The Freshman Scholars Institute (FSI) is an intensive seven-week summer program for invited incoming first-year students, hosted by Princeton’s Programs for Access and Inclusion (PAI). Seminar Leaders from a range of disciplines teach an innovative, interdisciplinary critical thinking, reading, and writing course entitled “Ways of Knowing” (WOK). In 2021, in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, FSI and WOK will be held entirely online.
FSI Program Description
FSI offers a cohort of entering students the chance to experience the intellectual, co-curricular, and social life at Princeton prior to the beginning of the fall semester. During this seven-week program, Freshman Scholars have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Princeton’s intellectually vibrant culture through seminar-style courses and/or laboratory research experiences, to engage with their fellow scholars in a variety of co-curricular, community-building activities, and to work closely with faculty members from a range of academic disciplines and fields. By experiencing early the many resources that Princeton has to offer, Freshman Scholars have the chance to prepare themselves to be future campus leaders and peer mentors. Participating students are a diverse and motivated group of first-generation and/or low-income scholars who have been invited to the pre-college program in order to nurture their demonstrated potential as scholars and leaders.
In 2021, as FSI is offered exclusively online, we will offer students two options for taking courses:
- One distance, credit-bearing course – Ways of Knowing – along with a suite of co-curricular programming and academic advising and mentoring.
- Two distance, credit-bearing courses – Ways of Knowing and a quantitative course – along with a suite of co-curricular programming and academic advising and mentoring.
Expected FSI enrollment is ~ 125-150 students. FSI classes begin on June 29th and end on August 6th. (Final papers due the week of August 9th.)
WOK Course Description
Ways of Knowing (HUM 250/STC 250/WRI 250) is an immersive seminar that empowers first-year students to become active producers of knowledge in an academic community by introducing them to scholarly ways of thinking, reading, and writing across the University. In this course, students will analyze and engage a variety of multidisciplinary and multi-generic texts that raise questions about power, institutions, and identity. In Summer 2021, Ways of Knowing will focus on the constellating theme of “Knowledge, Power, and Bodies,” examining texts that all stage inquiries into the way that knowledge is produced, manipulated, disseminated, and consumed. This theme speaks to our particular global moment, in which we are reckoning with structures of power based in racism, gender disparity, classism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and bias. As first-year students entering into the Princeton community, FSI scholars will have the chance to connect these social conversations to your own liberal arts experience; our course will address the ways in which knowledge in the academy is produced, why certain forms of knowledge have been invested with power, and who, historically, has had access to this power. Through this exploration, students will gain a critical understanding of the diverse—and intersecting—manners that scholars ask questions and generate knowledge. Most importantly, students will use this understanding to consider your own academic journeys and make your own academic contribution to this scholarly conversation.
A core value of a Princeton education is that students develop the ability to craft clear, convincing, and persuasive arguments based on their own original analysis, allowing them to emerge as independent thinkers situated in a community of scholars. The learning goals of Ways of Knowing lay the groundwork for this ambition in three crucial ways. First, students develop strategies for and experience with effective and critical reading. Students learn to purposely read canonical and non-canonical scholarship from across the disciplines. In so doing, they learn how to process a large quantity of texts and how to think analytically about those sources. Second, students apply these critical reading skills to place diverse texts in conversation with one another, to analyze the contours of this conversation, and to carve out their own intellectual space within it.
Finally, WOK establishes a foundation for students to become active leaders in the university community; instructors emphasize the habits of good engagement and collaboration upon which the University thrives. Students will gain experience in sharing and scrutinizing their ideas in a seminar environment as well as providing thoughtful feedback to others through active listening skills. Throughout the summer, students cultivate habits of reflection about their future intellectual work at Princeton and beyond.
The 2021 online version of WOK features both asynchronous and synchronous components. The former are made available through our course portal on Canvas, and provides students access to readings and useful context, short analytical exercises and pre-draft assignments, discussion forums, and related opportunities for further intellectual engagement. The synchronous components include two weekly class meetings, weekly “text labs” facilitated by undergraduate Course Fellows, and weekly 1-on-1 conferences between Seminar Leaders and students grounded in weekly writing assignments.
