My Application

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Mentoring Agreement (to be completed once matched)

The following guidelines are offered to help you to have a successful mentoring interaction.

  • Maintain regular contact.  Mentors and mentees are encouraged to be in contact at least once a month during the mentoring term. Conversations may occur over the phone, via Skype (or similar software), by email, and/or in person when possible.
  • Set clear and realistic goals. At the start of a mentoring partnership, mentors and mentees should have a conversation that addresses goals for both the mentor and the mentee. Mentors are encouraged to help students think about and work towards personal, academic, and career goals. It is also important for mentors to consider their own goals for the relationship as well.
  • Be responsive.  Both mentors and mentees are expected to return calls and emails in a timely manner (e.g. within two business days). If your mentor or mentee is not responsive, please contact Yoona Hong at hong@woodrow.org.
  • Provide/receive feedback.  It is important that feedback is candid and delivered in a thoughtful and constructive way.  Help your mentee learn how to receive and respond to feedback by modeling the behavior through open discussion.
  • Participate in a climate of self-reflection and self-development.  Mentors should ask questions to help their mentees understand and articulate motivations, accomplishments, weaknesses, etc.  Employ active listening as a way to develop questions to ask your menteeMentees should expect to reflect and answer these thought-provoking questions that will help develop a sense of self-awareness that helps one acknowledge strengths and work towards strengthening areas of growth.
  • Honor commitments.  If a mentoring conversation must be cancelled, it is expected that the mentor or mentee will make every effort to communicate in advance of the meeting and reschedule. If circumstances prohibit either party from participating in the program prior to the end of a term, each party must agree to notify their mentoring partner and MMFPN staff.
  • Evaluate. At the end of their mentoring term, both participants will be required to complete an evaluation form.

*Note: Mentors are not expected to offer internships or jobs.

Are there suggestions which you would like to add to this list? Please let us know.

< Back to MMFPN Mentoring Program page

< Back to MMFPN Mentors page

< Back to MMFPN Mentees page

Applications are open for the 2016-2017 MMFPN Mentoring Program for mentors and mentees.


Through the MMFPN Mentoring Program, pairs of MMUF alumni work together to support each other, broaden their network, and achieve their goals.

The mission of the program is to foster a culture of mentoring that

  • • Connects MMUF alumni with mentors and peers in a structured framework which encourages productive conversations around academic, professional, and life goals.
  • • Offers opportunities for MMUF alumni to build mentoring and networking skills.
  • • Provides alumni with a personal and active way to reconnect with the MMUF community.

MMFPN defines pair mentoring as a learning partnership in which a more experienced mentor draws upon his or her knowledge, skill set, and perspective to provide guidance and feedback to a mentee who correspondingly is able to grow and develop. The mentee takes an active role and responsibility for his or her own learning and development by respecting the mentor’s time and responding thoughtfully to the mentor’s questions and guidance.  The intended outcome is for the mentee to gain confidence in making strategic and informed decisions regarding his or her academic and professional life, and for the mentor to grow in his/her leadership and communication skills.

Program Structure

The MMFPN Mentoring Program offers short and/or long-term mentoring engagements that are initiated on a yearly basis. Mentors and mentees indicate the desired length of their mentoring term in their application. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to be in contact at least once a month during the mentoring period.

Mentoring terms run on the following schedule:

  • • November 2016 – February 2017 (short-term)
  • • November 2016 – June 2017 (long-term)

Mentors can accept a maximum of three (3) MMUF mentees at any given time. Mentees can have only one (1) active MMUF mentor per term.

In February and June, active mentoring pairs receive a brief survey inquiring about the end point of the interaction. If a mentor and mentee would like to formally continue their relationship after the mentoring terms, the mentee can request his or her current mentor through the MMFPN Mentoring Program for an additional term when the application re-opens.

