Dean of Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd introduced the American Council for Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship program to faculty members at their monthly meeting last week.

The ACLS fellowship program was started by the Mellon Foundation as a means to identify exceptional humanities scholars who have recently completed graduate school and place them in two-year positions at higher education institutions.

"The ACLS, through a very extended process, identified 53 fellows in the program," said Judd.

Of the 53 fellows, four have been identified by Bowdoin and will be interviewed for positions at the College in select humanities departments, including Art History and Classics. In reviewing potential fellows, letters of recommendation, research and writing samples, and a meeting with Bowdoin students and faculty members will all be taken into consideration.

All potential fellows will be reviewed to evaluate how well mutual needs can be met. Candidates will make their final decisions after positions have been offered in early March.

"We are part of another postdoctoral program called Consortium for Faculty Diversity and we have those fellows on campus right now. We are in the process of interviewing four fellows for next year," Judd said.

Although Bowdoin is pursuing four candidates, the candidates may choose to decline an offer from the College. Candidates are being interviewed by other institutions in addition to Bowdoin and may receive multiple job offers from which they must choose one placement.

In any event, Judd described the ACLS program as "one of those programs I can describe as win-win" that "adds resources at a very low cost to the institution".

She explained that the Mellon Foundation set salaries for the fellows and the College agreed to the cost breakdown prior to entering what she described as a "national competition" for post-graduate scholars. The College will cover one-quarter of the program's total costs and the Mellon Foundation will be responsible for the remaining three-quarters.

According to Judd, the added cost is worth the investment.

"If we bring a fellow, it will enrich our curriculum by the courses that these fellows offer," she said.

Associate Professor of Classics Jennifer Kosak echoed this sentiment when she explained that the classics department is looking for a fellow who can cover courses usually taught by a professor planning to go on sabbatical next year.

Of the 53 candidates identified by the Mellon Foundation, four are Classiscs scholars; Bowdoin has requested an interview with two of the four.

"It was a very competitive process," but the competition has yielded successful and promising fellows, according to Kosak.

"The people who have applied and received this scholarship are outstanding scholars," Kosak said, and would positively affect the Classics department at Bowdoin with their "fresh perspective" and "new research."

Because the program is postdoctoral, Judd explained that a fellow would teach only three courses. This arrangement will allow enough time to both continue their research and teach.

While the College will benefit from the knowledge and experience of new fellows, the fellows will also benefit in several ways as well-especially by gaining job security in a tough market, according to both Kosak and Judd.

Judd added that in addition to job security, fellows will have the opportunity to research and teach at Bowdoin, an "excellent environment in which to begin" one's journey after graduate school.

A fellow will gain from "experience in the classroom and mentorship from faculty at Bowdoin who are really extraordinary teachers," added Judd.

-Will Jacob contributed to this report.