Jefferson Scholars Foundation announces new graduate fellowship opportunity

December 9, 2021

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation announced today a shift in its Jefferson Fellows Program for students studying in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS). In order to better meet the challenges facing graduate students today and in response to changes in the landscape of higher education, beginning in 2022, the Jefferson Fellows Program will provide up to two years of dissertation completion and postdoctoral support, including a living stipend, health insurance, and research funds.

The new focus of the Jefferson Fellowship, developed in close partnership with GSAS administration, is designed to ensure that outstanding graduate students at U.Va. have the opportunity to complete ambitious dissertations, to gain independent teaching experience, and to launch distinguished careers in an increasingly challenging academic job market. Under this new model, Jefferson Fellowships will bridge the dissertation completion year and the postdoctoral year, choreographing the Fellows’ transition from graduate student to careers as faculty, professional researchers or public intellectuals.

Fellowship Overview

In year one of the program, while completing their dissertations, Jefferson Fellows will be assigned a teaching mentor within their discipline or field of interest. Mentors will advise Fellows as they design an independent course. Fellows will have the opportunity to teach their independent course during the spring semester and will deliver a public presentation at the Jefferson Scholars Foundation based on their research.

In year two, Jefferson Fellows will join the College Fellows as an Engagements Post-Doctoral Fellow. Post-Doctoral Fellows will be responsible for developing two courses in one (or two) of the Engagement domains, teaching a total of six sections of these courses (2-credits each) in the 2023-24 academic year. Students in the lab sciences will continue to be paired with their disciplinary mentor during the second year; flexible accommodations will be considered for those who desire to combine their Engagements teaching with an active lab affiliation.

Selection Overview

The new fellowship will be available to GSAS applicants who have made substantial progress on their dissertations and can commit to completing the Ph.D. degree by the August graduation deadline at the conclusion of the initial fellowship year. Students are eligible to apply through the final year of the financial support from the Graduate School that was offered to them upon admission. The application window will open on December 15 and close on January 15 of each academic year, and all application materials will be outlined in early December on the Jefferson Scholars Foundation website. All applications will be reviewed by a committee of alumni and faculty with applicable expertise and experience to determine those applicants who will advance to the final interview stage of the selection process in late March/early April. The initial cohort is expected to have 12 recipients named.

The Foundation remains fully committed to sustaining and nurturing an interdisciplinary community of world-class scholars. Our hope is that the new model of selection and funding will continue to recruit outstanding graduate students across all GSAS departments, and also provide a model for how to effectively foster the next generation of faculty, researchers, and public intellectuals. Both the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences look forward to the transition and welcome any inquiries.

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