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Smithsonian Faculty Fellowships

The Montgomery College-Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship Program

The Fellowships are the product of a unique collaboration between Montgomery College and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital access—the first of its kind between the Smithsonian Institution and a community college. The MC-Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship Program is the signature program of the Paul Peck Humanities Institute at Montgomery College.

The program is interdisciplinary and open to faculty from all three campuses. The Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship program is a year-long commitment and is considered a part of your workload assignment; it is open to both FT- and PT-faculty. Fellows are awarded three ESH per semester, a total of six ESH for their work and participation. The Fellowship program has created new pathways for teaching and learning at Montgomery College since 1998. One former Fellow recently told us the program was for her “an innovative experience for both the fellows and their students!  Education in its richest sense.”

The 2018 Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship Theme is "We The People: America's Grand and Radical Experiment with Democracy." This theme offers opportunities for all disciplines.  Participating faculty will learn how to teach with objects and museums, create engaging new lessons and assignments--that support your core content—that integrate with field trips to Smithsonian Institution museums.  They’ll experiment with time-tested as well as novel pedagogical approaches to help Montgomery College students formulate their own questions, generate knowledge and develop more sophisticated approaches to problem-solving.  

Montgomery College Smithsonian Fellowship Testimonials (short video)

2018 Faculty Fellows Application Flier

2018 Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship Theme - printable poster (PDF)


     “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely.  The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       --Franklin Delano Roosevelt                                                     

American-style democracy always has been more of an experiment than a formula.  On July 4, 1776, The Founding Fathers declared independence from England with the strong belief that a people united by common ideas and ideals could succeed in as a nation without a monarchy or aristocracy.  In the 241 years since then, the United States of America and its maturing brand of democracy have been shaken and stirred by power, pride, prejudice, and pain, all the while bolstered by that original belief that "all will be okay in the end." 


Democracy is messy.  Despite the original ideal that the voice of the people must remain a powerful ingredient in the new nation, two populations were marginalized from the nation's very beginning:  slaves and Native Americans. Many more Americans over these two centuries were denied that most fundamental of American right, including women and freed blacks.  Failures of inclusion continue to haunt a nation which promised that a vote is a voice.   There is an enduring debate over the ideal make-up of America:  whether America should be a multi-cultural mixing bowl or a homogenous nation. In the aftermath of the bruising and divisive 2016 US Presidential election, we are challenged to define what America is about, what it should be about, and indeed, who are "we the people" anyway?

Your questions will help form the foundation of the 2018 Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship that will usher critical discussions into Montgomery College classrooms on all three campuses.

Political Science professors can construct new approaches for students to explore citizens' rights and responsibilities, voting integrity and the importance of freedom of the press, especially in turbulent times of conflict. History professors can have students consider American democracy's path over time and its role in world history.  English professors can spur students to construct arguments about democracy. Communications professors may consider how campaign messages are conveyed, or consider how false messages are crafted and communicated.  Sociologists may ask their students to explain how some Americans can 'find their voices' in an uneven society. Others may question a democratic nation that broke treaty after treaty with sovereign American Indian nations.

What roles do music and theatre play in democratic movements? How is democracy central to public art or vice versa? Can students observe how democracy is expressed in formal or popular portraiture? How can the tools of economics and statistics be applied to interrogate participation in democracy? How does a democratic society ensure progress in science and technology? What is a citizen's role in helping to shape America today and to preserve not only our nation but our place as keepers of that democracy? Fellows will provide students with the structure and encouragement to encourage their academic growth as well helping them as they shape and define their own roles as citizens or residents in our unique democratic society.

Creating the foundation for this year's Fellowship is an intellectually stimulating new exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History:  Democracy:  A Great Leap of Faith.  This expansive exhibit includes some 900 objects, including the desk on which Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the inkwell Lincoln used to draft the Emancipation Proclamation, the red shawl made famous by suffragette Susan B. Anthony, campaign badges, protest signs, voting machines, alongside ephemera from American political life that explore the triumphs and tragedies that help reveal the story of American democracy

The Work Commitment:

The Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship program is a year-long commitment and is considered a part of your work load assignment. Fellows are awarded three ESH per semester, a total of six ESH for their work.

In the spring semester, Fellows attend meetings every Thursday. These include, for example, regular business meetings at Rockville campus, the Showcase presentation at Rockville, and trips to Smithsonian museums and sites, including a panel discussion and the annual reception (typically held at the Smithsonian Castle).

