Professors Experience Growth and Renewal
During Mid-Career Fellowships at Princeton
Windsor, N.J. - Two Mercer County Community College faculty
members are back on campus full time after participating in
the Mid-Career Fellowship program at Princeton University
during the 2009-10 academic year. Professor of Mathematics
Don Reichman and Associate Professor of English Carol Bork
joined with 10 professors from other New Jersey community
colleges, attending seminars, engaging in stimulating discussions
about teaching and learning, and writing research papers for
presentation to their colleagues. They also had the opportunity
to audit classes at the university.
Reichman, who has taught many different math classes during
his 34 years at the college, has spent considerable time teaching
developmental classes. His research, entitled "An
Interdisciplinary Problem-Based Approach to the Foundation
Curriculum," focused on enhancing outcomes for these
students by looking at developmental programs that have a
strong track record of success.
members Don Reichman and Dr. Carol Bork participated in the
Mid-Career Fellowship program at Princeton University. Their
research papers are included in "Issues of Education
in Community Colleges," published by the university.
concluded that the most successful programs have been made an institutional
priority; they are centralized, with their own identity and director;
their goals are clearly defined; and data from these programs is
collected and analyzed, with revisions to curricula made based on
the data. He found that the best teaching models include the establishment
of small learning communities that are project based and focus on
As a long-time faculty member, Reichman jokes that he may not exactly
be mid-career - "That would make me 90 by the time I retire"
- but, nonetheless, he was glad he participated in the Fellowship
Program and believes he has gained new insights and perspectives
as a result of his time at Princeton. "I feel reinvigorated.
My research gave me ideas about how to structure foundations courses
based on sound strategies and proven justifications."
Dr. Bork, who began teaching at MCCC in 2003, was also highly enthusiastic
about the fellowship experience. "I had more time for reading,
researching and writing," she said. She particularly enjoyed
a class she took last fall, "Gender and the Rise of the Novel
in Europe," which had only six students and was held in the
professor's living room.
In her research paper, entitled "Teaching Literature in
the Twenty-First Century: Notes toward a Postmodern Pedagogy,"
Bork looked at the layers of interpretation that a given work of
literature can generate based on the reader's perspective. She pondered
numerous questions. "In addition to form and structure, what
are the strategies employed by readers that go unidentified? What's
at stake when someone is reading from a particular perspective?"
Bork observes that teaching literature is not just about getting
an answer. "The deeply embedded values that we bring to reading
inform our day-to-day lives," she said. In her paper, she notes
that recognizing the frameworks of students' interpretations is
the first step to creating "a literature classroom that will
be transformed into a critical thinking laboratory in which students
not only interpret and appreciate literature, but also prepare for
their roles as global citizens in our postmodern world."
While highly satisfied by her Princeton experience, Bork says her
research project was only a starting point. "It will push me
in directions I really want to go, working with ideas to build new
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