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MFA Teaching Opportunities

We know how important it is for MFA students to gain teaching experience. Among low residency programs this type of experience is hard to come by, so Bennington has developed the Residential Teaching Fellow program—a first-of-its-kind teaching opportunity among low residency MFA programs, offering a term's tuition remission, plus housing and board, among other benefits.

Residential Teaching Fellow

The Bennington Writing Seminars and Bennington College offers a full-immersion teaching fellowship to MFA students. The fellowship is the first of its kind in the country to offer full-time undergraduate teaching experience in a low-residency MFA format. This fellowship includes full tuition remission for one term, housing and board, enrollment in one class offered on campus, and experience in arts administration or editorial work thanks to unique partnerships with The Robert Frost Stone House Museum, Bennington Review, and Poetry@Bennington.

The Residential Teaching Fellow works for a full term in an undergraduate classroom where they assist a Bennington College literature faculty member. The selected Fellow gains experience in arts administration or editorial work while continuing their regular coursework for the term. We select two Fellows per year.

This competitive fellowship application is open to Bennington MFA students in their second, third or fourth term. Students will be mentored 1:1 with the on-campus faculty member with whom they are working (and/or by the faculty mentor with whom they have been assigned at BWS.)

“We are thrilled to offer this unique and necessary teaching experience to our MFA students. No other low-residency MFA program in the country offers full-time teaching opportunities of this nature to current students." Mark Wunderlich, Director of the Bennington Writing Seminars

Call for Applications: Residential Teaching Fellow

The Bennington Writing Seminars seeks a Residential Teaching Fellow for Spring 2020. This is a full-immersion teaching fellowship for Bennington Writing Seminars MFA students. The Residential Teaching Fellow will serve as a teaching assistant for a full term in an undergraduate classroom. The selected Fellow will work with an on-campus faculty member, and gain experience in arts administration or editorial work while continuing their regular coursework for the term. This fellowship will begin during the Spring 2020 term, which begins mid-February 2020. 

Students awarded this fellowship have been: Lisa Cockrel, Matthew Groner, and Jeanie Riess.

This competitive fellowship application is open to any MFA students who are rising into their second, third or fourth term by the time the fellowship begins (students in their graduate term during Spring 2020 are ineligible.) Students will be mentored 1:1 with the on-campus faculty member with whom they are working (and/or by the faculty mentor with whom they have been assigned at BWS.) Benefits include full tuition remission for one term, housing and board, enrollment in one class offered on campus, and experience in arts administration or editorial work. 

More Information: 

Eligibility

  • Due to the residential nature of this fellowship, and the tuition reimbursement, it is open only to BWS students rising into their second, third and fourth terms by the time the fellowship begins.
  • Any rising second, third, or fourth-term student in good standing may apply.
  • Students in their graduate term are not eligible.

Benefits

  • Experience as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate literature course
  • Full tuition remission for the term in which you are in residence
  • Housing (in a shared faculty house), plus board in the dining hall for the term
  • Ability to take one course at Bennington College during the term
  • 1:1 mentorship with on-campus faculty member, or correspondence with BWS faculty mentor
  • Arts administration or editorial experience

Responsibilities

  • The selected student must reside full-time on campus in Bennington, VT for the term that begins mid-February 2020 and ends on or around May 28 (last day of classes).
  • Student may take one course at Bennington College during the term in residence, though this is not a requirement of the term.
  • Student will serve as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate course comprising up to 50 undergraduates, and will include all duties assigned by the faculty member with whom they will be working.
    • Duties may include: grading, advising, developing or assisting in the development of course materials, guest lecturing, or research.
  • Duties will also include arts administration or editorial work with The Robert Frost Stone House Museum, Bennington Review, and Poetry@Bennington, depending upon College needs and student interest.  Approximately 5 hours a week will be devoted to this work. 

Students will TA with Phillip Williams in his class – The Devil

The Devil (LIT2404.01)

Phillip Williams

The Devil has taken many shapes and sizes throughout history and around the world. His story of origin has inspired canonical works that delve into Judeo-Christian theological examinations of daily life, political life, and the metaphysical. Who we are as people on earth seems to depend heavily on how we view our relationship with “good” and “evil.” This class will focus on Western interpretations of the Devil as trickster figure, diabolical ender of worlds, and scapegoat for humanity’s incapability of building and maintaining harmony in the midst of evil, which, like virtue, also demands contextualization. Readings may include The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Book of Job, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, excerpts from Paradise Lost by Milton, African American folktales, and more. What seems to be the Devil’s purpose in literature and how can we trace all of his possibilities across space and time in order to realize our own complexity as people? Let’s find out together.

