Frequently Asked Questions: Teaching at MSA

  1. What are the daily responsibilities of an MSA teacher?
    • Days at MSA are busy. Each scholar has a major class and a minor class. Major classes are 3 hours each morning, while minor classes are 2 hours each day after lunch. Minor classes consist of 1 hour of course content and 1 hour of our common curriculum called Cor: Personal and Social Dynamics (see below). In addition to these classes, MSA hosts multiple afternoon and evening programs every day. While many are optional for faculty, some programming during this time is required. These expectations will be clearly explained during pre-Academy training in April and early June (see below).
  2. What makes teaching at MSA different from other schools and programs?
    • MSA is unlike any other teaching environment. Faculty are given the creative freedom to teach their content in novel and exciting ways. Scholars often say their MSA classes are unlike anything they have ever experienced back home. As an academic enrichment program for top-achieving Missouri high schoolers, faculty are able to push their classes in challenging new directions.
  3. How big are classes at MSA?
    • Classes at MSA are anywhere from 14-18 students. Scholars cannot take a major and minor with the same faculty member, so each of your classes will have a unique group of scholars.
  4. Will I have a chance to take my scholars outside of the classroom?
    • Yes! There are many opportunities to get out of the classroom with your scholars. We use university vans to shuttle classes to sites around Mizzou and Columbia. Faculty are also encouraged to use university resources, including computer labs and campus offices, to take trips that do not require transportation.
  5. Are there any responsibilities outside of teaching my major and/or minor classes?
    • In addition to your minor content, the latter hour of afternoon class consists of a universal curriculum called Cor: Personal and Social Dynamics (PSD) co-taught with an MSA resident assistant. There are also a handful of required evening programs throughout the Academy, as well as important “all-hands-on-deck” events including Move-In Day, Parent Day, and Teacher Appreciation Day. These obligations will be clearly explained during MSA training.
  6. Will I be trained in the Cor:PSD curriculum and co-facilitation?
    • Yes! There will be Cor: PSD training activities during our April and June training sessions. Faculty will be given the Cor:PSD curriculum in April to familiarize themselves with the lessons prior to the start of the Academy. There is also a Cor:PSD coordinator who is happy to address any questions or concerns during the Academy.
  7. Are there substitute teachers at MSA?
    • Outside of illness, MSA is not able to accommodate faculty absence during the Academy. If you plan to teach for MSA, it is vital you commit to every day of our three-week program, in addition to our June training preceding scholar move-in.
  8. Are there opportunities to interact with scholars who are not in my classes?
    • Yes! In addition to your major and/or minor classes, faculty have opportunities to interact with scholars throughout the day, including mealtimes, during afternoon downtime, and at evening programs. It is not uncommon to see faculty playing chess or Uno with scholars in the lobby of Mark Twain Residence Hall or discussing topics of interest at lunch or dinner “table talks.”
  9. Will I have downtime?
    • Yes. While faculty are encouraged to attend afternoon and evening programs, we all need some time to ourselves. Many evening programs are optional. Weekends are also lighter than the typical weekday. Faculty only teach one class on Saturdays and have no class obligations on Sundays.
  10. I do not live in Columbia. Can I still teach for MSA?
    • Of course! Faculty come from all over the state. Out-of-town faculty live in campus housing within walking distance of Mark Twain Residence Hall and their classrooms.
  11. That’s great, but will I ever get to go home?
    • While traveling home during the week is difficult, there are opportunities on weekends to return home. Faculty are provided a schedule of required activities prior to the Academy so they can plan trips home, if necessary.   
  12. Is travel to and from home reimbursed by MSA?
    • Travel is not reimbursed by MSA.
  13. Will I need a car while at MSA?
    • Faculty do not need a car while at MSA. There is no required travel during the Academy and faculty with cars are more than happy to help out if you need to go somewhere! Many faculty bring bikes if you want a quicker way to get around campus.
  14. I live in Columbia. Will I be able to park on campus during MSA?
    • Yes. MSA provides parking in the Mark Twain Residence Hall parking lot for the duration of training and Academy programming. Mobility accommodations for parking closer to academic buildings is also available.
  15. How much does an MSA faculty member make?
    • Faculty teaching both a major and minor make $5000. Faculty teaching either a major or minor make $2500. Payment is dispersed at the end of June.
  16. Do I have a classroom budget for needed materials?
    • A reasonable budget for instructional materials is available for the Academy. Faculty members must submit requests for instructional materials and equipment in advance.
  17. What if I need a specific type of classroom?
    • Faculty will receive a link for classroom requests in the spring. This is when faculty can request specific technology, workspace types (desks v. tables), etc. While we cannot accommodate every request, we do our best to meet the needs of our faculty.
  18. Is my family welcome at MSA?
    • Absolutely. Partners, kids, grandkids, etc are more than welcome to visit during MSA!  
  19. This all sounds great! When do my responsibilities as a faculty member begin?
    • One weekend in April is reserved for our all-staff Spring Training. This date will be communicated early in the spring. Out of town faculty move into faculty housing on the Wednesday before MSA begins, leading into three days (Thursday through Saturday) of pre-Academy June Training. On Sunday, the magic happens!