In examining the values that define communities, Contemporary Civilization allows students to engage in critical analysis and to explore how they themselves can become active and informed citizens. The Rose Teaching Assistantship - CC Research Ambassador program allows students who have successfully completed Contemporary Civilization to promote a culture of scholarship, investigation and community that Contemporary Civilization fosters early on in students’ time at Columbia. It provides an opportunity for students to consider how Contemporary Civilization informs their intellectual investigations in specific fields and/or areas of research. By writing about and reflecting on research, and by building on students’ earlier exposure to texts covered in CC, this opportunity allows students to consider research as an extension of their engagement with core texts. In so doing, students demystify the research process, allowing them to consider how research further strengthens the skills they developed in Contemporary Civilization. In writing about research, students will also assist departments and faculty in creating a culture of critical analysis and undergraduate research. Finally, this opportunity allows students to consider how research gives them the flexibility of mind required in any post-graduate plan they seek to pursue, a mission that is at the heart of Contemporary Civilization.
Students accepted for this program will contribute blog pieces to a webpage on the Academic Affairs website. The objective of this blog is to allow students to reflect upon their CC Journey, to promote a culture of research and scholarship among undergraduates, to empower the broader undergraduate community to engage in or consider research opportunities, and to consider how the Core and the skills it engenders can inform and enrich students’ intellectual pursuits and the opportunities they choose to pursue in their undergraduate career and beyond. The blog entries can be lofty or practical (or both!).
Possible blog prompts, which will be developed through a collaborative effort, might include topics such as:
- Translating / transitioning Core skills: reflect on how the work you did in the Core (close reading; critical analysis; framing a question, etc. has informed how you approach research (broadly or with reference to a specific example);
- Core as Community: how is a community built and sustained around research questions that interest you?;
- Expertise in Research: in the Core you learn that no one is an expert on everything. How might this fact inform a research project?;
- Questions of Ethics: ethics—both as an existential conversation and a practical one—are a central component of the core. How do such discussions inform your research, either in terms of content or approach?;
- Creativity: imagination is central to the texts of Contemporary Civilization. How have you fostered creativity in terms of developing your research topic, questions, etc.;
- Interdisciplinarity: the Core brings into conversation different disciplines and voices. How does your research cross boundaries? Another way of exploring this question might be to consider how the Core, typically associated with the humanities, might connect with quantitative research?
Compensation will be offered for this position, please speak to an advisor for further information.
Selected Fellows will be required to:
- Participate in a training workshop this summer;
- Attend a monthly planning meeting;
- Attend the yearly Undergraduate Research Symposium and consider other ways to celebrate and encourage undergraduate research on campus;
- Contribute two blog posts on average per month (Blog posts should be 500-750 words in length, and should be accompanied by a photograph with permission to post the photograph).
Candidates for the Rose Teaching Assistantship - CC Research Ambassador program must be:
- Rising seniors in the College majoring in a humanities or social sciences field. (Students who have a double major in a STEM field are also eligible.);
- Must have received a B or higher in Contemporary Civilization, and should be in good academic/disciplinary standing;
- Hold curiosity about and passion for research, and some research experience, in the most expansive of terms (for a class, independently, etc.), is required;
- Applicants should be excellent writers and should also be able to work independently.