In the summer there are no formal meetings scheduled. Fellows work independently to visit museums, collect information and refine plans for their fall course implementation.

In the fall semester, Fellows attend weekly business meetings at the Rockville campus, implement their Smithsonian project (lesson plan and museum visit) with their class, and develop materials to share with their cohort and colleagues. Fellows are a cohort of learners who share responsibility for developing the theme and applying it to the Smithsonian experience. During the year Fellows support one another, participate in exercises, share teaching resources and techniques and share leadership roles. Former Fellows report that the cohort learning environment offered by the Fellowship is remarkably rewarding!

All meetings take place on Thursday afternoons, and Fellows must plan their schedules (and allow time for travel) so that they are present at meetings (College or Smithsonian) which begin promptly at 2:00 pm. This is non-negotiable; do not accept work that will interfere with your full participation..

Fellowship Deliverables:

Work products developed over the year include, for example: development of a course syllabus that includes the Smithsonian lesson plan and museum visit; one or more newly designed assignments related to the lesson plan; staying current with assigned readings and tasks; developing discussion topics; and preparing a final written report summarizing the Fellow’s project implementation (about 500 words), and participation in a variety of assessment activities.  Additionally, all Fellows deliver a presentation of their final report at the Smithsonian Faculty Fellows’ Showcase event (typically held in February on the Rockville campus). The Showcase event will be videotaped by MCTV and will later become available on

Application Check-List:

Communicate with your department chair as soon as possible informing him or her that you are interested in applying for a fellowship. With your chair you will determine whether there are any obstacles or objections to your receiving 3 alternate-ESH in the spring and then again in the fall semester.  Remember: Your work schedule must be structured so that you can arrive on time for all meetings.

COVER PAGE -- Prepare a Cover Page for Your Application. This page will include:

• your name and job title, including your department and campus and a separate line for your signature and date;

• the title of your Fellowship proposal and word count;

• the name of your Department Chair and a separate line for his or her signature and date;

• the name of your Dean and a separate line for his or her signature and date.

RESEARCH AND PREPARE PROPOSAL -- The proposal describes your interest in applying for the Fellowship and lays out your vision to implement the theme in one of your courses. (Keep in mind we expect that your ideas will develop and may change as a result of the seminar experience.) The proposal should run about 500-600 words; do not exceed the 600 words. You are to use Times New Roman, 12 point. Be sure to read over the section (below), “Evaluation Criteria for Faculty Fellowship Applications.”

PREPARE AND ATTACH ACTIVITIES LIST -- Following the proposal, on separate paper, please make a list of your activities at Montgomery College. This list will include, for example: typical courses taught; recent professional development activities, including CTL/ CPOD courses; volunteer work with students; positions you hold in your department, discipline or college; leadership positions in professional organizations and any other additional items you would like to share. (This list will not be part of the word count for your proposal.)

SUBMIT APPLICATION PACKAGE TO CHAIR -- Submit this application package (printed documents to include: cover sheet with your signature, proposal and activities listing) to your Chair. Part-time faculty applications require an additional item (see Special Note for Part-time Faculty) below. You must allow ample time for him/her to consider your request, sign it, and forward it along to your Area Dean. The completed package (application and all three signatures) must arrive at the Paul Peck Humanities Institute offices, #212 Macklin Tower, Rockville campus by Monday, October 16, 2017 (5 p.m. E.S.T.).

Do plan ahead! Obtaining signatures of your chair and dean will take time.  Help us to be sure we get your application on time.  As soon as you have sent your proposal on to your chair, please take a moment to e-mail to PPHI Director, Sara Ducey to alert her to watch for the arrival of your application.

Special Note for Part-time Faculty:

PPHI welcomes applications from part-time faculty, with these stipulations.  Part-time faculty who apply must have taught for Montgomery College for four academic semesters before applying AND they must have taught the course into which the Fellowship will be integrated for at least two semesters. IMPORTANT: Part-time faculty applications must also include a Letter of Recommendation from their department chair. [Such a letter is not required by full time faculty.]

Evaluation Criteria for Faculty Fellowship Applications:

The application process for this rewarding academic professional development opportunity/workload assignment is competitive. More individuals apply than can be served. Successful proposals are persuasive, articulate and coherent. They effectively address the Fellowship theme, express your vision for how the Fellowship theme relates to your course, and specify Smithsonian museum(s) and exhibits(s) you think you may use to support your project. Strong proposals also suggest that your participation in the Fellowship will lead to pedagogical innovation in your classroom as well as at the museum(s).