More Information

MMFPN Mentors

MMFPN Mentees

Mentor-Mentee Expectations

Mentoring Resources

Important Program Dates

Event Date
Mentor and Mentee Applications Open September 19, 2016
Mentor and Mentee Applications Close October 1, 2016
MMFPN Sends Potential Mentors to Mentees October 10, 2016
Mentor Requests Due to MMFPN October 14, 2016
Mentors Receive Potential Mentee Profiles October 21, 2016
Mentors Accept Mentee(s) October 28, 2016
Mentoring Program Begins November 1, 2016
MMFPN Biennial Conference November 3, 2016

FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CONTACT: Patrick Riccards | riccards@woodrow.org  |  (703) 298-8283

Woodrow Wilson Academy Receives Informal Approval From Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to License STEM Teachers

Competency-Based Graduate School and Education Research Lab Partners with Five Leading School Districts, Accelerates In-Service PD Efforts

WW Foundation Reaches Halfway Mark of Total Fundraising Goal to Make Groundbreaking Program Reality for 2017

PRINCETON, NJ (July 20, 2016) –As the next phase in its bold national effort to dramatically improve teacher preparation and to help teaching and learning practices evolve for the future, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation announced that its Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning (WW Academy) has received informal approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to offer an initial, post-baccalaureate license for middle and secondary school teachers in biology, chemistry, and math.

In 2015, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation revealed its plans to develop competency-based master’s degree programs in teaching and school leadership, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Applications for degree-granting approval and accreditation are in process. The WW Academy remains on track to name its first cohort of Fellows for the 2017–18 academic year.

“A year ago, we announced plans to chart a new course in educator preparation, one focused on what aspiring teachers know and are able to do,” Woodrow Wilson Foundation President Arthur Levine said. “Today, working with MIT, our efforts in competency and curriculum development, licensure and accreditation, strategic partnerships, program development, and fundraising have made great strides. The Woodrow Wilson Academy will open its doors to its first class in the summer of 2017.”

Draft Competencies Developed, Challenge-Based Curriculum Established

During the past year, the WW Academy has developed its competencies for beginning teachers. Specific content knowledge competencies have been built for biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Competencies are currently under review by teacher educators, subject-matter experts, and K–12 teachers.

The competencies are the basis of an interactive, challenge-based curriculum designed to ensure prospective teachers can demonstrate both what they have learned and how they use it in a classroom setting. MIT has been an integral part of developing and prototyping the WW Academy “Challenge” model. The WW Academy will publicly unveil its first biology-related challenge in fall 2016.

As part of its efforts, MIT has also been developing a suite of teacher education-focused games and simulations for the Academy. It is also helping to build the technology infrastructure on which the entire WW Academy program will be offered.

Initial School District Partnerships Established

To ensure a robust clinical experience for all students enrolling in the graduate program, the WW Academy has established strategic partnerships with five local school districts in Massachusetts—Burlington, Cambridge, Natick, Revere, and Somerville. In addition to providing classroom-based experiences to WW Academy students, each of the districts has identified exemplary STEM teachers to participate in the WW Academy effort.

This summer, 22 of these STEM teachers will take part as Design Fellows in a summer workshop developed to ensure WW Academy students have experienced educators to work with, mentors who can help bridge current school environments with new competency-based approaches. The mentorship efforts will be modeled on the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program. This advisory group of teachers will also help to shape the clinical program.

“The need for highly qualified STEM teachers in the public schools has never been greater,” Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Young said. “Cambridge, MA—a hub of the STEM industry—is proud to partner with the WW Academy to strengthen teaching and learning in this critical area.  We are enthused about this work, not only for our teachers but also for our students, who will be the beneficiaries of this project and eventually the people who will fill those STEM jobs in our community.”

In-Service PD Efforts Accelerated

In its 2015 announcement, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation noted its intention to develop in-service teacher programs and micro-credentialing opportunities based on its competency-based approach. Following strong urging from education leaders, the Foundation has decided to accelerate PD development, launching an effort concurrent with graduate program development. These offerings, also part of the MIT collaboration, will be developed as inaugural projects in the Walter Buckley Teaching and Learning Lab, which will serve as an incubator and innovation lab, studying what works and why in preparing teachers and education leaders, and offering new ideas and models to meet the needs of 21st-century schools.

“Based on the feedback we have received to date, there is a strong demand for STEM content-focused, competency-based professional development for educators across the country,” Levine said. “Using our competencies and challenge-based approach, we can develop meaningful PD offerings that allow teachers to build their knowledge and skills and demonstrate to their schools and their profession the abilities they bring to their classrooms.”

With $35 Million Total Project Budget, $17 Million Raised to Date

The Woodrow Wilson Foundation also announced that it had officially reached the halfway mark toward its $35 million goal to develop and launch the WW Academy and the Walter Buckley Teaching and Learning Lab. Phase two supporters include the Bezos Family Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and several anonymous large donors.

