Presidential Scholars Program University Administrative Fellowship

Program Design & Development University Administrative Fellow

Start Date | TBD

The Presidential Scholars Program (PSP), housed in the Office of the Dean of the College (ODOC), is seeking a Program Design & Development University Administrative Fellow (UAF) for the 2019-20 academic year, with possible continuation through summer 2020. The PSP is a new Ph.D. resource and readiness program for students from underserved populations in academia--including first-generation college students, low-income students, students of color, and women of all class and racialized backgrounds in disciplines in which they have been historically underrepresented. Undergraduates in PSP will participate in three years of workshops, courses, undergraduate research opportunities, and personalized advising designed to prepare them to pursue PhDs and enter the professoriate. The PSP is a partnership of Princeton University, Rutgers University, and The College of New Jersey, with cohorts on all five campuses and the Princeton team serving as the central staff for the program. It will launch in fall 2019 and host its first cohorts on Princeton’s campus in summer 2020.


We envision five potential projects for a UAF. Because PSP is a new program, actual work may ultimately include elements of any one or more of the projects described below. The project is also likely to transform over time according to the needs of the program and the interests of the UAF.

Curricular and Programmatic Design


What curricular and programmatic design will most effectively meet established student learning objectives for PSP? Why do we anticipate that programming will be effective?

The three-year undergraduate Scholar experience in PSP will include summer and academic-year programming focusing on academic research, argumentation, writing, presentation, and application skills. Scholars will also engage in regular workshops designed to teach them to plan strategically, manage their time effectively, and build relationships intentionally. We hope that they will graduate the program able to navigate power structures in academic institutions and communicate in a variety of contexts. A UAF working on this project would collaborate with PSP directors at all of the partner institutions to develop a detailed schedule and curriculum of weekly workshops for the program, beginning by designing Scholars’ first summer and academic year. This work may also include developing training and support materials for future graduate students, postdocs, and faculty members who will serve as research mentors.

Student Development


How do we best support students from underserved populations through an academic application writing process?

The program will enter its first student application period in spring 2020. As part of PSP’s aims in the area of student development, a UAF working on this project will consult with prospective student applicants on all five campuses to offer guidance in drafting and revising strong application materials. A UAF in this position may have the opportunity to continue on as an advisor for student writing, and other areas of student academic and personal development, during the first PSP summer program on Princeton’s campus in June and July 2020.

Higher Education Research and Assessment


How do class and racialized inequities persist in the professoriate? What interventions have made a difference, and why are they successful? How can we best measure the impacts of PSP on program participants, in particular before the first cohort arrives at the PhD stage? How do we demonstrate outcomes not easily captured by metrics?

The PSP was initiated in the context of a national conversation about the composition of the professoriate. In order to introduce PSP--and the philosophies and efforts behind it--into that conversation, the program staff and participants will benefit from a strong and complex understanding of existing literature on “diversity, equity, and inclusion” in academia. A UAF working in this area would design a research project that engaged with scholarship in the field of higher education to answer questions about how class, gender, and racialized inequities persist in the professoriate; what types of interventions have made major differences in this area; and why those interventions have been effective. This project would also include working with PSP directors at all of the partner institutions to design an assessment strategy for the program, as well as submitting prospective assessment materials to the Institutional Review Board for approval. 



How do we attract program participants in various roles?

Successful recruitment for PSP will depend on our ability to disseminate a compelling message about the value of this new program and its long-term aim of diversifying the professoriate. Audiences include potential student applicants, faculty members, staff members, and students’ families. A Communications UAF would work with PSP directors on all of the campuses, and consult with Communications staff at Princeton, to develop digital and print media content for those various audiences. This work may include web design, graphic design, video production, and the creation and management of the program’s social media presence.

Program Administration


How do we efficiently and effectively manage a partnership across campuses with distinct institutional needs and cultures?

The PSP will operate on a consortium model, with all five institutions maintaining administrative and other responsibilities for the program’s success. This will involve managing communication and expectations as we establish the program across campuses. Current work to that end includes crafting a budget for the program, working with representatives at the partner institutions to design their staffing structures for PSP, and drafting a memorandum of understanding for the program and its operations at all five schools. A UAF in this area may choose to participate in any one or more of those efforts, along with organizing information sessions during the PSP recruitment period in the spring, and providing other forms of administrative support.



Afia Ofori-Mensa, Director of PSP, will serve as the UAF mentor. Dr. Ofori-Mensa earned her BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and her MA and PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. She held postdoctoral fellowships at Oberlin College before going on to serve as an Assistant Professor, Director of Undergraduate Research, and an Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences at Oberlin. Dr. Ofori-Mensa’s academic work focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first-century narratives and popular culture of communities of color in the United States of America. Her research examines relationships among race, gender, and US national identity through a focus on beauty pageantry. Dr. Ofori-Mensa’s administrative work focuses on student academic development, institutional change in higher education, and creating communities of care to center populations that are otherwise underserved.



Please submit a résumé or CV to James M. Van Wyck ( sends e-mail)), along with a cover letter that indicates which project(s) are of interest to you. Be sure to articulate how that choice aligns with skills that you have or would like to develop. If you are interested in the Communications project, please submit 2-3 samples of work (text, images, sound) of any length that you have produced for print, digital, or social media. If you do not have any such work available, you may also produce 2-3 samples (press release, webpage content, event announcement) for PSP to submit with your application.