The Express!

Join the ExCollege Board!

The ExCollege is beginning the search for new students to join its Board! The ExCollege Board consists of 5 Tufts faculty members as well as 5 current Tufts students. The ExCollege Board meets once a month and works toward setting policy, selecting new courses for each semester, planning campus events, and developing new initiatives for the ExCollege. Get a glimpse into the current ExCollege Board by reading our faculty and student Board members’ biographies!


If you are interested or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the ExCollege at 617-627-3384, email us at, or drop by our office at 95 Talbot Avenue! The application is available on our website, and all applications are due Friday, February 22nd.

Did You Know…

The ExCollege Board included student members soon after convening for the first time, breaking from previous traditions. By the spring of 1966, the student board members were given full voting rights. It was also at the suggestion of a student board member that the ExCollege invited its first Visiting Lecturer to teach at Tufts in 1968.

Teach at Tufts: Explorations and Perspectives

Have you ever wanted to design a class, mentor first-year students, and become a part of a tight-knit community at Tufts? Apply to be a part of the Explorations or Perspectives program! These programs allow rising juniors and seniors to co-teach a course in addition to advising a group of first-year students through orientation and their first semester on the Hill.

The Explorations program allows leaders to select a topic about which they feel passionate or have an expertise and create a 13-week syllabus. The Perspectives program focuses around a shared topic area, the ‘Movies’ as Business, Art, and Culture. Perspectives leaders do decide on the approaches they will use to teach their class. The Explorations program is coordinated by Director Robyn Gittleman, and the Perspectives program is run by Associate Director Howard Woolf.


Read up on the FAQs for Explorations and Perspectives, and download the application! A GIM for all interested students of both programs will take place Friday, February 1st at 2pm in the conference room of our office, 95 Talbot Avenue.

Registration Continues!

Registration for all ExCollege (and Tufts courses) will continue until Thursday, January 31st at 5pm. There is still time to add that perfect class! Spots remain open in these ExCollege classes:

  • EXP-0002-S The Ethnography of Religious Communities, Tuesdays from 6-8:30pm in Olin 107 (This course has been approved by the Religion department to count for Humanities distribution credit. You can reach the instructor at
  • EXP-0032-S Sexual Wellness on College Campuses, Thursdays from 6-8:30pm in Aidekman 13 (Review the preliminary syllabus here.)
  • EXP-0060-S Authoritarianism in the Age of the Internet, Tuesdays from 6:30-9pm in Barnum 114 (This course will count toward the Mass Communications and Media Studies minor as a Social Sciences elective.)
  • EXP-0061-S Enemies and Neighbors: Israeli and Palestinian Fiction, Wednesdays from 6-8:30pm in Barnum 114 (Review the preliminary syllabus here.)

You can find the full Spring 2013 course listings on our main website, and register on SIS today!


Taste of Tufts: A Sampling of Faculty Research

Taste of Tufts is back for the spring! Meet your favorite professors as well as new Tufts instructors from across the Hill as they discuss their latest research. The first sampling of faculty research will take place one week from today! Sam Sommers, Psychology Department, will speak on Friday, February 1st from 12pm to 1pm, at Pearson 106. Save the date and keep reading for the preliminary Spring 2013 Taste of Tufts schedule!

  • February 8: Ken Garden, Religion
  • February 15: TBA
  • February 22: Anthony Monaco, President
  • March 1: Mary Davis, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
  • March 8: TBA
  • March 29 Ayanna Thomas, Psychology
  • April 5: Ben Hescott, Computer Science
  • April 12: Noe Montez, Drama and Dance
  • April 19: David Harris, Provost

All Taste of Tufts gatherings will meet on Fridays from 12pm to 1pm and a light lunch will be served.


Do you want to win $500?

Tisch Library is currently on the hunt for submissions for the Undergraduate Research Award. This award recognizes outstanding use of library resources and the development of expertise in an exemplary research paper or project. Submissions can be made in the following categories:

  • The first-year writing program (ENG 1-4 or any course taken to fulfill the college writing requirement)
  • 001-099 level courses
  • 100-200 level courses

Each category will name one student winner and recipient of $500. The runner-up in each category will receive $250. That is enough (and more!) to foot your Tower Café bill for your next research endeavor! Check out the full description and nitty-gritty details on the Tisch website.