The WW Academy’s efforts are built, in part, on the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s ongoing efforts in teacher and education leader preparation. Currently, the Foundation partners with five states—Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio—to offer the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. Working with 28 universities in those states, the WW Foundation is redesigning teacher education to center on a master’s degree program that integrates a yearlong clinical experience and three years of mentoring. The Foundation is also working in three states—Indiana, New Mexico, and Wisconsin—on the WW MBA in Education Leadership Fellowships, using a similar model to identify, recruit, and prepare the next generation of education leaders.


About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society. Today, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s more than 22,000 Fellows include 14 Nobel Laureates, 36 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Pulitzer Prize winners, two Fields Medalists, and a host of recipients of other awards.

About the Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning
The Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning seeks to transform teacher education by creating a model to prepare teachers and school leaders to succeed in the diverse classrooms of today and to shape and lead the schools of tomorrow.

FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Patrick Riccards | Chief Communication and Strategy Officer | (703) 298‐8283 

As Indiana Works To Improve Pipeline of Strong School Leaders, Newest Cohort of Woodrow Wilson Foundation MBA Fellows in Education Leadership Selected

First Classes of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows Named at Indiana State University,
Indiana University; Third Group of MBA Fellows at University of Indianapolis to Begin Work

PRINCETON, NJ (June 1, 2016)

As Indiana continues its efforts to improve student success in classrooms across the state, Indiana’s 2016-17 class of Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellows in Education Leadership were announced today. Led by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the MBA Fellows program is helping the state continue to set new national standards in the preparation and placement of educational leaders equipped to head changing 21st-century schools.

In 2014, the first cohort of Woodrow Wilson Indiana MBA Fellows in Education Leadership began their work at the University of Indianapolis. This year, inaugural classes at Indiana State University and Indiana University will join a third UIndy cohort. The WW Indiana MBA Fellowship program charts a new course in education leader preparation. Blending clinical practice in schools with innovative business school coursework, it ensures graduates have the knowledge and skills not only to guide schools and districts in a changing education environment, but also close achievement gaps between America’s lowest- and highest-performing schools and between the country’s top-performing schools and those around the world.

Indiana is one of three states, with New Mexico and Wisconsin, that currently offer the WW MBA Fellowships, which integrates graduate education coursework with an MBA curriculum tailored to school leaders’ needs. The Woodrow Wilson Foundation administers the programs in Indiana through the generous financial support of Lilly Endowment Inc.

“Working with Indiana University, Indiana State, and UIndy, the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship program is ensuring Indiana public schools have leaders that represent the most innovative, results-oriented thinking today,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and author of an influential national study that called for dramatically changing how the United States prepares school leaders. “After the classroom teacher, the most important factor in a child’s school success is a school principal. Through the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship, we are ensuring Indiana’s schools have a pipeline of exemplary principals focused on both teacher and student success. Indiana is a part of an important new national movement to dramatically improve how we prepare educators.”

“We’re very happy to continue our partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and to see this important program expand,” said Deborah Balogh, executive vice president and provost at the University of Indianapolis. “UIndy has received phenomenal feedback from central Indiana school districts that were seeking exactly this sort of opportunity to cultivate new leaders.”

“The collaboration of the faculty in business and education to develop this outstanding program is very exciting; I am confident this program will provide quality leaders for Indiana’s public schools,” said Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College of Business at Indiana State University.  Kandi Hill-Clarke, dean of the Bayh College of Education at Indiana State added, “Preparing quality teachers and educational leaders has always been at the center of ISU’s mission, a fact made more meaningful as the University celebrates its Sesquicentennial anniversary. This exciting program provides a unique opportunity for us to continue that effort by building on the strength of the faculty of our two colleges to prepare the next generation of school leaders.”

“This has been one of the most interesting and fun projects to work on because it has really challenged us to think about how we educate educators,” said Idalene “Idie” Kesner, dean of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and the Frank P. Popoff Chair of Strategic Management. “We developed a creative curriculum that applies business and management practices designed to inspire teachers and students. It’s very gratifying to know that our first cohort will be starting soon.”

The Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership recruits and prepares experienced educators who take a full year of executive-style MBA courses. The program is offered through the business schools at partner universities and is equivalent in rigor to traditional MBA programs and it benefits from their rigorous MBA programs. It is designed to prepare leaders who will create school cultures to drive innovation, expand the use of analytics and evidence-based practices, raise student performance to international levels, and improve the quality of school systems and teaching over time. Indiana and Wisconsin were the first two states to embrace this new approach to school leadership, with New Mexico joining in 2015.