Each WOK section benefits from an embedded undergraduate Course Fellow. Seminar Leaders and PAI staff share responsibility for training, mentoring, and supervising Course Fellows, who are expected to attend each class, meet weekly with both PAI staff and their Seminar Leader, host and facilitate text labs, and support WOK in other ways deemed appropriate by their Seminar Leader. Course Fellows have no grading responsibility, and individual Seminar Leaders can determine what class-related responsibilities beyond what is outlined here fall within their purview.
WOK sections meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but not all at the same time. To help account for FSI students’ time zone differences, classes will be scheduled throughout the day, possibly including both morning and evening sections, so as not to unduly burden students who are far from Eastern Standard Time.
Seminar leaders are compensated a minimum of $12,000 for teaching the course (this is in addition to their regular year’s salary). Compensation is calculated by multiplying the lecturer’s salary for next year by 0.1665, and adding a course development stipend of $2,000. Eligibility for benefits will be determined by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.
Tentative Weekly Schedule
- Deadline for previous week’s writing assignment
- Launch of new unit’s asynchronous curriculum on Canvas
- WOK Faculty Meeting
- Seminar Leader/Course Fellow 1-on-1s
- Text Lab Prep with PAI Staff
- Canvas: Introduction to weekly reading assignment, analytical predrafts, forum discussion on reading assignment, preparation for class
- Text Labs
- Canvas: Colloquium discussion, introduction to writing assignments, substantial predrafts, preparation for class
- Faculty/student 1-on-1s
- Writing Center appts
- Faculty/student 1-on-1s
- Writing Center appts
- Canvas: Spotlight on campus resource, weekly debrief discussion
As an experiment in teaching and learning under normal circumstances, WOK Seminar Leaders are integral to developing the course. This is especially so as we move to an online format. Instructors are expected to work closely with PAI staff to develop, revise, and translate pedagogical materials, course assignments, and logistics for online delivery. Each instructor will also serve as a mentor to their undergraduate Course Fellow.
To facilitate this work, seminar leaders will attend two meetings during the spring semester, a WOK seminar retreat in May, a WOK launch meeting in June, once-a-week Faculty Meetings during FSI, and a debriefing session in September. Seminar leaders who have not been trained in Princeton Writing Program pedagogy will attend at least one additional training session, to learn strategies for responding to students’ writing in conferences, in-class workshops, and written comments. The tentative schedule is as follows:
• Two Course Reading Faculty Meetings: TBA in May
• Faculty Retreat: TBA in May
• Weekly FSI Curriculum Meetings: June leading up to FSI launch
• Weekly Faculty Meetings: Every Monday
• Debriefing Session: September 2021 TBA
Instructions for Applying:
All applicants, new and experienced, will be interviewed as part of the hiring process.
To apply, please send the following materials to Khristina Gonzalez (firstname.lastname@example.org), Andy Hakim (email@example.com), Keith Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Christy Kahler (email@example.com) by March 22ndat 5pm.
- CV and
- One paragraph (may be embedded in the email) describing what you have gained professionally from your work teaching in FSI in the past, and what you hope to contribute to the program and the course in the upcoming summer.
To apply, please send the following materials to Khristina Gonzalez (firstname.lastname@example.org), Andy Hakim (email@example.com), Keith Shaw (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Christy Kahler (email@example.com) by March 22nd at 5pm.
• CV and
• Cover Letter (~1½ pages), which should include an explanation of your interest in teaching “Ways of Knowing.” Your letter should describe your reasons for wanting to teach in this course and in the FSI program, share ideas for the kinds of pedagogical activities you think would be most effective in this course, discuss your approach to an inclusive pedagogy, and detail your experience partnering with others to develop a course or other teaching event, such as a faculty workshop or colloquium.
Please feel free to direct questions to Khristina, Andy, and Keith.