Stay updated on all things ExCollege

Like tweeting, posting to Facebook, and blogging? So do we! Be sure to catch up with us online to stay on top of the latest ExCollege news.


Around Campus

Don’t be afraid to brave the cold for some amazing music events taking place around campus this week. Put on that extra scarf, wear gloves under your mittens, and head over to Granoff and Goddard! You’ll be invigorated after your brief stint in the cold, and you’ll be even more ready to appreciate the music (and warmth!) that awaits you.

  • Support an important cause by attending Singing for Sudan!

Singing for Sudan is a benefit concert taking place in Goddard at 7pm on Saturday, January 26th. The suggested donation is $5, and proceeds will go to the Yida Refugee Camp. The concert will feature The Amalgamates, The Jackson Jills, the Ladies of Essence, S-Factor, Barbara Florvil, and Patrick Kabanda. Don’t miss out on this great event presented by the Chaplaincy and the Africana Center. Check out the Facebook event page!

  • Immerse yourself in the music of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East!

Mal Barsamian, performance faculty member, will take over Distler in Granoff this Sunday, January 27th to feature the music of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. Barsamian will be accompanied by percussionist Jay Baronian and will feature works by composers of Armenian, Turkish, and Arab descent. This installment of the Community Concert Series will run from 3pm to 5pm. Mark it on your calendar!

The Express!

Friday, December 7: The Last Express of the Semester

Be a part of the ExCollege!

If you have ever wanted to command a classroom, think about joining either the Explorations or Perspectives freshmen seminar programs as a Peer Leader! Our Peer Leaders co-teach a seminar, lead their students through orientation, and act as student advisors during the fall semester. Going abroad in the spring but still want to teach in the fall? Our application is available on our website and can be submitted online! Check out the FAQs about Explorations and Perspectives, and download the application today.

Gearing up for the spring!

Despite the warm weather still months away, we over here at the ExCollege have already set our sights on the upcoming semester. Since the deadline for spring course proposals on October 5, our office has worked to whittle through the pile to bring Tufts students the very best ExCollege offerings for next semester. The ExCollege Board will come together for a daylong meeting next week to finalize what 22 courses will claim both a classroom and room full of Tufts students. A preliminary list of spring classes will be listed on our website on December 14.

Registration for all ExCollege courses begins at 9am on the first day of spring semester classes, Wednesday, January 16. All Wednesday ExCollege courses will begin the night of January 16!

Stay updated on all things ExCollege

Like Facebook, Twitter, and blogging? So do we! Be sure to catch up with us online to stay on top of the latest ExCollege news.

Semester in Review

When the temperature drops and students huddle in Tisch cubicles with caffeine in one hand and a textbook in the other, you know the end of the semester is near. As the ExCollege wraps up another semester, we took the time to reminisce about the past four months. The ExCollege tackled some major milestones this fall:

  • Welcoming in and training 30 new Perspectives and Explorations Leaders
  • Beginning preparation for our 50th Anniversary (April 2014—mark your calendars!)
  • Creating a brand new database to digitize the course proposal reading process
  • Reaching out to Admissions to create ExCollege videos and articles for the Admissions website and magazine
  • Planning and running the Election Night Extravaganza 2012
  • Supporting 23 phenomenal Visiting Lecturer courses
  • Watching Howard Woolf’s film premiere of Marranos
  • Holding the first ever Perspectives Olympics

Phew! This long list certainly kept us busy this semester, and after we take a quick moment to inhale, our office will continue to put together the course offerings for the spring semester. To check out pictures and descriptions of our fall events, head over to our Facebook album!

In the Classroom

Instructor A. David Lewis and his class “Religion and the Graphic Novel” invited artist JT Waldman, who worked with Harvey Pekar on the graphic novel “Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me,” to speak in their last class. Dave opened the discussion to both Tufts students not enrolled in his class and the entire online community! The Sequart Research and Literary Organization broadcasted the talk live, and Dave recently uploaded a full unedited version of JT Waldman’s talk at Tufts to YouTube! Stay tuned for Dave’s edited cut of the class.

