The Walter and Pauline Adams Academy of Instructional Excellence and Innovation was created in 2008, originally as a teaching and learning fellowship program for non-tenure-system academics. In 2017-18, the program was opened to all MSU tenure system and fixed-term faculty, academic specialists, and librarians.

This program is valuable to the campus community. Prospective participants will apply with regard to a primary focus on professional growth in learning and teaching.

The Adams Academy Fellowship Program

The Adams Academy is named in honor of former MSU President Walter Adams and his wife and MSU faculty member emerita, Pauline Adams, in recognition of their sustained commitments to promote instructional excellence. The program brings together a cross-disciplinary group of faculty and academic staff for a year-long fellowship focused on teaching and learning. Adams Academy participants explore the literature on effective university teaching and learning practices and consider how this robust body of research can be used to guide instructional decisions in the courses they teach.  Participants learn from and contribute to a community of teacher-scholars committed to excellence in teaching and learning. Up to twelve Adams Academy members will be selected for the 2019-2020 cohort. Criteria for selection include evidence of the applicant’s interest in and commitment to teaching and learning, potential to be an excellent teacher, and potential and willingness to serve as a mentor and advocate for excellent teaching among peers.

Each participant will be provided with $3,000 to be used for professional development in teaching and learning. The Office of the Provost will provide $1,500 to each of up to 12 fellows in the first year of their Adams participation. Each Fellow’s home unit is expected to provide $1,500 in matching funds.

Program Activities and Expectations

Instructional Responsibilities: Academy applicants must plan to teach one or more courses or have other instructional responsibilities during their participation in the Academy.

Monthly discussions on scholarly teaching: Adams Academy members attend monthly, facilitated cohort seminars (September-April) that focus on teaching and learning topics. Members spend 3-5 hours on readings and preparatory activities prior to each seminar.

Participation in on- and off-campus events on teaching and learning: Adams Academy members attend at least two seminars or workshops, or other campus instructional development activities of their choice throughout the academic year (including learning communities, Educator Professional Development Network, #ITeachMSU, or other learning-centered networks across MSU). Participation in these programs allows Adams Academy members to build upon the experiences and knowledge gained during monthly meetings and to learn from nationally recognized scholars. Attendance at these events also helps to foster community and support for quality teaching at MSU.

Additionally, participants are asked to submit a portfolio that shares their insights about teaching based on their experiences over the fellowship year. This will be shared with the institutional community and help to reinforce teaching excellence across campus.

Application Process

Eligibility: All tenure system faculty, fixed-term faculty, academic specialists and librarians who will have instructional responsibility as part of their appointments in 2019-2020 are invited to apply for the William and Pauline Adams Academy for Instructional Excellence & Innovation. All applicants must be in at least the third year as a tenure-stream or fixed-term faculty member, academic specialist, or librarian at MSU with significant teaching responsibilities.

Required Application Documents

  • Completed application form
  • Two letters of support.
    • The primary letter must be from the applicant’s primary chair, director, or dean.
    • The additional letter of support may come from an MSU faculty member, student, academic staff member, or administrator.
  • A personal statement clarifying why you wish to participate in the Adams Academy at this time and how participation will benefit you, and your department/college/institution. The personal statement should be no more than one page (approximately 250-300 words).
  • A current curriculum vita (double sided is preferred).
  • A list of courses taught at MSU detailing size and type (graduate, undergraduate major, non-major) as well as annual course load and advising responsibilities.

Please return all documents in paper format via campus mail or USPS to: Dr. Patti Stewart, 308 Administration Building.

2019-20 application deadline has passed. The 2020-21 application process will begin in February 2020.

Criteria for Selection of Adams Academy Fellows

  1. The applicant must plan to teach at least one course or provide library instruction as a part of a course during their participation in the Adams Academy.
  2. Quality of endorsement from unit supervisor and additional reference in letters of support.
  3. Evidence of interest in and commitment to improving student learning.
  4. Evidence of the potential for instructional excellence.
  5. Willingness to advocate for excellent teaching among peers.
  6. Willingness to commit the time needed to fully benefit from Adams Academy membership, including participating in ALL monthly meetings plus at least two additional opportunities identified by participants.