Financial Support


FAQs from Faculty
Developing a Project

When Faculty contact us to discuss their ideas for Crossroads projects, they most commonly have questions about these areas. We hope these answers will help clarify for you the basics elements of running a project as part of UCSB Crossroads.


Funding – how much / for what?

Selected Graduate Students receive fellowship funding during the first or second quarter of the project, when they will be taking GRAD 210, the graduate pedagogy course (their TA funding in the third quarter will come from the department that houses that course). Their funding will be a stipend equivalent to other Graduate Division fellowships—currently $8,000 per quarter—as well as tuition, fees, and health insurance. Additionally, Faculty can request up to $1,000 dollars per fellow to support project-related research activities (this sum can be pooled), and up to $3,000 dollars per project for further programmatic activities—e.g., inviting speakers to give lectures, renting films and other media, or disseminating research results to the wider community.


Three Quarters – What happens in each quarter of the Project?

Quarter 1: the research seminar begins, led by one of the project faculty. This is a time for the group to focus on coordinating project goals and disciplinary perspectives, individual roles and sub-group tasks. Quarter 2: the research seminar continues, led by a second faculty member. This is a time for the group to work in concert toward its project goals, as well as construct or reimagine curricula and materials for the upcoming undergraduate / professional masters course. In either the first or second quarter (depending on when the course is offered) Fellows take GRAD 210, College and University Teaching—From Theory to Practice. Quarter 3: the research seminar concludes, led by the third faculty member, while the Fellows TA for the new-or-improved course(s) related to the project, housed within one of the participating departments. This is a time for the group to finalize its collaborative end-product(s), and to plan future directions for the group and the course, beyond Crossroads.


Graduate Research Seminar – what should these look like / what Course Number(s)?

The research seminar is not a lecture nor a lab, but a more collaborative and conversational space for the project group's goal-directed learning, planning, and research sharing. In the seminar, faculty and graduate students will share readings and discuss ideas, conduct meta-analyses, give sub-group presentations, and so forth—ultimately leading toward some final product, such as publications or a grant proposal. Although teaching credit rotates among the three lead faculty, all participating faculty members will participate fully during all three quarters.

Seminars should be open to enrollment by (and made attractive to) other graduate students, in addition to the Crossroads Fellows. Usually, these courses will be listed as 294 or 594 special topics, 290 or 595 critical review and group studies, or some departmental equivalent. The seminars should provide educational benefit to the students as part of their training as scholars and educators, and should fully engage the students in the conceptualization, design, execution, and presentation of the research.


Undergraduate or Professional Masters Course – what's our best option, among those departments involved?

The teaching component of the Crossroads project can be applied to one or more existing courses, or used to develop a new course. There are two broad models that have been successful in the past. In courses that are already strongly interdisciplinary, Fellows can bring in activities that make the differences and tensions among the contributing disciplines more explicit (for example, helping students understand why the primary sources in history, sociology and ecology have markedly different styles of argument and types of evidence). In contrast, in courses that are solidly within a single discipline, the Fellows can introduce an interdisciplinary perspective, revealing what other disciplines bring to the topic and revealing, for example, how bringing more disciplines to bear can help make the focal discipline’s work more broadly relevant to society at large. In both cases, Fellows can also inject their direct research experiences, both on the Crossroads project and on their dissertations, into the classrooms.

 

The existing course or courses need to already have TA support—the deans will not provide new TA lines for existing courses. If multiple courses are used, they need to be offered in the same quarter (which will be the third quarter of the Crossroads project). The courses should be ones in which there is scope for the Fellows to inject new content, through activities such as assignments, topics for discussion or lab sections, and guest lectures. If the course is taught by someone who is not one of the Crossroads PIs, then the instructor needs to be part of the discussion of the potential pedagogical innovations, and the instructor should indicate their support for the project.

 

Any new courses should have a broad audience—the Deans have indicated that they will be particularly supportive of new general education courses. The projected enrollment should be large enough to warrant the 3-5 (depending on the number of Fellows) new TAships, according to the standards of the department(s) in which the course will be offered. For establishing new GE courses, we recommend consulting with the relevant divisional deans to ensure that this fits within their vision, as well as with Linda Adler-Kassner, the Interim Co-Dean of Undergraduate Education in Letters & Science, who can provide concrete advice on the mechanics of establishing a new GE course.


Fellow Selection – who are optimal Fellows / how do we involve them as TAs?

To be successful, the Fellow should have a genuine interest in interdisciplinary scholarship as well as in the particular topic, and should want to become an effective teacher. We recommend using some sort of application process to elicit these interests. Projects in which students have been assigned fellowships simply because they needed support have been less successful.

 

The ideal timing for a student to participate in a Crossroads project is when they are developing their dissertation proposal/prospectus, as they can incorporate inspirations from the project into their dissertation plan. Some projects have also successfully used first-year students; in at least one case, the prospect of participating in the Crossroads project was an important recruiting tool. More advanced students who are fully immersed in dissertation research/writing on topics unrelated to the Crossroads project tend to do less well, as they find the project to be a time burden that distracts from their dissertation work.

 

The Fellows will be receiving general pedagogical training in GRAD 210, including modules on disciplines & interdisciplinarity and on bringing research into the classroom. Nevertheless, the Fellows gain the most from the teaching experience if you fully involve them as junior colleagues in the design and implementation of the pedagogical innovations (see Advice from Prior Faculty). Thus, you should plan to spend some time in the second project quarter talking about the planned innovations, and ensure that the implementation and evaluation of the innovations are included as topics in TA meetings during the teaching quarter.