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Ford Teaching Fellowship Program

A Very Unique and Distinctive Program

2008-09 Ford Fellow Joey Quillen (left) teaches Millsaps students under the mentorship of biology professor Dr. James McKeown.The goal of the Ford Teaching Fellows Program is to attract qualified students into college teaching by encouraging the development of a close working relationship between a full time faculty member and a promising undergraduate student. Program activities are designed to engage Ford Teaching Fellows in substantive teaching responsibilities in the college classroom and to support legitimate scholarly inquiry and - or research collaborations in an area of interest common to both the Fellow and the Mentor.

The Ford Fellow-Faculty Mentor Relationship  

The relationship between Ford Fellow and Mentor is a collegial one, nurtured under the Faculty Mentor's leadership. Through an apprenticeship in teaching and research, the Faculty Mentor models excellence in college teaching and offers guidance to the Ford Fellow in all of his - her teaching, research, and professional development. It is important that the Ford Fellow and his - her Faculty Mentor collaborate over the summer to finalize plans and fine tune the details of their teaching year together. Expectations regarding the role of the Ford Fellow in and outside of class, the role of the Mentor in making assignments, assessing the Fellow's performance, and offering feedback and critique should be discussed and agreed upon early in the relationship and program year. There will be an opportunity to focus on these and related issues during the opening retreat.

Substantive Teaching Responsibilities

There are many ways that Ford Fellows may engage in classroom teaching: by leading small discussion groups, leading drill and review sessions, supervising laboratory activities, peer tutoring, occasional lecturing on a subject for which the student has done independent research, and other appropriate activities will ensure that the Ford Fellow has ample opportunity to experience the challenges and satisfaction of college teaching. Ford Fellows are not merely undergraduate versions of graduate teaching assistants; rather, the Ford Fellow is gradually and carefully initiated into a rewarding teaching experience. Teaching fellows do not take the place of faculty, nor should they function merely as graders or clerical and lab assistants.

Other Benefits

Ford Teaching Fellows have regular opportunities to come together to discuss matters of common interest, and to reflect on the challenges of college teaching. The academic year opens with a Friday afternoon seminar which mentors and fellows are required attend. Ford Teaching Fellows will also meet during the year to discuss matters of common interest, particularly regarding teaching experiences, problems, challenges, successes, and ideas for improvement.

Travel stipends are available to finance a modest amount of Mentor and Fellow travel together to regional or national professional meetings, research conferences, and - or related activities that are customarily considered a part of a college professor's professional activities.

For each semester of participation in the program, Ford Fellows receive an honorarium. This grant is intended to help Fellows carry out the work outlined in their proposals.

Ford Teaching Fellows and Mentors share a small personal budget for such expenses as books, occasional meals together, or other activities related to enhancing course instruction.


Any sophomore or junior who may be interested in a career as a college professor and who has an overall cumulative GPA of 3.2 as calculated at the end of the fall semester. Each student who applies must be sponsored by a full time faculty member. Students who will not be on campus for academic reasons for part of the academic year should see the director for a full evaluation of their eligibility. Ford Fellows are expected to maintain a 3.2 GPA. Only full time faculty members who hold the terminal degree in their academic field are eligible to serve as Ford Mentors.