses that will be introduced to a cohort of students drawn from the next year’s entering class (2017-18).

“We enter this year galvanized by the efforts of the General Education Committee, with a tremendous group of scholar-teachers committed to crafting a rigorous and compelling curriculum for our first year students,” College Fellows co-director Sarah Betzer said. “The College Fellows will begin our work this semester, coming together to create an Engagements curriculum that will inspire a sense of shared intellectual experience and community for students entering next fall.”

The Engagements will serve as the first component of courses in the new curriculum. Betzer said the proposed courses aim to orient students to foundational habits of mind and intellectual sensibilities that cut across disciplinary specialization: Aesthetic Engagement; Empirical and Scientific Engagement; Engaging Difference; and Ethical Engagement. "In addition to developing new classes within—and potentially across—the Engagements, the Fellows will convene to help reimagine the undergraduate experience as they reflect on current and future possibilities for the liberal arts and sciences," Betzer said.  “We look forward to hosting events on these topics for the wider University community in Spring 2017.”

The selected faculty will serve as College Fellows for two years, through the Fall 2018 semester. They will spend this academic year creating the Engagement courses, and each of the Fellows will teach the new courses during the 2017-18 academic year and the Fall 2018 semester. Their work will be supported with a stipend of $10,000 for every year in which they devote 100 percent of their instructional effort to the Engagement courses, and a stipend of $5,000 during the years in which their instructional time is divided between the Engagements and their home departments.

“From the work of the General Education Committee, to the faculty vote in May, to the launch of the College Fellows, I am excited to see the momentum this effort has already inspired,” said Ian Baucom, Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences. “I look forward to the development of the Engagement courses and I am eager to see how they work for students and faculty as the curriculum pilot unfolds.”

There will be another call this October for faculty interested in rotating into the second cohort of College Fellows.