Each Fellow is selected from a highly competitive pool of nominees. Unlike programs that recruit career changers from other fields to work in schools, the WW MBA Fellowship requires that candidates be current educators who are nominated by Indiana school districts or charter schools. In this “business to business” model, districts must nominate candidates before they can apply, and must agree to participate in certain aspects of the program if their nominee is selected.

Fellows are selected based on, among other things, key competencies of effective leaders. Each receives a Fellowship stipend that  covers tuition and materials for the MBA program, along with executive coaching. In exchange, Fellows commit to serve in leadership roles in identified districts/schools for at least three years.

A full list of the 62 individuals named 2016–17 Indiana MBA in Education Leadership Fellows class follows. The university partner programs work with school district partners to develop partnerships that will sustain clinical placements (in-school learning arrangements) and mentoring opportunities for WW MBA Fellows.

The Indiana MBA efforts build on the successful efforts of the Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship program – offered at Ball State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue University, University of Indianapolis, and Valparaiso University. The highly competitive Teaching Fellowship program recruits both recent graduates and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math—the STEM fields—and prepares them specifically to teach in high-need secondary schools.

Visit http://woodrow.org/fellowships/ww-ed-mba/indiana/ to learn more about the Foundation’s work in school leadership preparation in Indiana.


About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.

About Indiana State University
Indiana State University (http://www.indstate.edu) is a Public, Doctoral/Research University located in Terre Haute, IN, approximately one hour west of Indianapolis.  The University enrolls over 13,000 students in over 100 majors.  The University has consistently been ranked by Princeton Review as one of the “Best in the Midwest.” ISU is a consistent member of the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and has been named the national’s Non-Profit Leadership Campus of the Year.  Washington Monthly ranks ISU #1 in community service and #3 in service learning.  Forbes Magazine has identified Indiana State University as the most affordable University in the state and ranks ISU as one of the nation’s best colleges that emphasizes quality as well as value.

The MBA and Education Leadership Preparation at Indiana State University
Both the Princeton Review and US News recognize the Scott College of Business as one of the top business schools in the nation.  The MBA degree was praised by the Princeton Review for small classes, great teachers, and an affordable tuition. The Scott College of Business is accredited by AACSB, the highest achievement for business schools and the hallmark of excellence in management education.  Educator Preparation has been at the core of ISU’s mission for 150 years.  Today, the Bayh College of Education continues that great tradition.  The College is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Indiana Department of Education.  The College’s educational administration program has been recognized for its scholar/practitioner approach to preparing building level and district level educational leaders.

About Indiana University
Indiana University Bloomington is the flagship residential, doctoral-extensive campus of Indiana University. Its mission is to create, disseminate, preserve, and apply knowledge. It does so through its commitments to cutting-edge research, scholarship, arts, and creative activity; to challenging and inspired undergraduate, graduate, professional, and lifelong education; to culturally diverse and international educational programs and communities; to first-rate library and museum collections; to economic development in the state and region; and to meaningful experiences outside the classroom. The Bloomington campus is committed to full diversity, academic freedom, and meeting the changing educational and research needs of the state, the nation, and the world.

About the University of Indianapolis
Since 1902, the University of Indianapolis has been committed to education for service. Today, 5,400 students are enrolled in respected undergraduate, masters and doctoral programs in the health sciences, arts, sciences, business, education and engineering, with an average class size of 17 providing a student-centric interdisciplinary and experiential learning environment. Located minutes from downtown, UIndy is a community anchor, elevating quality of life for all while connecting students with the internships, culture, recreation and community service opportunities available in a vibrant metropolitan atmosphere. The recently launched Campaign for UIndy is advancing education as well as social mobility and the health of communities. More information is available at campaign.uindy.edu.

