Want to teach with us?
A healthy and diverse HCSSiM junior staff typically includes a core of mathematics graduate students, as well as a sprinkling of undergrads (or other kinds of twentysomethings) who study math, physics, math ed, or the like. Junior staff have many academic responsibilities, including:
- Writing and typesetting nightly problem sets for their workshop or maxi;
- Teaching between ten and ninety minutes of each morning class;
- Giving feedback on students’ written work;
- Assisting with clerical things like making copies.
They also have many other less-academic responsibilities that make the position sound a little like that of a c**p c******or; don’t worry, it’s not. Junior staff live in close proximity to students and ensure those students fulfill basic social responsibilities like cleaning common areas and shutting up at Quiet Time. They look after the students’ safety and prevent them from doing (unnecessarily) stupid things.
A summer job at the Hampshire College Summer Studies in Mathematics looks good on resumés and CVs; the program is known and respected by graduate schools across the nation as a producer of fine teachers and communicators. If you are weighing a teaching experience against a possible research experience, recall that math departments at all institutions earn their keep by teaching students, and yet prospective graduate students with teaching qualifications are rare.
Senior faculty (= “senior staff”) typically have doctoral degrees. Six-week commitments are highly preferred, but 3-week commitments have occasionally worked in the past. Senior faculty are assisted in workshops (1st three weeks) and maxis (final 3) by 2 junior faculty who are grad students or undergraduate math majors.
Senior staff run a classroom of 12-15 motivated students and guide them in the discovery and creation of interesting mathematics. They provide mentoring and feedback for the junior staff, and plan curriculum around students’ needs and interests.
Folks interested in being senior faculty should send us an email; your application process is somewhat less formal (is that possible?) than that for junior staff.
When people have not experienced HCSSiM, we worry about being able to adequately explain the unusual commitment required by the exploitative position. The workday is long and challenging; it is also exciting and rewarding.
Staff actively participate in the 4-hour morning workshops (Monday-Saturday) and 3-hour evening problem sessions (Monday-Friday); they help prepare the daily problem sets and get to do a lot of duplicating; they proofread notes and program journal articles and write evaluations; they offer constructive criticism; they attend the afternoon Prime Time Theorems (a 51-minute math-club type talk, over half given by visitors) and give one or two; and, they create or co-create 8-hour mini-courses during the second half of the program. They also live in the dorm, join students for meals and recreational activities, provide transportation and counseling and supervision for students, and help to get the program to sleep around 11:17. There is virtually no hope of getting any research done or of maintaining an outside social life.
In spite of (or perhaps, because of) the preceding, the job is exhilarating as well as exhausting; we have repeaters, and there are a lot of good math teachers out there who credit HCSSiM with teaching them to teach. Nonetheless, there is usually considerable competition for the jobs—a result of having hundreds of enthusiastic alumni at various stages of mathematical careers.
Haven’t scared you off yet?
Below is a very brief application form for junior staff positions. We ask for a summary of mathematical background and teaching experiences, including any areas of particular expertise/interest. We also like to see one or two letters of reference; it’s particularly useful if one can address prior experiences in or suitability for working with teens.
This information is shared with the senior staff. In part, this is to spread the blame for having to say “no” to many people we would love to put in front of our students. Most years we impose an after-sophomore-year requirement and look for some experience with number theory, graph theory, and/or combinatorics. We begin our review of applications toward the end of January each year. Most faculty are HCSSiM alumni (or recommended by HCSSiM alumni they meet at REU’s, Budapest Semesters, etc.), but we do like to bring “fresh” talent to the Summer Studies — and to assemble a diverse (in gender, ethnicity, age, geography, …) mathematical community.
If your teaching at HCSSiM doesn’t work out this summer and your plans permit, please feel encouraged to visit and perhaps to give a Prime Time Theorem.