M/Th 10:00-11:50
Maximum Enrollment: 40

To Apply

Please email a resume and letter of interest by August 15 to Mark Wunderlich, Director (with a copy to Megan Galbraith, Associate Director). Include a list of the names of faculty members you’ve worked with at Bennington who can speak on your behalf.

Interviews with finalists will be conducted via Skype in late September/early October.

Meet the Teaching Fellows

Jeanie Riess


jeanie reissJeanie Riess, a rising second-term MFA student in fiction, has been selected to be the third Residential Teaching Fellow at the Bennington Writing Seminars. The fellowship is the first of its kind in the country to offer full-time undergraduate teaching experience in a low-residency MFA format. Benefits include full tuition remission for one term, housing and board, and enrollment in an on-campus class.

Riess will work in the classroom for a full term beginning in Fall 2020. She’ll assist Bennington faculty member Manuel Gonzales in his class Screenwriting: Scene and Structure. Her duties include grading, advising, assisting in the development of course materials, guest lecturing, and research, among other responsibilities. Riess will also gain experience in arts administration and programming while assisting with Poetry@Bennington, along with continuing her regular MFA coursework. 

Riess is a writer from New Orleans who currently works as research editor at The New Yorker. Her work has appeared in The New York Times MagazineThe New Yorker, the Oxford American, Smithsonian.com and The Atlantic's City Lab. She has also written for newspapers in Mississippi and Louisiana. 

“I'm really excited to spend the fall at Bennington, surrounded by talented writers and seas of books,” said Riess. 

Matthew Groner

Matt GronerMatthew Groner, a rising third-term MFA candidate in fiction, has been selected as the second Residential Teaching Fellow at the Bennington Writing Seminars, working in the classroom for a full term beginning in Spring 2019.

The fellowship is the first of its kind in the country to offer full-time undergraduate teaching experience in a low-residency MFA format. Benefits include full tuition remission for one term, housing and board, and enrollment in an on-campus class.

As the Residential Teaching Fellow, Groner will assist Bennington faculty member and acclaimed poet, Michael Dumanis in his class, “Reading Poetry: A Basic Course.” His responsibilities will include grading, advising, assisting in the development of course materials, guest lecturing, and research. Groner will also have opportunity to gain experience in arts administration or editorial work with The Robert Frost Stone House MuseumBennington Review, or Poetry@Bennington, while continuing his regular coursework.

“I am grateful to the Bennington Writing Seminars for giving me this opportunity, and I’m ecstatic to be working with Michael, who is a fantastic poet and teacher,” said Groner. “I plan to learn everything I can from him about both poetry and pedagogy, and I’m eager be a part of the Bennington campus community for an entire semester.”

Lisa Cockrel

Lisa CockrelLisa Cockrel, a third-term MFA student in nonfiction has been selected to be our first Residential Teaching Fellow. Cockrel will work in the classroom for a full term beginning in Fall 2018. She’ll assist Bennington faculty member Manuel Gonzales in his class, Screenwriting: Scene and Structure. Her duties include grading, advising, assisting in the development of course materials, guest lecturing, and research, among other responsibilities.

“Manuel is an excellent writer and a great teacher. I’m thrilled to learn all I can from him this semester,” said Cockrel. “Plus, as much as I enjoy our MFA residencies, I think it will be great fun to experience the lively literary scene that Bennington hosts when undergraduates are on campus.”

Graduate Teaching Fellows/Assistant Fellows

Each term, the Writing Seminars makes awards to three Teaching Fellows and three Assistant Fellows–in Fiction, Poetry, and Nonfiction. Students who are selected as fellows teach high school writers thanks to our partnerships with Burr & Burton Academy and the GIV/Vermont Young Writers Institute. These positions are open every term to members of the graduating class.

The Teaching Fellows facilitate and run one writing lab/workshop that focuses on general writing principles, as well as those specific to their genre. Students prepare teaching materials, and generative exercises, alongside their thesis, graduate lecture, and reading. We select students based on the ability to teach, and be sensitive to, a diverse population of high school students. Previous teaching experience is encouraged, but not necessary.