Q: What are the Wesleyan Fellows Awards?
A: They are a work study job with a different purpose. Work must be closely managed by a faculty or off-campus supervisor and must be more educationally rewarding than a traditional work study job — i.e., more intellectually demanding, more likely to create genuine learning for the student, more closely related to a career or scholarly field, or more directly related to faculty research. At the end of the year, awardees MUST have a completed project that can be presented at Scholar’s Day (late April). Students with a 3.15 cumulative average may apply.
Q: What kind of work gets funded?
A: Some examples of available work:
Library or electronic research
Abstract and bibliography work for humanities or social sciences professors
Text editors for scholarly articles
Computer graphics work
Running of subjects and collection of research protocols
College institutional research managed by a senior administrator
Developing case studies for courses in one’s major
Report writing or drafting
Translation to and from a foreign language
Creation of a business plan for a local organization
Creative works, e.g. portfolio, new musical composition, etc.
Developing and testing new laboratories for advanced level course
Q: What would not be funded?
A: Anything that is repetitive or routine and involves no sophisticated higher level of intellectual or learning activity would not be funded, including tasks such as typing, filing, copying, phone reception work, errands, simple calculations and form filling, room reservations, hospitality or food work and equipment and materials inventory. Such work is noble in itself and vital to every organization, but does not fit the goals of the Wesleyan Fellows Program. The development of department or program web pages, although vital to the college, is not related directly to the goals of the programs unless it can be shown in the proposal that the web work will lead to explicit scholarly development on the part of the student.
Q: How do I get a job?
A: There is no job bank or listing. You, the student, must develop the job by finding a professor, administrator, or off-campus manager or executive who will consult closely with you to develop the position and agree to supervise you if you are awarded a grant. The best way to proceed is to go to the professor in your field who seems to have appreciated your class or lab work and inquire if you could serve as his or her assistant. A second strategy would be to approach the chairperson of your major department and have him or her recommend you to the faculty member who would seem most interested in your services or to an off-campus contact. If you have your own significant contacts off campus, you can approach them yourself, but remember that the supervisor will have to understand the educational and intellectual goals of the grant. You shouldn’t be just another worker.
Q: Why should I consider doing this?
A: Employers and admissions committees for graduate and professional schools are looking for individuals who stand out from all other applicants. This fellowship is a way to get in front of the pack and help you move on to the next phase of your career. Your will develop qualities that potential employers and admissions committees are looking for, including:
- personal motivation and self discipline (you have to find the project and carry it to completion)
- an ability to work independently (you have to do the work under the supervision of your faculty mentor)
- an ability to apply what you have learned in the classroom to new situations (you most likely will be working on a project that you know little about)
- an ability to think critically and further develop your problem solving skills
- an ability to communicate your findings to others (you have to present your project at Scholar’s Day)
Q: If I’m a freshman and don’t know enough faculty in my area, what can I do?
A: Start with the department chairperson who knows well the interests of faculty in the department and who has many professional contacts outside the institution as well. If you have any contact with deans, vice presidents and directors, you may also approach them. It may take some self-confidence and serious prospecting work, but that’s part of the learning experience.
Q: What are the chances of getting funded?
A: About 250 people are eligible to apply. We will award a maximum of 25 grants, so your chances are about 1 in 10 among all eligible. Since this is a relatively new program, we don’t know how many will apply, but typically in these types of programs only about 50 percent will apply, which makes the odds about 1 in 5.
Q: How will decisions be made?
A: Proposals will be read by a panel of faculty and academic officers. They will score the applications, discuss the positions and candidates, and ultimately come to the decision. The process will be as objective as possible but cannot be made perfectly anonymous since the supervisor’s personal recommendation of you is part of the application. Disappointed candidates will be able to have a general briefing on why they didn’t succeed in the competition, but the scores and remarks of the reviewers will be kept confidential.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Download an application and a supervisor recommendation form.