Additional factors that the committee will consider include representation across campuses and disciplines. Though consideration is given to first-time applicants, a number of Fellows have applied more than once before being offered a Fellowship position.

Reach for Help to Boost Quality of Your Application.

We encourage all prospective applicants to reach to us for help.  Professor Mimi Mann (English, RV) is the Coordinator for the Montgomery College Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship. She is glad to offer guidance on writing your proposal and assembling your application package; it can really help! If you submit a DRAFT proposal two weeks BEFORE the deadline she can give you pointers on refining your approach and polishing your draft.

Since 1998, more than 182 Montgomery College faculty have participated in the Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship program. Many of these faculty still teach or work at Montgomery College.  Please consider reaching out to ask about their experiences. Smithsonian Faculty Fellows Alumni List.

Since 1998, more than 170 Montgomery College faculty have participated in the Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship program. You might consider reaching out to them to ask about their experiences. Smithsonian Faculty Fellows Alumni List

Video Showcases: See How MC-Smithsonian Fellows Teach with the Smithsonian Museums

Please consider viewing one or more of the video recordings of MC-Smithsonian Faculty Fellows presenting their final projects at our annual “Showcase” events. We started recording these with the 2010 Cohort, and there are now more than 65 videos with a combined viewing of over 9600 views on YouTube. Many of these are interdisciplinary in nature, so don’t limit yourself to watching only those in your discipline!

View this video about the Smithsonian Fellowship

2015 Faculty Fellows and Reports and Links

Modern Food Choices, Using Information From Our Ancestors: How Far Back Should We Go For Our Information? Amanda Buxbaum (Nutrition/RV)

Immigrant: Beyond the Single Identity  Jonathan Colson (AELP/TPSS)

A Reflection of America's Identity at the National Portrait Gallery: Towards an Agenda on Immigration and Migration in a New Century  Lee Edgecombe (Music/TPSS)

Together We Can Achieve More: Discovering Connections and Thinking Critically about Immigration in Classroom and Museums Settings  Jamie Gillan (English/RV)

Defining the Content of Americans' and Immigrants' Identity: Finding Representations that define Americans' as well as Immigrants' Identity in Museums  Catherine Kramer (Psychology/G)

Exploring Immigrant Sculptors in Smithsonian Collections  Zdeno Mayercak (Art/RV)

Aging Among Immigrants: Are They Different?  Takiko Mori-Saunders (Sociology/RV)

Communication and Immigration Through the Smithsonian Lens  Maria Pedak-Kari (Communication/G)

The Museum of Immigration and American Identity  Lynn Roessner-Ankney (English/TPSS)

Learning Anthropology at the Museum   Maria Sprehn (Anthropology/G)

Thinking, Listening, Observing: Communicating with Self and the Other through Object-based Integrative Learning  Anestine Theophile-LaFond (Communication/RV)

2014 Faculty Fellows and Reports and Links

Columbian Exchange: Discussing Cultural Change through Cultural Diffusion in an "American Debate" class at Montgomery College  Isaiah Ayafor (English/RV)

Worlds in Collision: The European Appropriation of the America  Salvador DiMaria (English/RV)

Cross-Cultural Exchange- A Self Portrait  Maggie Gourlay (Art/RV)

Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Writing Expedition in English 101, Introduction to College Writing  Kateema Lee (English/RV)

Legendary Exchanges Transforming our Lives: from the Old World to the New World and Vice-Versa  Maria-Elvira Luna-Escudero-Alie (Italian/TPSS)

Native American Medicinal Plants, Food, and the Smithsonian Experience  Cyrus MacFoy (Biology/TPSS)

American Identity in the Past and Present  Beverly Ryan (Art/G)

Exploring the Worlds of Communiucation  Beverly Spencer (Communications/G)

Immigration and Migration: Smithsonian Project  Vitaliy Shvetsov (Mathematics/TPSS)

2013 Faculty Fellows and Reports and Links

Biology: Humans of Progress Forging American's Identity Antonio del Castillo-Olivares (Biology/RV) 

Visual Arts: A Cultural Journey at the Museum Grace Graham (Photography/G)

Pioneer Manhood in America Michael LeBlanc (English/TPSS)

America's Identity: Looking Inside or Outside In? Who Are We?  Evelyn Gonzalez-Mills (Counseling/TPSS)

The Encounter is Now: Finding "El Dorado" at Montgomery College Allyson Lima (Spanish/RV)

Exploring Research Methods for the Visual Artist  Lincoln Mudd (Art/TPSS)