The 2016-17 Class of Indiana MBA Fellows in Education Leadership include:

The University of Indianapolis

  • Austin Barcome
  • Carroll Bilbrey
  • Jordan Bragg
  • Meagan Campbell
  • Brelyn Critzer
  • Stephanie Dalton
  • Kea Deppe
  • Brent Dikeman
  • Georgia Everett
  • Spencer Fort
  • Shelbi Fortner
  • Jodi Hauk
  • Kelly Herron
  • Melinda Just
  • Lauren Kersey
  • Jill Landers
  • McKenzie Leckrone
  • Patrick Mahaffey
  • Gretchen Matthews
  • Melisa McCain
  • Laci McKenzie
  • Jodi Morrow
  • Danielle Murphy
  • Rachel Neese
  • Edward Roe
  • Zach Schroeder
  • Christy Shepard
  • John Skomp
  • Amelia Torres
  • Robert Van Horn
  • Amy Wackerly
  • Grace Wallace
  • Ginger Washington
  • Charonda Woods

Indiana State University

  • Tracy Carrillo
  • John Chinn
  • Jeffrey Clutter
  • Jeffery Dierlam
  • William Durham
  • Christian Frye
  • Matthew Irwin
  • Mary Katherine Jenner
  • Erin Kaiser
  • Cheryl McIlrath
  • RonNella Moore
  • Jason Vandewalle
  • James Welter

Indiana University

  • Cliff Bailey
  • Christie Cloud
  • Laura Florek
  • Michael Gaines
  • Kyle Goodwin
  • Nicholas Gron
  • Barbara Kiplinger
  • Angela Long
  • Justin Quick
  • Ramona Rice
  • James Rosinia
  • Seth Slater
  • Casey Stansifer
  • Kelly Wade
  • Jessica Wotherspoon

tech tools

Rutz, KevinTechnology plays a big role in the 21st-century classroom. From iPads and Chromebooks to Bluetooth scientific probes and 3D printers, more and more teachers across disciplines, from STEM to civics, are relying on new instructional devices and software. WW NJ Teaching Fellow Kevin Rutz tries to be strategic with technology in his Orange, NJ, classroom.

“Students have the blessing and curse of instant communication, sensory overloading entertainment, and access to an ‘answer machine’ in their pockets. Schools want to capitalize on these tools, but I find a big downfall in implementing technology in the classroom is that teachers will artificially introduce new tools that detracts from the lesson rather than help it. The mission as educators is to find useful technology that supports our lessons.”

Below, Mr. Rutz shares some of the resources he has had success with.

Note: While the Woodrow Wilson Foundation is happy to share Mr. Rutz’s suggestions and hopes they will prove useful, this posting of his suggestions does not constitute an endorsement of any product or service he mentions, nor does any omission from this list represent a judgment on the Foundation’s part. All recommendations and opinions implied by this list are Mr. Rutz’s.


Product Type of Tool Function How to get it
Snipping Tool Software Easily take pictures of a portion of your screen Comes on Windows
ZoomIt Software Allows you to zoom in, draw over your screen, and start a countdown. Great for guiding a class to a specific section of the screen https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/zoomit
Screencast-o-matic Applet OR software Lets you take a video of your screen or webcam feed. GREAT for making tutorials for students to follow http://screencast-o-matic.com/account
Symbaloo Website This can be set as your homepage, and it is a visual bookmarking system for your websites. www.symbaloo.com
Google Classroom LMS Organizes your classes classroom.google.com
Peardeck Applet Enables you to make interactive presentations. Links to google accounts to collect student login information for when they are using the application. You can upload powerpoints and pause it to ask a question to the class. Questions can be written, drawn, answered with multiple choice, and a variety of other options. This also broadcasts the presentation to every student’s screen. https://www.peardeck.com/
Padlet Applet Creates a shared space for you and your class to post notes. GREAT for test reviews and anonymous questions from students padlet.com
Poll Everywhere Applet An easy to use service that allows you to create polls for your classes. Can be used with cell phones or online. GREAT for test or quiz reviews, and really fun for everyone when you use alongside Jeopardy music! https://www.polleverywhere.com/login
Eco Modeler Applet Set up a word/mind map without logging into anything. Great for planning out websites or programs. http://ecomodeler.org/


Other Great Resources
Subject Name Description Link
Math Desmos Graphing Calculator Online interactive graphing calculator. Has games where you need to develop a function that would draw a line for marbles to roll on (and hit several targets). Some people can draw images with equations! It can be linked to google, and allows for you to manage your students. https://www.desmos.com/calculator
Science Phet Colection of interactive simulations of scientific principles. Great for those pesky abstract concepts like mechanical efficiency and electricity! https://phet.colorado.edu/
STEM Engineering is Elementary Collection of engineering units for up to 5th grade. Sells kits for projects, but also provides units for free www.eie.org


