Community College Teaching Fellowship Helps Building Partnerships

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yale University and Gateway Community College (GCC) have partnered in an exciting project that benefits students in both institutions of higher learning. The Community College Teaching Fellowship, which began in Fall 2016, offers Yale graduate students the opportunity to sharpen and expand their teaching skills in Gateway’s classrooms while providing GCC students exposure to multicultural contexts, which students can apply and connect within their own familiar worlds.

“It’s really a win-win situation for everyone involved, both Yale and Gateway,” Margaret Marcotte, director of Outreach for the McMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, said. Marcotte was the first to recognize the advantages of the program. “The more this program deepens and develops, the more both institutions can continue to grow with one another,” she said.

While the McMillan Center has done multi-cultural studies outreach in K-12 schools in Connecticut, building partnerships with local community colleges had never been done before, until now.

The Community College Teaching Fellowship program, funded by the Title 6 Department of Education Grant to promote International and Area Studies, allows Yale graduate students from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to apply their Gateway teaching time towards their doctoral program requirement at Yale.

Two students from Yale’s Middle East and African Studies graduate program were chosen as teaching fellows at Gateway: Denise Lim, who is teaching in Professor Carol Brutza’s “Peace and Conflict Studies” Cultural Anthropology class, and Huseyin Rasit, who is teaching in Professor Jonah Cohen’s Introductory Sociology class.

Teaching fellow Lim stated, “Because I’ve majored in English, Sociology, and African Studies, I learned how to take what is otherwise very specialized knowledge about South African art, apartheid history, etc., and had to learn how to translate that niche type of knowledge into something that makes sense for the students I encounter. I worked with [Professor] Carol to figure out where my particular expertise might fit into the syllabi she uses.”

Although only in its second pilot semester, the Community College Teaching Fellowship and its partnership with Gateway is proving to be a positive one, according to Marcotte. She stated, “This continues to be fruitful collaboration between the two institutions; we want to cement this fellowship for the future so it can continue to flourish. I see many more grad students being chosen as well as expanding the opportunity beyond International Studies.”

Lim added, “The future looks very bright for this partnership. This program can make possible a way to change how introductory courses at community colleges are taught.”

The future looks bright for this budding partnership.