What does life after the Brittain Fellowship look like? What opportunities within academia or in other sectors do Brittain Fellows pursue? And how does the postdoc prepare Brittain Fellows for these positions? The Professional Development Committee reached out to former Brittain Fellows and other experts to find out the answers to these questions and more. The interview below — featuring Rebecca Weaver, a faculty member at Perimeter College and a former Brittain Fellow — is the fourth in this series. (Other interviews feature Brandy Simula, Andrea Krafft, and Emily Kane.)
In the following video, Dr. Rachel Dean-Ruzicka asks Dr. Weaver about teaching at a community college.
The following “highlights” summarize the key points Dr. Weaver makes in the interview.
What aspects of the Brittain Fellowship are particularly helpful in daily life as a community college professor?
The Brittain Fellowship particularly helped Dr. Weaver in building skills for cultivating efficiency in class prep and grading. As a Brittain Fellow, she learned to be protective of her time by not spending too much of it on class prep. Since the teaching load at Perimeter is 4/5, that practice in prioritizing time was essential for moving into community college teaching.
Additionally, Dr. Weaver’s work in the CommLab helped her learn to talk with non-writing professors about teaching writing. And while she focuses primarily on writing in her classes, her experience teaching WOVEN communication is helpful for supporting her students as they build their electronic communication skills.
One aspect of the Brittain Fellowship that is possibly underrated in terms of future job preparation is the service work we do. Dr. Weaver commented on the importance of being able to transfer the skills developed from serving on committees and balancing her workload as a Brittain Fellow to her current position at Perimeter.
What about research and writing as a community college professor?
While Dr. Weaver’s position at the community college doesn’t require research, it’s something that many of us are passionate about. One key takeaway from this interview, though, is how research is still something that one can fit into a community college career. Dr. Weaver said that she continues to research in her current position and that she has shifted her writing and research to focus on pedagogy. You can find a lot of her great publications here. Additionally, the opportunity to do SOTL work at Georgia Tech contributed greatly to Dr. Weaver’s research successes, as do her ongoing relationships with Brittain Fellows.
What advice can you offer for those interested in community college positions?
Even if you don’t have experience teaching at a community college, knowing about and understanding the mission of a community college or access institution would be a good method for preparing for interviews. Being able to articulate an understanding of the history of community colleges and speak to your philosophy on access institutions would be excellent interview prep. Beyond just knowing the history, being able to articulate how your pedagogy fits into that framework is essential for approaching a community college position.
Finally, to describe her approach to teaching, Dr. Weaver quotes Mike Rose’s interview on the “Pedagogue” podcast:
When you teach, Rose says, “you really are participating with other people in their development.”