Google Apps Worth Using
Classroom classroom.google.com Facilitate your instruction by listing assignments, resources, and questions on a single page. Can also provide a document from your drive, automatically make a version for every student, and have students submit work online.
Sites sites.google.com Easily create your own website – great for first timers
Drive drive.google.com store files online! Automatically links to classroom
Forms form.google.com Polling application that can be used to create quizzes and tests online. Use the Add-on, “Flubaroo” to make a self-graded assessment for your classes.
Sheets sheets.google.com Free online spreadsheet software – can be shared and used simultaneously
Docs docs.google.com Free online word processor that allows for you to share with others. Allows simultaneous collaboration on one document

Each year the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awards fellowships to midcareer scholars, writers, and artists. Out of 3,000 applicants, 175 were awarded fellowships this year, including 11 from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation ranks.

Congratulations to the 2016 Fellows:

  • Jonathan David Bobaljik MN ’90 | Professor of Linguistics, University of Connecticut | Agreement Systems: Beyond Subject-Predicate
  • Nadja Durbach CN ’99 | Professor of History, University of Utah | Many Mouths: State-Feeding in Britain from the Workhouse to the Welfare State
  • Stephen M. Fallon CN ’84 | Cavanaugh Professor of the Humanities, University of Notre Dame | John Milton, Isaac Newton, and the Making of a Modern World
  • Craig Koslofsky CN ’93 | Professor of History, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | The Deep Surface: Skin in the Early Modern World, 1450–1750
  • Richard Kraut WF ’65 | Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern University| Oysters and Experience Machines
  • Darrin M. McMahon MN ’91 | Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor, Department of History, Dartmouth College | Light in the Age of Enlightenment
  • Victoria Nelson WF ’65 | Writer, Albany, California | A Study of Allegory
  • Laura Pulido RU ’90 | Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California | Sangre en la Tierra: Towards a Methodology for Engaging with Foundational Racial Violence
  • Timothy Rommen CN ’01 | Professor of Music and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania | Sounding a Borderless Caribbean: The Creole Geographies of Dominica’s Popular Music
  • Matthew Avery Sutton CN ’04 | Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor, Department of History, Washington State University | FDR’s Army of Faith: Religion and Espionage in World War II
  • Jing Tsu MN ’95 | Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature, Yale University | China Off Script: Language Wars and the Rise of an Underdog to Global Power

fellowship banner

Sociology as Much as Technology: Martha Nell Smith WS ’84 on Digital Scholarship

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense,” Gertrude Stein wrote in 1946, when Alan Turing was developing his machine. If today’s burgeoning online resources in the humanities create a sometimes bewildering deluge of information, they also, as Martha Nell Smith WS ’84 notes, change how scholars analyze, craft, debate, and share information.

marthanellsmithDr. Smith has headed two of the nation’s best-known digital humanities sites. In 1994, as a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) at the University of Virginia, she founded the Dickinson Electronic Archives (www.emilydickinson.org). The DEA hosts manuscripts of and commentaries on the poet’s work, as well as related correspondence and works. Through the DEA Dr. Smith, in 2012, revealed and analyzed a daguerreotype that may be the only known image of Dickinson as an adult.

Her DEA experience also paved the way for Dr. Smith’s 1998 creation of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland. “We were the first wave,” she recalls. “In the United States, there was IATH; a group at Brown that produced the Women Writers Project; Matrix at Michigan State; and ourselves.”

“Some of my colleagues thought I was crazy,” she says, “worried that getting enamored of computing would take away from the humanities research. I would say it’s using computational tools to advance research.” While Dr. Smith stepped aside as director in 2005, MITH remains a leading digital humanities center.

Digital tools, she observes, have changed scholarship, but ultimately human interaction guides their use. In a landmark 2007 essay, “The Human Touch: Software of the Highest Order,” Dr. Smith argues for embracing a collaborative, interdisciplinary, interpretive sensibility in digital scholarship that does not conform to traditional methods. For example, old notions about the validity of particular scholarly editions, or about the invisible authority of any one editor’s changes, are replaced by an awareness of the ways in which different editors and editions engage each other.

“One of the most important technologies I have learned about is collaborative work. It trains people for various workplaces,” she says. “The reach of digital scholarship is also huge. You can reach many people that you wouldn’t engage through traditional book and article publication.”

What about peer review, the academy’s traditional quality control for published research? “I do think peer review is important,” Dr. Smith avers. “Putting publications online [without peer review] can yield pieces that are not so good. But on the other hand you might get feedback and critical review that you wouldn’t get through regular channels. You might get an expert perspective from a quarter you don’t expect.”