Need a study break before diving head first into reading period? Attend the Comedy Night in Hotung, hosted and presented by the students of Steve Kapica’s “Analyzing Stand-up Comedy” class. These comedians will each give a five minute set to the crowd in Hotung. Stop by Hotung on Monday, December 10 to chortle with some friends, cheer on your peers, and celebrate the last day of fall semester classes! The event begins at 8:30pm and will run until 11pm.

And the winner is…

After an intense competition last Friday, the Sidekicks in Film class earned the right to call themselves the first ever champions of Perspectives Olympics! Despite the very close race among teams throughout the scavenger hunt, Scene It trivia game, and talent show, the Sidekicks class ultimately won and put on a great talent show performance with their take on the now classic Napoleon Dynamite dance.

To get a glimpse into the Games, take a look at the Twitter feed for #PerspectivesOlympics and scroll through the @ExCollege page for pictures collected along the scavenger hunt. All teams, Sports Movies (aka Team Denzel), Hollywood’s Army, Films of Genocide (aka Team Didn’t See Us Coming), and Sidekicks showed some great competitive spirit and made the first ever Perspectives Olympics a success!

Did You Know…

The first board of the ExCollege was composed of faculty members representing four different fields: engineering, social science, natural science, and humanities, with one member-at-large. Almost immediately after convening, the board broke from Tufts tradition by including students in the decision-making process of the college. By the spring of 1966, the board unanimously agreed that its four student members be given full voting rights.

Around Campus

Make sure to get your fill of all things Jumbo before heading off of the Hill for winter break! Scroll through full listings of the final events of the semester on both Tufts Events and TuftsLife. Keep reading for two great upcoming programs!

  • Love filmmaking? Watch the final film projects of the ‘Producing Films for Social Change’ class!

The Communications and Media Studies (CMS) Department will be holding this annual screening on Tuesday, December 11 at 7pm in Tisch 304. Support your peers and your friends as three groups of students present their final films! The films include The Receipt of Happiness, a film by Robert Collins, Grace Demyan, Jacob Passy, and Doug Stone, Finding Refuge, by Charmaine Poh, Maya Navon, and Annie Garau, and The Day After Tomorrow, by Ethan Freedman, Yijia Wang, and Gabriela Ros. For more details and insight into these films, head over to the CMS website and join the Facebook group!

  • Enjoy dance? Check out the end of the semester Kiniwe performance!

This year’s Kiniwe performance includes new choreography by director Nani Agbeli. The pieces represent strong connections to the Ewe tradition of Ghana. Follow your feet to the Distler Performance Hall on Sunday, December 9! Kiniwe begins at 8pm and runs until 10pm. Get more Kiniwe details on the Music Department website.

The Express! News & updates from the ExCollege.

Friday, November 30

Teach First Year Students!

Going away this spring but want to teach a Perspectives or Explorations first year student seminar next fall? You can access the application online from anywhere! Co-teach a course to gain valuable teaching experience, engage a room of first years each week, and get credit! Check out the FAQs for both Explorations and Perspectives, and email us at, call us at 617-627-3384, or even drop by our 95 Talbot Ave. office with any questions.

Spring Courses & Registration Begin January 16

The pile of course proposals on our desks slowly grows smaller and smaller as we work toward selecting spring classes! On December 11, the ExCollege Board will come together for a daylong meeting to finalize the course offerings for Spring 2013. Be on the lookout for the preliminary list of courses on our website! Updates regarding spring classes will be announced on Facebook, Twitter, and TuftsLife no later than Friday, December 14.

Once you’ve perused the latest ExCollege listings, be prepared to register on the first day of spring semester classes! ExCollege registration will begin promptly at 9am on Wednesday, January 16, and all Wednesday ExCollege classes will hold their first meetings on January 16.

Let the Games Begin!

With the end of the semester approaching, it’s time for extended stays in Tisch, a slight boost in caffeine consumption, and Perspectives Olympics. For the first time ever, five of the Perspectives freshmen seminars will come together in the Terrace Room for the Olympics. Competitors will race around campus on a scavenger hunt, play a few rousing rounds of Scene It, and showcase their skills during a talent show. The winning class will receive eternal bragging rights as the first ever champion of the Games. The winners will be announced in next week’s eXpress as well as on Facebook and Twitter!

