A Freshman Perspective

Written by student worker Nick Golden, Class of 2016.

Phew! It’s been a fast couple of weeks into my first year of college now, and what a few weeks it has been. From midterms to activities and clubs, Tufts has been an experience and a half. Nothing, however, has really captured my attention as much as the ExCollege. The ExCollege was one of the main draws for my applying to Tufts as well as for my eventual decision to attend the school. I found the possibility for students to teach unique courses as well as the wide variety of visiting lecturers a uniquely potent program that Tufts had to offer its students. As a freshman, I’ve been lucky enough to participate in the ExCollege in multiple ways.

Over the summer, the freshmen had the opportunity to choose if they would like to take an advising course, and, excited as I was, I spotted a course called “The Role of Rising Powers in the International Order,” an Explorations course taught by seniors that would not only teach about the unique material but also inform the freshmen taking the class on how to manage all the possible trials and opportunities of the first semester of college. The course invites open discussion at the same time as it provides a place for freshmen to debate and find counsel from experienced and qualified students who represent some of Tufts’ best and brightest. From my experience in taking this class, and seeing hearing about others, I can tell that more ExCollege classes are in my future.

At the same time, I have also had the luck to work at the ExCollege itself, as a student assistant. Seeing the ExCollege from the inside has been a fascinating experience. The number and breadth of courses that people of all walks of life apply to teach give the great people at the ExCollege the ability to really decipher which courses, with the help of student and faculty reviewers, will best educate and invigorate the student body of the school. From courses on superheroes in American media to investigatory journalism to public policy and science-fiction, the possibilities are virtually endless.

Altogether, the ExCollege has become a prime fixture of the first few weeks of my college experience. It seems to touch on so much of what I’ve done, am doing, and seek to do. I don’t know a lot about where the rest of my experience at Tufts will go, but what I do know is that I can tell that the ExCollege will play a part in it.

The Express: Weekly Updates from the ExCollege


Friday, October 5, 2012 

Applications, Applications, and Even More Applications

Today is the day: Visiting Lecturer applications are due! The stack of applications grows higher and higher on our desk. The sheer number of creative course ideas that flow into our office makes our minds spin. Even after almost 50 years, the proposals maintain a high level of originality, very thought-provoking content, and clear expertise on the part of the applicants.

 The student workers continue to pump all of this information into our database so that we can prepare for the upcoming interviews and final reviews. Out of these mountains of proposals, our spring courses await their discovery!

To find our spring courses, we rely on the input of both faculty members and students! Keep reading to learn how to get involved in the selection process!

 Get Involved!

With the busy season upon us, it is time for you to become involved in the ExCollege! We rely on input from students and faculty when selecting courses for upcoming semesters.

So volunteer on one of our subcommittees! Each subcommittee consists of 1 faculty member and 2 students. The subcommittees interview 4 to 6 excited applicants, and the time commitment is only 3 hours total between 10/29 and 11/9.

So if talking with a cool faculty member, a fellow Jumbo, and an exuberant applicant (all while helping out the ExCollege!) sounds like the perfect way to spend 3 hours, then volunteer now! Email rebekah.stiles@tufts.edu to receive a volunteer form.

As always, call us at 617-627-3384, email us at excollege@tufts.edu, or drop by 95 Talbot Ave. with any questions!

The Half Century Mark

In a mere 18 months (April 2014!), the ExCollege turns 50! 50 years of experimenting on the Hill, enriching the undergraduate experience and curriculum, and bringing together the greater Boston and Tufts communities. Explore the ExCollege’s history during the upcoming months as we gear up for our 50th anniversary. We will be posting interesting tidbits on Facebook, Twitter, our Blog, this e-newsletter, and more! Be sure to also check out the ExCollege’s most monumental historic events now added to our Facebook timeline.

In the Classroom

Did you happen to spot two groups of freshmen running around campus this past week? They may have been the students in Kerry Eaton’s and Sabrina Gordon’s Explorations course “The Impact of Social Media. Kerry and Sabrina gave their students the task of completing a scavenger hunt, with the catch being that one group received the use of one iPhone while the other group was forbidden to use any technological resource.

As the students rushed around campus, the team with the iPhone completed the tasks (ranging from scoping out the number of treadmills in the gym to finding the hours for Carmichael Dining Hall) more quickly and easily than the team banished from technology. However, the team that got their workout running up and down and all around the Hill without the iPhone interacted much more with each other and with the people around campus. Kerry and Sabrina chose to complete this exercise to showcase that the amount of information available to us 24/7 through the use of a smartphone can hinder our interactions with other people.

Did you know…

Computer Science courses began in the ExCollege back in 1968. The Computer Science Department is now a popular and thriving part of Tufts, with 35 students graduating in 2011 with a degree in Computer Science.

Around Campus

With the halfway mark to the semester quickly approaching, do not forget to take advantage of the events held around campus! With guest speakers, special luncheons, conferences, and more all being a part of the Hill’s dynamic atmosphere, everyone will find something to excite them. Keep reading for information about two upcoming events!

  • Interested in understanding the ways in which we can actively work toward social and racial justice? Attend “An Evening with Mel King” on Wednesday, October 10th!

Mel King stands as a crucial member of the great-Boston community. His roles as a teacher, youth worker, state representative, historic mayoral candidate, and more all reflect his importance in the community development movement in Boston. Come hear King speak on Wednesday, October 10th at 6pm in Alumnae Lounge! Admission is free. Check out the Tufts events page for more information.

  • Passionate about global health issues? Then watch next week’s Friedman Seminar Series!

The Friedman Seminar Series will feature Roger Thurow, award-winning journalist for the Wall Street Journal and now Senior Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, in a seminar titled The Last Hunger Season: A Year in an African Farm Community on the Brink of Change. The talk will be live webcast beginning at 12:15pm on Wednesday, October 10th. Register on Wednesday through the Friedman School’s website to watch the live webcast.