Our Core Values
We believe, first and foremost, in learning. The development of our students, teachers, and staff, both intellectually and as people, is at the center of everything that we do.
Our students learning is our top priority. We’re pushing our students to have deep conversations about the most important things that have been thought and said. Some of these conversations are difficult; we believe in taking them on because they’re often the most important.
Through this work, our teachers develop as teachers, scholars, researchers, professionals, and people. More than anything else, they develop skills communicating their ideas to individuals outside of their field of study and making a compelling case that their research matters. In short, we expect them to return to their universities in the fall as stronger PhD candidates all around.
In working with our students and our teachers, our staff has an embarrassment of riches. We learn so much from our teachers’ courses, their teaching practice, and their conversations with students and with us. What we get to learn is the very best part of this job.
We are committed to anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-xenophobic, and anti-discriminatory work. We believe that the US education system must change to achieve equity. We believe that given the right opportunities and support, all students can thrive at the highest levels of learning.
We affirm our students' identities. We take oppression, individual and global, as an object of study to be analyzed and dismantled.
We push our teachers to create 'problem-posing' courses and we train them to be culturally responsive pedagogues who use a deep understanding of students’ identities and perspectives to engage students in the course.
As staff, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. As an organization, we stand in solidarity with oppressed individuals and groups, particularly with identities that our students and teachers share.
Our commitment to diversity in recruiting & selecting applicants:
We are committed to bringing doctoral candidates of different races, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, physical abilities, genders, sexual orientations, and religious beliefs to teach our students. We are also committed to enlisting the broadest range of universities and academic disciplines to work with us. Part of the argument that we’re making to students is that the most rigorous college classrooms are places where they can thrive and succeed. We make that argument when our teachers hold students to the intellectual expectations of the college classrooms at the research universities where they teach and study. When our teachers share the racial or economic background of our students, that argument is made even stronger. Therefore, we place an additional focus on recruiting doctoral candidates of color and from low-income backgrounds.
Respect for Work
We work hard; our students and our teachers do too. We value this work and believe that work should be rewarded and, whenever possible, compensated. We also make decisions based on the feedback and input of those doing the direct teaching work of our program.
We’re pushing students to work at the highest possible level. We value their hard work and we celebrate their struggle and effort. While we know that our students are inspiring and we take a lot of pride in sharing their work, we won’t cross the line to exploiting their hard work, personalities, or narratives in promoting our program.
While incredibly rewarding, our teachers do a difficult and unlucrative job. Still, we try to establish the best possible working conditions for their teaching work. We believe that teaching is hard work and is work that should be adequately compensated. While we know that our teachers are the best representatives for our work, we won’t cross the line to exploiting their hard work, personalities, or narratives in promoting our program.
As an organization, we’re building toward sustainable, paid staff positions. We know that this is key to recruiting and retaining the most excellent diverse staff. We value all of the work that people do that goes into our organization and we believe that work should be adequately compensated.
Without strong partnerships with programs and communities we won't achieve anything. We're proud of the unique opportunity we bring to these partnerships, but we recognize that we're only one part of our students' lives, the communities in which we work, and a larger movement for educational equity. Therefore, we seek to build the strongest partnerships with programs and communities to maximize what we all can accomplish.
We're honored that the families, programs, and communities trust us with their students. We take that trust seriously and do our absolute best to do right by them and their students.
Our teachers work as part of an existing team at their program. We train them to see themselves wearing a jersey and not a cape. They are often new to the communities in which they're living and we orient our teachers to build the strongest ties with the community for the summer.
Our staff works in partnership with the staff at our partner programs to set a coordinated vision for student success. As an organization, we try our best not to manage our supporters’ generous contributions responsible. When we do purchase goods or services, it's with local businesses and individuals in the communities in which we work.