Doctoral students, postdocs, and adjuncts from across New England who are looking to find out about careers at colleges and universities centered on teaching filled the auditorium at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Campus Center on Friday. Three hundred folks listened intently to the opening plenary on Who are our Students, learning from faculty and administrators at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), Wheaton College, Fitchburg State University, Greenfield Community College, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), and Bridgewater State University.
Attendees learned that teaching loads vary, but that regional public universities in Massachusetts, for example, faculty teach a 12-credit-hour schedule, with opportunities for course release for administrative duties.
Faculty at all the teaching-intensive institutions work closely with students on advising and mentoring, and all the four-year institutions offer opportunities for undergraduates to work with faculty members on research.
Some important differences between the students at the teaching-intensive public institutions and other kinds of colleges and universities included:
- Undergraduates holding down jobs while they go to school
- Large percentages of transfer students
- More commuters than resident students
- Many part-time students and students taking extra years to finish their degrees
- A lack of entitlement among students, resulting in a need for lots of encouragement and mentoring