Seminar Chair – 2019 Blue Ridge Session
June 16th-August 10th, 2019
The Arete Project is seeking one or two individuals to serve as the Seminar Chair(s) for the 2019 Blue Ridge Session. The Seminar Chair(s) will oversee the program’s academic pillar, will lead our 16-18 students in a 2-3 hour class, 4-5 times a week, and will be responsible for the intellectual vitality of the community. Intellectual rigor is a foundational value of the Arete Project, and the Seminar Chair(s) should exemplify, expect, and encourage its highest achievement. The Seminar Chair(s) should also aim to contextualize the curriculum within the multiple dimensions of program life—extending the curricula beyond the classroom walls to help students make meaning out of their individual and collective experiences.
Applications are due by November 2nd, 2018. Applicants will receive notifications regarding interviews by early to mid-November. An employment offer will be made by mid-December. Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our online application is available here: www.areteproject.org/faculty-application
The core of the application consists of the following materials:
- Cover Letter, including:
- Your reasons for seeking this position
- Any experience teaching in a living-learning context, mentoring, advising, mediating conflicts, supporting student mental health, or working with young people in wilderness or residential contexts (e.g. as an RA, camp counselor, Outward Bound trip leader, etc.)
- A description of the type of students/classroom space you have the most experience instructing.
- Curriculum Vitae
- Course Proposals: suggest three courses that you would be excited to teach next summer, with a brief (1-3 sentence) description of each.
- Draft Syllabus: for one of your three course proposals, please proved a tentative list of readings, assignments, and weekly schedule. This is meant to give us an idea of how the course would unfold over the course of the summer, and what kinds of texts you might draw on.
- Statement of Teaching Philosophy
- Responses to the following (max. 400 words each):
- Integral to the mission of the Arete Project are the three pillars of academics, labor, and self-
governance. What do you find compelling about teaching and living in a community built on this model? How do you see your teaching approach engaging with this mission?
- One of the challenges of teaching at Arete is that the Seminar Chair(s) must navigate the needs of a diverse group of students (in terms of academic interests, background, identity, etc.). How will you make content accessible? How will you teach a class that will have obvious interest and stakes for students from different academic and intellectual background?
- Integral to the mission of the Arete Project are the three pillars of academics, labor, and self-
Applicants are also asked to furnish two letters of recommendation, due at the same time as the rest of the materials. Please have recommenders email their letters as PDF attachments to email@example.com.
All applicants must be credentialed at the appropriate level for college instruction, generally meaning a terminal degree. While we have accepted PhD candidates who are ABD in the past, we prefer candidates that are well into a teaching career. (In the case of a co-teaching application, only one of the applicants need have a terminal degree.) Regardless of formal qualifications, substantial teaching experience is a must, and experience mentoring, advising, or teaching in living-learning situations is an added bonus. These should feature prominently in the application, including in the letters of recommendation.
Applicants must be legally qualified to work in the United States of America. We regret that the Arete Project is not in the position to sponsor work visas.
Teaching at the Arete Project
The Seminar Chair(s) will conduct a daily class for the 16-18 college-aged students participating in the 2019 Blue Ridge Session. Class time should comprise roughly 12 hours each week, though this may take many forms (whole group or partial-group discussions, individual writing or research time, etc). This does not include time spent preparing for class. The Blue Ridge Session runs from June 16th to August 10th, 2019, and – with the exception of orientation, field trips, and other special events – class time should be a part of each weekday afternoon.
The Seminar Chair(s) will propose three courses as part of their application process. Upon making an offer of employment, the Hiring Committee will select which of the three courses the Chair will design and teach the following summer. We accept course proposals in any disciplinary or thematic area, though we give preference to proposals whose intellectual substance dovetails with the experiential components of the program, site-specific content, or any of the “big questions” faced by young adults. By way of example, this may include such diverse courses as “the intersections of identity”, “democracy in theory and action,” “field ecology of the Southern Appalachians”, or “case studies in experiential outdoor education”. For other ideas, read through our past courses here. We highly encourage interdisciplinary courses, courses that give opportunities for student leadership and participation, and courses that involve both experience and experiment. We do consider co-taught courses, and encourage candidates to submit joint applications.
All courses must adhere to the general standards for college material, though they must be accessible to students without any but the most basic prerequisites. (For example, it is appropriate to expect competency in algebra but not calculus. Though you will likely have students who are not native English speakers, you may expect fluency in written and spoken English). Students may opt to take the course for college credit, and for these students you must create an acceptable final evaluation and assign a final grade. These need not apply to other students.
