After a successful pilot program in 2014 and increasing interest from the alumni network, Practitioner-Taught courses will be offered for the third consecutive year as part of the Short Term curriculum this spring.
Initiated by Professor Emily Kane and Marianne Cowan ’92 in spring 2014, Practioner-Taught courses offer students the opportunity to pursue a subject outside of the Bates curriculum, learning practical skills necessary for a certain career path. These courses are part of the Purposeful Work Initiative.
Cowan, Associate Director of Program Design, offered some background into the planning process with additional input from Rebecca Fraiser-Thill, Director of Program Design for Purposeful Work.
This year’s courses include Brand Culture Building, Consulting for Strategy Development, Filmmaking, Journalism in the Age of Media Explosion, and Music Production.
The Career Development Center, Alumni Engagement, Office of Equity and Diversity, the Harward Center and numerous other campus offices work collaboratively to recruit instructors.
“The PW Design Team seeks topics outside of the current Bates curriculum, in areas that are of interest to Bates students as possible career paths, and where we know alumni or other practitioners who would be excellent instructors at Bates,” Cowan said.
In addition to their own recruitment, Bates alumni often contact the PW Design Team to inquire about getting involved. Conversations take place for over a year between Cowan and potential practitioners as they work out the details, including how they could teach the course and still work at their “day job”. The potential practitioners and their proposed courses then must be approved by the Purposeful Work Advisory Board and the faculty committee that approves all new Bates courses.
Cowan is already discussing potential courses for 2017 and 2018. She hopes to involve more local Maine companies and agencies to help students establish connections that can carry through their remaining time on campus and graduation.
In addition to new course offerings each Short Term, Practitioner-Taught courses also adjust according to the needs of the individual practitioner.
“One course might call for a lot of job shadow opportunities, another might need a lot of field trips or studio work,” Cowan said. “This year we will have more practitioners-in-residence actually living on campus full time than ever before, so they hope to really ‘embed’ themselves into the Bates community for the term.”
Key components of the PTCs remain the same. Students will gain practical skills in a particular field and have access to fieldwork opportunities and guest speakers to give them comprehensive insight into a desired profession. All courses will conclude with a final project and a presentation at the Short Term Showcase, where students share the results of 5 weeks of work.
“One exciting new aspect this year is that one of the classes, Consulting for Strategy Development with Fisher Qua ’06, will actually serve as consultant for an on-campus client, the Office of Residential Life and Health Education, as that office develops a new peer health program that supports meaningful engagement with health and wellness across a diverse student body,” Cowan said.
The application period for PTCs takes place before registration for other Short Term courses, starting February 8. Courses are limited to sixteen students maximum. A list of course offerings is available on the Bates website, and an information session will be held Wednesday, February 3 from 12:15-1:00 in New Commons 221.
“And if you do get in, seize the opportunity to really dig deep and get everything you can out of the opportunity,” Cowan said. “You are making a close professional connection with a true expert in the industry and you want to work hard for them, impress them, and make yourself memorable. They can and will open up a very helpful network of alumni and other professionals who will help you with your time at Bates, and your future.”