Digital scholarship can bring a similar breadth of perspective to original sources, Dr. Smith says. “With primary materials—items previously viewable only by experts allowed into Special Collections and the like—now being examined by non-experts, sometimes very productive questions are posed, questions that those in the know have been schooled out of.”

At the same time, the increasingly digital nature of primary materials themselves poses dilemmas, she observes, as future scholars will no longer rely on marginalia and marked-up text. “Now I’m really arguing for making sure that that various publication states be preserved and not just overwritten. It’s important to have digital preservation markers that show different stages of work, so that people can see and learn from various evolutions.”

Dr. Smith’s leadership in digital humanities is shaped by her commitment to feminist scholarship. Her 2014 article, “Frozen Social Relations and Time for a Thaw: Visibility, Exclusions, and Considerations for Postcolonial Digital Archives,” contends that, while online access makes it possible to share ideas and information without respect to class, race, gender, or sexuality, funding and recognition still conform to traditional social structures that privilege certain groups over others.

Digital scholarship, in the end, changes the way tomorrow’s scholars will approach materials and exchange ideas. Dr. Smith says she cautions her students about the irrevocability of online publications, the volatile culture of response to online work, and the ease with which anyone working digitally may be deprived of full credit. The true innovation in digital scholarship, she suggests, may be less technological than sociological. “The positive side for scholars,” she adds, “is that you may make connections that you wouldn’t make otherwise.”


This story appeared in the fall issue of Fellowship, the newsletter of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, in a section titled Decoding Digital Humanities: Perspectives on an emerging and ever-changing field. To see the full newsletter, click here.

Jayne Swift, left, and Dr. Regina Kunzel

Jayne Swift, left, and Dr. Regina Kunzel

Newcombe Fellow and WW Women’s Studies Fellow Regina Kunzel CN ’86 WS ’87 was happy to recommend her student Jayne Swift WS ’15 for this year’s WW Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies. It’s not a responsibility she takes lightly.

“I try to remember that I’m training grad students to become people who I would want to be my colleagues,” says Dr. Kunzel. “Ultimately we are going to be recommending them to people as good colleagues, and so I think about training people to be reliable and generous in their critical practices and also in their collegial practices. These things seem to come naturally to Jayne. They don’t to everybody.”

For her part, Ms. Swift says she values the tough, clear-sighted guidance Dr. Kunzel offers. “Her feedback… can sort of feel like a layer of skin being taken off — it’s very precise and deadly right. It sounds kind of awful when I put it like that, but it’s the best possible thing,” says Ms. Swift. “I’ve really grown as a writer and a thinker and have a much clearer sense of the contributions I want to make from getting feedback from her.” At the same time, she adds, Dr. Kunzel has helped her understand the nuts and bolts of academic life, from research techniques to grant-writing. “Regina has always been willing to demystify the whole process.”

Ms. Swift was first introduced to Dr. Kunzel’s research when she picked up a copy of Dr. Kunzel’s 2008 book, Criminal Intimacy: Prison and the Uneven History of Modern American Sexuality, and the work immediately and strongly resonated with her.

“I found a certain kind of affinity with my own research and intellectual curiosities,” Ms. Swift says, and so she applied to the University of Minnesota’s feminist studies program to work with Dr. Kunzel. “We were a natural fit for each other,” Dr. Kunzel affirms.

In addition to teaching her in a seminar and independent study, Dr. Kunzel chose Ms. Swift as a research assistant on her current project. The study, which looks at mid-20th century attributions of mental illness to sexual and gender variant people, was largely inspired by the vast writings of psychiatrist Benjamin Karpman. Dr. Kunzel hired Ms. Swift to summarize Karpman’s work.

“That’s a measure of how much I trust Jayne and her smarts and her instincts,” says Dr. Kunzel. “I don’t hand over that kind of assignment to just anybody, but I really trusted her reading.”

The experience ranks at the top of Ms. Swift’s all-time favorite jobs. “I learned so much during that time about the process of writing a book, specifically historical study,” she says. “I learned patience with the research process and an understanding of the legwork that goes into the finished product.”