As a member of the Arete Project community, we expect the Seminar Chair(s) to participate in community life. Though the Chair’s living accommodations will have a kitchen, we suggest that the Chair take approximately ten meals each week with students, as some of the liveliest and richest conversations of the summer occur during mealtime. Because the program can at times be socially and emotionally demanding, Seminar Chair(s) who are adaptable, open-minded, and comfortable with communal living are typically best suited for this position. The Seminar Chair(s) may also be called upon to serve as an informal mentor or advisor to students and should be prepared to serve in that capacity. Individual students may want to discuss course material over a cup of coffee or their future paths over a morning walk. We highly encourage mutual sharing of skills and interests between staff, faculty, and students. It can be beneficial to a full understanding of student life to participate in the morning labor rotations one or more times throughout the summer, though this is, of course, not required. A rough schedule of a typical day at Arete can be found here.
Administratively speaking, the Seminar Chair is responsible for attending a weekly Logistics Meeting, usually held over lunch. These meetings simply coordinate time and resources between students, staff, and faculty. The Seminar Chair will also serve as the staff member on-call for two weekends over the summer in case of student emergencies. Otherwise, weekends are free.
Academics and Student Self-Governance
The Arete Project’s educational model is centered upon the three pillars of academics, labor, and self-governance. All three pillars interact with one another, but in the course of their responsibilities in the academic pillar, the Seminar Chair(s) is very likely to interact with student self-governance processes. This begins at the outset of the hiring process, which is overseen by a student-run committee (though composed of students, staff, and faculty). Students help read all faculty applications, conduct all interviews, and determine both employment offers and course selection.
Over the course of the summer, students in the 2019 Blue Ridge Session cohort will likely discuss self-governance matters that bear on the academic pillar. In the past, these have included student-proposed readings, field trips and guest lectures, restructuring of class time to take advantage of a unique opportunity, and the like. As the Arete Project encourages students to exercise authority over their own educations, we encourage staff and faculty to treat all educational activities as a partnership between educators and students. This does not mean that staff and faculty must accede to every student request, nor does it mean that students may discard academics or disrespect their instructors. It does, however, require open dialogue and compromise from both sides. Ultimately, the Seminar Chair(s) will be responsible for working with students – and their self-governance bodies – to co-create a dynamic and student-driven intellectual community.
Compensation is $8,000-$10,000, based on experience. Room, board, and up to $500 in travel expenses are also included in the compensation package.
In the case of co-instructors, each will be compensated equally between $4,000-$5,000, based on experience. Each will receive room, board, and up to $500 in travel expenses.
Living at the Arete Project
The Seminar Chair(s) will be housed on the campus of Arthur Morgan School.The school’s housing options vary from year to year. In the spirit of living communally, the Seminar Chair(s) will most likely be sharing a multi-bedroom house with the program assistant(s). The Seminar Chair(s) will have a private bedroom, as well as a shared kitchen, bathroom, and living area. Wireless internet is provided. The quality of cell phone reception varies within the valley (some companies like Verizon and Virgin Mobile have previously fared better than others, like AT&T).
Arthur Morgan School is based in Celo, North Carolina – a small community of about fifty households with strong homesteading and Quaker roots. The nearest towns (for grocery shopping, medical services, etc.) are Burnsville and Spruce Pine, NC, both are about a 20 minute drive away. Asheville – about an hour away – boasts a thriving food and music scene as well as the closest airport. The entire region provides wonderful access to hiking, backpacking, climbing, and other outdoor activities; the highest peaks in the east sit directly opposite the school. The nearby forests and mountainous terrain also offer spaces for solitudinous activities, such as taking walks or writing.
The Arete Project staff and faculty community is small, consisting of the Program Director, Seminar Chair(s), Labor Coordinator, and two Arete Project alums who serve as Program Assistants. The Program Director and Labor Coordinator live in Celo, both within a 5-10 minute walk. Other Arthur Morgan School staff members may be around for all or part of the summer. Though small, Celo offers a variety of social opportunities: summer celebrations, community work days, a farmer’s market, Quaker meetings, concerts and dances, and a small but excellent library.
A car is necessary to access much of the surrounding area, and the Seminar Chair(s) is eligible to be placed on the AMS drivers’ insurance policy, giving them access to AMS vehicles for the summer. These should be used primarily for program business, but may be used for small personal outings. We do highly recommend that the Seminar Chair(s) bring a personal vehicle. We can also make inquiries to see if a local rental may be available; however, such a rental is not covered as part of the compensation package.
The Chair’s family is most welcome to come along for the summer, and different accommodations may be available if more space is required. If needed, we can help make connections to summer camps and babysitting services in the area.
Please contact us if you have specific accommodation needs.
Equal Opportunity Employment
The Arete Project is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national and/or ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, or political affiliation in the administration of any of its educational programs, admissions policies, financial aid, and other related policies and programs, as well as volunteer and employment-related policies and activities.