For the past two and a half months our staff here at the ExCollege has been eagerly anticipating today. Why, you might ask? Today is the deadline for visiting lecturer proposal applications! It’s the day when we get to see what exciting topics various people have come up with to teach to our Tufts undergrads. Here is a sampling of some course titles that I’ve seen so far today: “Protecting Your Rights with the Constitution and a Computer”, “Eros of the Impossible”, “Lady Gaga: The Art of Performance and Fame”, and “The Catholic Church in Nicaragua”. Needless to say we have quite a variety of topics to choose from! While we do a lot of interesting things here at the ExCollege, getting to see the different topics that are proposed each semester is definitely the highlight of working here.
The other interesting aspect of today is that there is an element of surprise to the whole application process. We have no idea how many proposals we are going to be receiving each semester, and we also have no idea what course topics will come our way. So along with the excitement of finding out what topics have been proposed, there is also a sigh of relief on the part of our staff when we did indeed receive proposals! As our work-study students enter all of the proposals into our database, we now start the next step in the application process: getting faculty feedback! Once we organize all of the proposals, Robyn, the director of the ExCollege, looks over them and then she decides which relevant faculty members should review the proposal and provide their feedback. This is a crucial aspect of the process because it helps us find out if there are any overlaps with already existing courses being offered in other departments at Tufts. At the same time, it also helps us get a sense of the strength of each proposal. Since we aren’t experts in every field of study (although we wish we were!) having the help of faculty who are familiar with these various subjects is a huge part of this entire process. We truly wouldn’t be able to pick such great courses without the help of the Tufts faculty! As we continue through the process of choosing courses for Fall 2012, check back to our blog as we continue updating you all on what we’re doing and how everything is going!