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, The 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

Meet our first Fellow

lisa cockrel


Lisa 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.