TUTV’s latest hit

Earlier this week, TUTV released their latest scripted show. Only four days after its YouTube debut, the pilot of “My Gay Roommate” already has an impressive 24,000 views. The show features two new freshmen college roommates, and it portrays a light-hearted take on the relationship between a very straight and very flamboyantly gay pair. The show highlights some ridiculous situations encountered in their everyday lives and also tackles more heartfelt issues along the way. TUTV’s roots stem back to the ExCollege, and the organization is entirely student run! Check out the pilot episode and join the Facebook group!

In the Classroom

Rebecca Pearl-Martinez, co-instructor of the course Riding Tide: Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation, recently finished working as lead author on “The Art of Implementation: Gender Strategies Transforming Climate Change Decision Making.” The publication is available here and is based on Rebecca’s work with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on national climate change strategies in developing countries. Rebecca’s work will be launched at the global climate change negotiations being held in Doha this week!

Tom Nolan, instructor of Forensic Behavioral Analysis, was interviewed by Team 5 Investigates on October 26 to provide insight as both a professor of criminal justice and a former Boston police lieutenant into hazing allegations made toward the MBTA Transit Police Academy. Read the full article and watch the video on

Did You Know…

In 1988, Perspectives joined Explorations as a first year advising program in the ExCollege. This fall, there are six Perspectives classes—all grounded in the study of movies as culture—for freshmen students including Disney Animated Movies and Films of Genocide.

Around Campus

Only a few weeks stand between you and winter break. Don’t spend your last days on the Hill locked in Tisch! Be sure to work in some fun times at events being held all over campus. Procrastinate a little by working your way through TuftsLife and Tufts Events for full event listings, and keep reading for two upcoming event descriptions.

  • Get in the groove by heading over to the Tufts Choruses Holiday Concert!

Head over to Goddard for the Tufts Choruses Holiday Concert. Listen to your favorite holiday melodies sung by the Tufts Concert Choir and Chamber Singers under the direction of Jamie Kirsch. Mark your calendars for 4:30pm on Wednesday, December 5, and check out the Music Department’s events calendar for more details. Can’t go because of studying? No problem! Live stream the entire concert via the Music Department.

  • Want the full scoop on the relationship between agricultural policies and the environmental impacts of farms? Head over to the December TIE Talk!

The Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE) will feature Tim Griffin, Associate Professor and Director of the Agriculture, Food and Environmental Program of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, speaking on the correlations between nation-wide policies and the environmental impacts of farms. Don’t miss “Cash Cow? How Agricultural Policies Affects Farms’ Environmental Impact” on Wednesday, December 5, from 5pm – 6:30pm in the Miller Hall Event Space (next to the door to TIE at the former RezQuad Café)!

Exploring the Explorations Program

The Explorations program, run through the ExCollege, is one of the many exciting opportunities on the Tufts campus that allows you to share your interests and contribute to the active learning initiatives that are so strongly stressed in our greater educational goals. The program brings a pair of upperclassmen together to teach a classroom full of eager, excited, and intelligent Tufts first year students. As Explorations Leaders (the official title) you also serve as student advisers to the incoming freshman class.  My co-leader Laney and I taught our class, titled Sustainability Redefined: Lessons from Uganda, to fourteen incredibly unique and engaging first year students. We began the semester welcoming them to Tufts and helping them navigate the crowded dinning halls, sleepless dorms, the stressful process of registering on SIS and the growing pile of readings and problem sets. We then dove into our teaching topic and continued to serve as advisers throughout the semester.  We had students from California, Massachusetts, Nepal, Morocco, and India. Continue reading

ExCollege Social Media!

The ExCollege is now increasing it’s social media presence at Tufts!  With our newly revamped blog, Facebook page and new Twitter account we’re hoping to help provide you with an inside look at how everything works here at 95 Talbot Ave!  Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @ExCollege.  We’ll be having different members of the ExCollege community blogging about the various happenings and events going on here and we look forward to hearing from all of you!

