Office hours and other first-gen issues

It’s tough for students to bring themselves to take advantage of faculty office hours when they don’t feel entitled to a professor’s time or attention.  Check out this NPR story.


Access-oriented colleges and the notion of privilege

This article looks at class differences in graduate education in terms of access to expensive extras that give a doctoral student a leg up. The author talks about why teaching at a teaching/intensive institution is a good fit for a first-gen student.

First gen or working class or both?

Sherry Linkon, over on the Working-Class Perspectives blog, examines the question of how to identify students when you’re forming campus programs to lend assistance. Does defining students by their parents’ education level do them a disservice? Is there a stigma to the term “working class”? And what does it all have to do with income?

I’d hate to tie the notion of working class to income alone. I’ve known students who did not have to take multiple part-time jobs during college because their parents had good union jobs. But those good union jobs did not come with the cultural capital that accompanies a college degree–and so the students were as confused by college expectations and conventions as any student from a background in poverty–and they were as likely to drop out of college in frustration.

The students we encounter in public higher education, especially in community colleges, need resources to help them to navigate. And that’s the case at teaching-focused private institutions as well, where first-gen students are often a smaller percentage of the total student population. What’s important, as Linkon notes, is to explicitly identify the services you’re providing, make them known all over campus, and make sure the students who need them get access to them.

Tomorrow’s the Day!

Get yourself to Westfield State University tomorrow for the fourth annual Teaching at Teaching-Intensive Institutions event!  It’s the only event of its kind, bringing together doctoral students and recent PhDs with experts from community colleges and four-year institutions that focus on teaching.  Learn about the rewards of teaching in institutions that focus on undergraduate learning.

Here’s the registration link.


Registration is Open!

It’s time to sign up for the 2017 Teaching at Teaching-Intensive Institutions event at Westfield State University!



Friday , October 6th – 9:00am-3:00pm
Westfield State University, Scanlon Hall, Westfield, MA
Teaching at Teaching Intensive Institutions Conference 

Interested in teaching at colleges and universities that put teaching first? Community colleges, regional comprehensive universities, and liberal arts colleges are great places to make a career, and you can learn about them at this free one-day regional conference, which brings together graduate students, postdocs, and faculty to discuss what it’s like to work at teaching intensive institutions and how to apply for these faculty positions. Graduate students and postdocs will engage with faculty and deans from a range of teaching-intensive institutions across the New England region through a series of talks, panel presentations, and networking opportunities. Faculty will be available to review and offer advice on CVs and cover letters. View the agenda and register now – space is limited!

Save the Date

Friday, October 6


Learn all about what it’s like to make a career at a teaching-intensive institution, where the focus is on students.

  • How can I convince a hiring committee that teaching is more important to me than publishing?
  • Is it possible to do research and teach four courses per semester?
  • What are community college students expecting of their professors?
  • Help–my advisor thinks I should focus on research, not teaching. But I care more about teaching!

You can find out ll about how to do research with your undergraduates, what teaching/learning centers can do for you, and much more, at Westfield State University, on October 6, from 9 until 3.  WSU is generously hosting this year’s Teaching at Teaching-Intensive Institutions free all-day workshop, for graduate students and recent PhDs from all over New England.

The registration link will be posted on this blog soon, so keep an eye out.  The contact person is Shana Passonno, at UMass,

Sponsorship funds this year so far have come from UMass Amherst and UMass Boston, the University of Rhode Island, Brown University, the University of New Hampshire, and Boston College.