Practitioner-in-Residence Orientation Information

Planning Your Course

Class Schedule

We suggest that you plan to meet three or four days a week, and ideally, we recommend that students don’t have a four-day weekend, but if that’s what is best for your schedule, we can make it work. Most Short Term classes do not meet all five days of the week.

We encourage you to schedule at least 11 hours per week in order to cover all that you want to cover in the short four-and-a-half weeks of the term. Practitioner-Taught Courses typically meet 11-15 hours per week, and require 6 (or more) hours of work outside of class. Classes are held between 9 and 4 during Short Term. Such is the atmosphere on campus during Short Term; afternoon sports and activities are popular after the long winter, and most students will want to sleep in a little later than during the regular semester, and be released from the classroom in time for the very popular intramural games.

It is best to maintain a regular schedule for the five weeks so students can schedule work and other responsibilities more easily. However, field trips, special film screenings or other class activities do not have to be restricted to your class schedule. Students should be able to plan ahead when they see scheduled exceptions in the syllabus at the beginning of the term.

Syllabus Planning

Your syllabus is your students’ roadmap for the course. It should provide them a picture of what to expect in the course, from learning goals to class activities, norms and values, to your expectations for their performance. There is a helpful guide about how to build your syllabus here. This guide was written for new faculty orientation at Bates, intended for regular semester courses, but much of it will be applicable to your courses as well. There’s no shortage of tips to read on this topic! Do reach out if you’ve got questions. Margaret Imber, Associate Dean of the Faculty, is especially interested and willing to help with syllabus and course development.

You should send a first draft of your syllabus to Marianne by April 1.

Office Hours

Some of your students will want time to talk with you outside of class, whether to ask course-related questions or seek other advice. How you do this is completely up to you. You may find it easiest to be available before or after class on a given day(s) each week or you can schedule a regular hour – at the Den, in the library, or in your office* – whatever suits you. Students can also “take you to lunch/breakfast” in Commons at no charge, so that’s another good alternative.  You can even have virtual office hours if you’d prefer.

*If you do wish to have a physical office on campus during Short Term, we may be able to accommodate. Be sure to let Marianne know if you’re interested.

Showcase/ Final Projects preparation

The last Wednesday of Short Term, May 22, 2019, you and your students will participate in a campus-wide demonstration event to present a sample of your course work, or the students’ final projects — whichever works best for your course. This event has a celebratory tone, and should not be a high-pressure culmination of all of the work you’ve done this Short Term, but rather should serve as a positive experience for the students to demonstrate some aspect of their work product. If there’s a type of exhibition (pitch, poster presentation, web page) that will give them relevant professional experience that you’d like to use for this final showcase, Marianne can work with you to plan most types of demonstrations. You can consider involving your students in the decision of what type of exhibit or display they’d like to present, if your course plan allows for that.

This event takes place from 4-6 pm on that Wednesday, and is typically hosted by President Spencer. The five Practitioner-Taught Courses and the 4-6 Course (re)Designs led by Bates faculty are the courses that are “on display” during this Showcase. These two sets of classes constitute the Short Term Innovative Pedagogy, or STIP, Program.

Class Atmosphere


Strongly encourage your students to be present for class. This is an experiential course, and it can’t be experienced by reading and going over someone else’s class notes. It’s okay to be strict about your attendance policy.

Take attendance each class meeting. You can vary the way you do this: read names, have students say their names and one thing about themselves (or the reading, their goals, etc.), pass around a sign-in sheet, pass around a sheet for drawing a doodle and signing, etc. If a student misses class, send them a note to make sure everything is okay. Ask to meet with them. They should expect to be in touch with you about their attendance and about making up the work, and you should introduce this norm on the first day – verbally in class as well as in print on your syllabus.

Sample language for your syllabus:

Attendance policy: Short Term is Short.  If you miss a class it’s like missing a week.  We’ll be covering lots of exciting material, sometimes off site.  Not attending is perilous to the progress of the class and your final project. A single missed class, while not advised, is permissible. Two missed classes require an explanation, a quick meeting with me, and possibly a formal dean’s excuse. Three missed classes will result in an unsatisfactory grade.

The First Day: Setting the tone

The Practitioner-Taught Course program is an intense academic and professional experience, by design. It’s a program for which more students apply than we have seats for in your classes, and you should expect your students to commit to working hard to maximize their time with you. Consider having a conversation on the first day of classes about your goals for them and their experience, and how part of what they should take away from the course is an idea of what a “day in the life” of this career is. They should feel the fast pace, need to deliver, and responsibility to others in their class/on their team, just as they will in the professional world. Students in past Practitioner-Taught Courses have reflected that the experience was more intense than other Short Term Courses, but that level of intensity was “just right” – so know that they are ready to perform for you, and they should be expected to do so. As with any experience, they will get out of it what they put in, and this course is a one-time opportunity for them!

On the first day of class, have a conversation about classroom policies, atmosphere, learning goals, etc. Here is some good first-day advice from Carnegie Mellon.

