Gaudino Scholar

At this time, The Gaudino Fund is not currently accepting applications for the Gaudino Scholar role. This appointment will next be available for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2026.

Tenured members of the faculty and senior lecturers are invited to apply for the position of Gaudino Scholar. This appointment is coming available for a three-year term from July 1, 2023 through June 30, 2026.


The Gaudino Scholar is appointed by the President in consultation with the Gaudino Fund Board and the Dean of the Faculty. Selection is not based on seniority but rather on commitment to the core goals of the Gaudino Fund. Other factors include the impact on department or program staffing.


Proposals for the Scholar position are not currently being accepted at this time. 

When applications reopen, applicants will be asked to submit a brief statement of interest to the Dean of the Faculty. A subset of the applicants will be invited to meet with the Chair(s) of the Gaudino Board. Finalists will then be asked to prepare a longer statement of interests and to meet with representatives from the Board. The full statement should outline a three-year plan for programming starting in the fall of 2026 and include the applicant’s vision for the three-year period. 

For example:

  • How does Gaudino’s vision resonate for you?
  • How would you use your term as Scholar to enhance or augment uncomfortable and experiential learning at Williams?
  • Why is this opportunity attractive to you, personally, at this time?
  • What are the potential lasting contributions of your proposed activities to promoting dialogue that leads to enhanced self-knowledge?



Robert L. Gaudino, trained as a political philosopher at the University of Chicago, was a professor of political science at Williams from 1955 until his premature passing in 1974. A beloved teacher, he challenged both students and colleagues to “uncomfortable learning” in the classroom, in interactions outside the classroom, and in the experiential education programs (somewhat controversial at the time) that he established for Williams students in India and in other parts of the U.S. The cornerstone of Gaudino’s educational theory of uncomfortable learning was that there could be no education without intellectual and emotional change, and that the College should “actively promote a range of experiences that have the creative potential to unsettle and disturb.” In Gaudino’s view, it is through such encounters, and through thoughtful reflection and dialogue about them – both internally with oneself and in conversation with others – that profound learning can take place that challenges our assumptions and convictions, enlarges our understanding, and deepens our humanity.

The Gaudino Fund was established by Professor Gaudino’s students and friends after his death to perpetuate his legacy of reflection on uncomfortable and experiential learning. This learning process, nurtured both inside and outside the classroom, involves an ideology-free reflection on one’s own assumptions and experience, deep self-questioning, and empathy for distinct human realities quite different from one’s own.


The Gaudino Scholar will be appointed for a term of three years. This is a period of focused attention on programming and is therefore normally scheduled to include six semesters of active service.

The fellowship provides an annual stipend of $5,000 plus a single course release each year. 


The Scholar is expected to: 

  1. develop a program or series of activities for students, staff, faculty and the community that:

    • enhance the intellectual vibrancy of the campus
    • foster academic and pedagogical innovations within the curriculum, particularly those that encourage students to take more risks and greater responsibility for their own education and to challenge the quasi-instinctive assumptions of the dominant opinions and practices in the academic, political, social, economic, religious, or social domains
    • encourage dialogue and critical reflection, rather than one-sided presentation of a single view-point
    • stimulate debate about the liberal arts enterprise and the Williams experience itself, from curricular reform to the meaning of citizenship
  2. seek to facilitate the development of experiential learning situations that support learning through the experience of confrontation with the self and with others, on and off campus, thereby promoting affective with intellectual change. This includes administering the WS Gaudino travel fellowship and mentoring the student Fellows through regular conversations via phone or Skype.
  3. work with the Chair of the Gaudino Fund Board of Trustees to organize the biannual meetings (one weekend each in fall and spring) of the Board, including reports at each meeting on the financial status of the Fund
  4. report at least once each year to the Board and, through a newsletter, to the 1400+ members of the Gaudino alumni list, about the programming and other activities supported by the Fund.


Tenured members of the faculty and Senior Lecturers, from all departments and programs.