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De Vries Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows

Professor looking at a model of a human bring with three of her students

The de Vries Postdoctoral Fellowship provides an opportunity for newly minted Ph.Ds across various academic disciplines to gain vital teaching experience and participate in an intentional professional development sequence focused on undergraduate instruction and scholarship.

Given the specific mission and identity of Calvin University, this professional development sequence gives sustained attention to questions of connecting Christian faith commitments to every aspect of academic work.

This  Calvin University program is directed by the Provost’s office. It is administered by the de Vries Institute for Global Faculty Development in close affiliation with other Calvin centers and institutes and academic departments and initiatives across campus.

Teaching Responsibilities

De Vries Postdoctoral Fellows teach 2/3 of a standard full teaching load in academic departments connected to their area of expertise,  and sometimes also in university Core Curriculum courses. Specific courses taught are determined by the relevant academic dean and department chairs in consultation with the Fellow. 

Courses taught are primarily  in undergraduate in-person classrooms. Postdoc fellows  also  are occasionally able to teach online courses, graduate courses (mostly online), and courses inside Handlon Correctional Facility for the Calvin Prison Initiative. The specific teaching responsibilities assigned depend on a given Fellow’s particular discipline and the teaching needs in that area.

Faculty Development Opportunities

The remaining 1/3 of Fellows’ work responsibilities is devoted to their professional development as rising members of the academy. This includes work with an experienced faculty mentor and regular workshops on topics such as teaching, grading, students, scholarship, institutional life, and wise, impactful integration of faith and learning in all of those dimensions of faculty work. This faculty development sequence takes place in a cohort format with other de Vries Postdoctoral Fellows. With careful stewardship of time, there is also be time available for research, scholarship, and writing, with the resources of Hekman Library at the disposal of Fellows.

The faculty development component is an integral part of this Fellows program. Accordingly, it is a mandatory part of Fellows’ work expectations, though some activities may be designated as optional or recommended.

Program Logistics

Selection Process: The 2022-24 cohort has been determined, with fellows already at work at Calvin. It is expected that applications for the 2024-26 cohort will be due by December 15, 2023. Screening of applications will be done by relevant academic departments and the Provost’s office. Preliminary interviews will be conducted through video-conferencing platforms, with final interviews conducted on campus.  

Salary and Benefits: https://calvin.edu/offices-services/human-resources/employment/benefits-insurance/ 

Campus Resources: Each fellow is assigned an office in the proximity of the academic department of their expertise. Modest allowances are provided for professional travel and books. 

Housing: As this is a short term (i.e., two year) experience, only a modest relocation allowance will be provided. An on-campus apartment will be provided for each Fellow’s use.  

Beginning and End date for the next cohort: August 1, 2024, to July 31, 2026. 

Frequently-asked questions

Click on a question below to see the answer.

  • Is it possible to extend a de Vries Fellows position past two years?

    Highly unlikely, though Fellows would be invited to apply for any open faculty positions in their area.

  • What is the role of centers and institutes at Calvin? What would an “affiliation” with one of them look like for a de Vries Fellow?

    Centers and Institutes at Calvin are hubs for study and engagement related to a particular academic or professional area. Centers and Institutes serve as catalysts in connecting Calvin University to external audiences and partners, as well as in fostering networks across the Calvin campus. The precise nature of their work depends upon the particular center or institute, but it typically involves fostering research, contributing to instruction and work with students, organizing conferences and other avenues for fruitful conversation. Whether an affiliation with one of these study centers within Calvin University is possible for a fellow will depend upon the fellow’s disciplinary and research area and whether there is a natural “fit” with one of the centers or institutes. An affiliation would involve potential avenues for presentation of academic work, collaboration on ongoing research projects, and opportunities for fellowship.  

  • What size classes would I teach at Calvin?

    It depends upon the particular class and department. Some of the larger classes involve 40-45 students; smaller classes 15-20 students; and a typical 100 level course that carries core credit has around 30-35 students.

  • What is 2/3 of a teaching load?

    It depends somewhat on the academic area in question. Typically it means teaching two courses per semester, with the number of credit hours per course (e.g., 3-4) differing slightly by department.

  • The job ad and Calvin’s promotional material mention that Calvin is associated with the Reformed tradition of Christianity. What does that mean?

    The Reformed tradition is one of the major branches of historic Protestantism, with 16th century roots primarily in Switzerland, but then spreading throughout the world (including in churches with the label “Presbyterian”). This tradition emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the goodness of creation, the corruptive effects of sin, and the utter necessity of Christ’s grace, which calls us into the world as faithful participants in Christ’s kingdom-building project. Read more here.

  • Are utilities included in the housing that is provided?

    Yes.

  • Would it be necessary to own a car? 

    Strictly speaking, no. There is a bus line that meets up with Calvin’s suburban campus. And there is a grocery store about 1.5 miles from campus. Practically speaking, however, having a car would make one’s life significantly easier.