Now at Princeton University as the Doris Stevens Chair in Women’s Studies, with appointments in history and the program in gender and sexuality studies, Dr. Kunzel continues to advise Ms. Swift from a distance as she completes her dissertation on the cultural history of recent sex worker social movements in the United States. While she describes it as a challenge, Dr. Kunzel tries to maintain regular calls and check-ins with Ms. Swift and other Minnesota mentees.

The field of gender and sexuality studies, Dr. Kunzel notes, may be “more self-conscious” about mentoring than many others. “It is a field that thinks through relations of power, and that contributes to thinking self-consciously about mentoring.”

For her part, Ms. Swift feels lucky to have a working relationship with someone who is both a respected scholar in her field and generous with her time and support. “Dr. Kunzel is just one of those people whose intellectual brilliance is really matched by a deep decency and kindness that she shows to her graduate students,” she says.

“Your dissertation advisor will always be your dissertation advisor even when your dissertation is finished,” Dr. Kunzel notes. “It’s a relationship that’s forever.”


This story appeared in our Spring 2015 newsletter. To view the full newsletter online, click here.

Indiana Teaching Fellow '12 Kathryn Stwalley, left, with her mentor Alyce Myers TF '09.

Indiana Teaching Fellow ’12 Kathryn Stwalley, left, with her mentor Alyce Myers TF ’09.

Working with her two mentors as a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow at Purdue five years ago, Alyce Myers TF ’09 observed two very different teaching styles. One of her cooperating teachers used a very hands-on approach in the classroom; the other relied more on lectures.

Watching and working with her mentors, Ms. Myers gleaned what she called her most important lesson as a new teacher: You need to become your own teacher.

“You have to figure out who you are as a person and as a teacher and teach based on what best represents you and your strengths,” she says. “You need to be comfortable in what you are doing.”

Now, as a master teacher herself, Ms. Myers is trying to teach that same ethos to new Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows—recent graduates and career changers who are transitioning into the classroom.

Each teacher candidate who comes through the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship spends a full school year in a classroom with a master teacher. As a way to combat the pitfalls of traditional student teaching, Fellows enter the classroom much earlier and are able to work through lessons and get feedback and assistance in real time.

Ms. Myers’ current Fellow from Purdue, Kathryn Stwalley TF ‘12, finds the ability to try new things in the classroom very helpful. “The freedom and flexibility has been invaluable to my preparation,” says Ms. Stwalley. “Even if something falls flat, we have been able to put the pieces together with the students to make sure that something valuable was still salvageable from my time.”

Ms. Stwalley also finds Ms. Myers’ previous experience as a Fellow to be helpful in their relationship. “She has taken the time to get to know my prior knowledge instead of assuming every experience is new to me, and instead she challenges me in the areas she knows I am trying to improve on.”

Keith Manring TF ‘09, like Alyce Myers, was one of the first WW Indiana Teaching Fellows. During his work as a Fellow at the University of Indianapolis, his mentors offered him not only troubleshooting, but also crucial connections between different aspects of the program. “They help[ed] bridge the content from readings and university instruction to effective practice with students,” said Mr. Manring.

By being present in the classroom so early in the program, Fellows get a feel for the type of school where they will be teaching, from the first day students arrive (and the challenges of engaging them) until school ends and administrative needs are wrapped up. Part of the Fellowship commitment includes teaching for three years at a high-need urban or rural school. In this context, the master teacher “provides a kind of starting framework for instructing a given group of students in a specific setting,” says Mr. Manring. “This allows the Fellow to take that foundation in their own direction.”

The relationship between mentor and Fellow also allows for a great deal of collaboration. Both parties see benefit from this aspect of the relationship. Ms. Stwalley looks to her mentor, Ms. Myers, as she prepares for student teaching: “We’re continually bouncing ideas around. This sense of urgency, awareness, and openness has been the best help as I’m wrapping my mind around this next stage.”

“I think my students and I benefit tremendously any time I can get a second caring adult into my classroom,” master teacher Mr. Manring explained. “Offering to be a mentor was one way to provide that opportunity. I think it makes me a better teacher and provides more people in the room helping them learn.”

“I have found that my mentees have supplied me with so many ideas and have allowed me to continue to grow as a teacher,” says Ms. Myers. “Having another person to bounce ideas off of, coteach, and talk to is a great opportunity regardless of whether you are the mentor or mentee.

“It’s a learning and growing experience for us both,” she adds. “That’s what education is all about after all, learning and growing.”


This story appeared in our Spring 2015 newsletter. To view the full newsletter online, click here.

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