Cultural Hybridity at Montgomery College: The Smithsonian Promoting Critical Thinking to Transform the Identity of the "American" Composition Course  Rebecca Portis (English/RV)

Teaching EN102 with an Identity-Based Model of Social Change  Rebecca Razavi (English/RV)

Who Am I?/Who Are We? Patricia Ruppert (Philosophy and W&GS/RV)

In the Beginning, I-Search: America on the Move/Students on the Move to the Argumentative Research Paper Marianne Szylk (English/RV)

2012 Faculty Fellows and Reports and Links

Identity in America- A Complex Journey  Elissa Abod (Psychology/RV)

The Search of Identity through Jazz Dance  Sandra Atkinson (Dance/RV)

Relating Identity and Social Issues through Museum Objects  Zachary Benavidez (English/RV)

The Paradox of Identity in the Creative Process  David Carter (Art/G)

Divergent Engagement: Questing Identities in English 101  Swift Dickison (English/RV)

We Eat What We Are: Exploring How Identity Influence  Alyson Escobar (Nutrition/RV)

Defining Identity through Technical Theatre  R. Scott Hengen (Technical Theatre/RV)

No Bones About It: It's All About Bones  Connie Holy (AELP/RV)

College Student Identity: Part Time, Full Time or in  Jay Marciano (Counseling/TPSS)

Finding Voices  Angela Nissing (AELP, English/TPSS)

The Roots of Identity: Seeking What Creates and Develops American Identity  Bette Petrides (English/RV)

2011 Faculty Fellows and Reports and Links

Race, Identity, and Representation in the 21st Century (17:47) Daiyyah Abdullah (English/RV)

Turning on the Sounds of History (13:17) Marcia Bronstein (English, Reading/ TPSS)

Rosa Parks’ Handbag: Exploring Visual Arguments on Identity and Social Issues through Museum Exhibits and the Internet (24:31) Genevieve Carminati (English/RV & Women’s Studies Program)

Race + Economics – A Smithsonian Experience (22:51) Satarupa Das (Economics/TPSS)

Identities: Changing Perceptions of Native Americans and Ourselves (10:00) Marian Graham (Social Sciences/TPSS)

Coloring Brutality (26:58) Michaele Harrington (Adjunct, Art/ RV)

Exploring the Human Race in the Classroom and at the Museum: Bridging Anthropologists’ and Laypersons’ Concepts of Race and Ethnicity (17:54) Marisa Prosser (Adjunct, Anthropology/ GT)

Identifying Identities – Others and Ourselves  Maria Sprehn (Anthropology, RV)

Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Integrating Museum Exhibits (12:57) Deborah Stearns (Psychology/ RV)

There Are More Than Just Dead Things at the Museum (25:13) Michael Tims (Biology/TPSS)


2010 Faculty Fellows and Reports and Links

Using the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins to Enhance Teaching about Race and Worldview in a Cultural Psychology Course (15:25) Andrea Brown (Psychology/RV) 

Exploring the Human (16:03) Cathryn Carroll (English, GT)

Evolutionary Nutrition, How Race Matters (22:14) Sara Bachman Ducey (Nutrition and Food/ Hospitality Management/ RV)

A Post Racial Society? Developing a Global Perspective in a Nation of Immigrants (10:23) Ada Garcia-Casellas (Counselor, Center for International and Multicultural Students Student Development/ GT)
Embracing Education as a Civil Right and Examining Elements of Success (13:12) Nancy Lawrence Hill (Mathematics, TPSS)

Exploring Social Movements: An Examination and Discussion of Race through Research and Writing  Kateema Lee (English, GT) (unpublished)

Learning the Fluidity of Realities by Examining Museum Representations (14:19) Takiko Mori-Saunders (Sociology, Anthropology, & Criminal Justice, RV)

Got museum? Enhancing Reading Skills Outside the Classroom (6:50) Sadi Sahbazian (American English Language Program/ TPSS)

Teaching Language through History (16:22) Alicia Sanderman (Reading, English as a Second Language, and Linguistics & Reading and Writing Center Tutor/RV)

Montgomery College Students Visit the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History (27:42) Alonzo N. Smith (History/Political Science/ RV)

Are We There Yet? Following the Long and Twisted Highway of America's Racial History: From Slavery to President Obama (17:44) Karl T. Smith (Social Sciences, TPSS)


2009 Faculty Fellow Report

A Lens on Social Justice: The Greensboro Four (9:01) Mimi Mann (English/RV)

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