Active Learning Environment

One of the special aspects of the Purposeful Work practitioner-taught courses is their practical, hands-on approach to experiencing the curriculum of the course. Students today are much more receptive to interaction during class periods than they are to listening to lectures. Lectures are arguably an efficient way to relay fundamental information, but try to break up the delivery into 20 minute chunks, interspersed with activity. To avoid losing your students in too long a period of passively listening to lecture, you can include a wide variety of Active Learning techniques, many of which are highlighted in this article, to help them absorb and respond to what they hear. Think of your ideal teaching approach not as “sage on the stage” but rather “guide on the side.”

In addition, because you are teaching a class during Short Term, your class periods will be longer than a typical 55- or 80-minute class session. Remember to build breaks into your lesson plan, for yourself and your students!

Field Trips/Transportation

Field trips are a good way for students to experience the field you are teaching: the work environment, expert speakers, multiple job functions in a business (career petting zoo). If you have contacts in a ME/NH/MA company that would be interesting for the students to see, consider an outing to meet your contacts and expand the students’ network in the field. We can order a coach or bus for your class if you want to go on field trips. You can also encourage the students to travel to a nearby location on their own, depending on what you want them to get out of the experience. Students can be asked to carpool, and this has had mixed results, though virtually all positive, in past PTCs. Students can be reimbursed for mileage if they drive a group of classmates to a class activity (this turns out to be a lot of pizza money!). Some classes have walked to locations in Lewiston. We will accommodate for any students with mobility difficulties.

If you are planning a field trip, consider how long to be away from campus. Students will want to be back on campus for late afternoon/evening activities during Short Term, and some may be required to be back for sports practice starting at 4:00. You can feel comfortable requiring students to leave early for a field trip.

If you are away all day, consider how students will get food. Bates Dining can pack bag lunches for you and the students, or your class budget may be able to cover lunch expenses, depending on how many activities you are planning with extra costs. You should not plan for students to buy themselves lunch without reimbursing them. You might also consider having a caterer deliver lunch to your field trip or meeting site, for something a bit more convenient and special than the Bates bag lunches.

Guest Speakers

Guests are another nice addition to your course, to expose students to a greater variety of professionals in your field, and to increase the students’ contacts for future networking. Virtually all Bates classrooms have the technology built in to Skype or Zoom conference in a speaker or panel, and if yours does not, Marianne can find a classroom or meeting room to schedule for you when you need. Many people will be happy to come to campus as a guest in your class, especially if they are alumni with fond Short Term memories! Your class budget can accommodate paying for their stay in the Dunn Guest House or a local hotel, a small honorarium (discuss with Marianne), and modest travel reimbursement. Depending on the speaker and their schedule, there may be additional activities they could do on campus while they’re here, such as meeting with other classes, faculty or students, or leading a round table. Marianne can help coordinate this type of visit plan.


Lyceum: Your (optional*) Course Website

Lyceum is Bates’ course management system. Found at, it provides you and your students a centralized and secure web page for collaboration. The default structure of your course page is weekly sections, so you can add assignments, readings, videos, to the appropriate week if desired. Some of the many features of Lyceum are: Content distribution, Discussion Board, Online Quizzes and Grade tracking, Chat Rooms, Syllabus & Class Information, Custom Web, Resources & Information, Class Calendar, and Assignment Drop Box. It’s likely you won’t use most of these features of Lyceum, but students are accustomed to using Lyceum with their classes, so you can feel free to use as much or as little as makes sense for your course. *In fact, some past practitioners have decided to use a different  platform for their courses, such as Google Groups, either so students would have access to their work after they graduated, or because using a different platform was good training for their particular practicum topic and/or career field.

See these Lyceum tutorials on the library website to help you acclimate yourself. Marianne or the Classroom Technology staff can help you navigate the system as well. The features you will most likely use are uploading files for reading assignments, inserting text onto the class page to instruct or inform your students about a class activity, and retrieving assignments if you have your students submit them electronically through Lyceum. Some past practitioners have also found journal submission and forums to be useful, but what you choose to use will depend on your own course. Rest assured we can help you tailor your page as much or as little as you wish.

Textbooks and Required Readings

You may require your students to purchase one or more books/monographs/cases for your course. In Short Term, just as during the regular semesters, students are accustomed to purchasing textbooks, but it is also common for instructors to upload articles or chapters to their class Lyceum page and ask students to retrieve them there. If you plan to require your students to read a significant portion of a book, or if you deem it an excellent resource for them to have in the future as they explore a career in your field, you should require them to purchase it.

The Bookstore will stock your required course materials. Please let Marianne know by February 1 what titles you will need. You can also list recommended or optional reading, and the Bookstore will order a few copies of those. The Library will also order place a copy of your texts on reserve. Any articles, chapters, or other course materials can be uploaded to your Lyceum page for easy access by your students. Please let Marianne know by April 1 where to find those sources and she will add them to your Lyceum page.

Technology in the Classroom

Virtually all Bates classrooms are equipped with technology to project a computer, hook up your laptop, access the internet, and teleconference. Tech-enabled classrooms are equipped with a Crestron Technology Control Panel. These control panels allow individuals to control the technology in each of these classrooms. Read more here about the classroom technology, and available help and instruction.