First-year Seminar Leaders Boot Camp

Since last Wednesday night, the Explorations and Perspectives leaders have been in intensive training to get ready to teach their seminars for incoming first-year students. Check out some of the photos from our kick-off dinner.

Welcome Back, Explorations and Perspectives Leaders!

It’s an exciting day at the ExCollege…the upperclass students who are teaching Explorations and Perspectives seminars for first-year students start their training tonight with a kick-off dinner and inspiration from Steve Cohen, lecturer in the Education Department. Then they’ll go through intensive training for teaching and advising through next Tuesday, and next Wednesday, the first-year students arrive to start Orientation. Can you believe it?

Back from Houston!

A post from Ali Mehlsak:

So a few weeks ago Cindy mentioned that I was headed to Rice University in Houston for a conference. I promised a blog entry, and finally, here it is!

What to say first about my trip…Well, I left a clear, crisp forty-degree Boston morning for the muggy eighty-degree afternoon of Texas. In retrospect, not too shabby. (But like any New England native I do prefer my heat without the humidity.) I was in the good company of other non-Texans though, so we all managed together. There were representatives at the conference from Brown, James Madison, Pitt, UCLA, Berkely and Oberlin. We were all there to discuss our student-taught course programs, and though my trip was short (just 36 hours!) it was fabulous to trade ideas and lessons with the other schools. (Here at the ExCollege, our student-taught programs include Explorations, Perspectives and Peer Teaching.)

Of the many things I discovered at Rice, one of the most interesting was the fact that the ExCollege is unique in allowing our students to grade their own full-credit courses without faculty or administrative input. Not only do we truly trust our students with the responsibility of teaching and grading, but they live up to our high expectations and often receive wonderful course evaluations.

Throughout the course of the day-long conference, I found that no two programs were exactly alike. Each school put its own unique spin on the simple process of undergraduates teaching undergraduates. However, what did remain constant across the board was the enthusiasm that each school exuded for the concept. Students teaching students is just plain awesome.

My advice? Don’t miss out on your chance to take part in one of these programs while at Tufts!

What happened?

I haven’t blogged all week! What’s happening?

Well it’s been a little crazy around the ExCollege. Let’s see…we are finalizing the Explorations and Perspectives seminars for the fall (see below for a list), getting all of the application information together to make final selections for fall visiting lecturer courses (on our website by May 9), interviewing new Program Assistant candidates, presenting at Admissions Open Houses, helping our current lecturers wrap up their semesters and administer course evaluations, planning for our Faculty-Student Trivia Challenge, and more! Phew. I’ll try to post more next week.

In the meantime, here are the seminars for our two first-year programs — Explorations and Perspectives. If you are an incoming student in the fall and want to take one of these, you’ll have a chance to list it as one of your preferences in an online form in June.

Explorations 2011

Comedy and Culture in the 21st Century
From Woody Allen to Seinfeld: Comedy, Relationships, and the American Jewish Experience
French or Familiar: Why is France Unique?
Food of France
Mental Health in Film
Are you there, God? It’s me, Gossip Girl.
Reliving the Past on Screen: Historical Film in a Modern World
Storytelling: Studying Scripted Television
Sustainable Development Redefined: Lessons from Uganda
The American Political Process and The West Wing
World War II in International Film
The Massachusetts Political Experience
Sports and International Relations in the Modern Era

Perspectives 2011

Film Noir
History of Independent Film
The Impact of Drugs and Alcohol in Film
Food in Film
Popular Flops: A Study of Bad Movies
Blockbusters: Art and Industry of the Popcorn Movie

Deadline, Schmeadline

Deadline Extended for Explorations and Perspectives Apps

Deadline Extended for Explorations and Perspectives Apps

If you’ve known the ExCollege for a while, you might realize that we never met a deadline we didn’t want to extend in some way. We like pushing the envelope and giving folks every opportunity to take advantage of what we have to offer. So it is in that vein that we are now extending the deadline for teams of rising juniors and seniors to apply to teach an Explorations or Perspectives seminar in Fall 2011. Were you thinking about applying but felt like you needed a little extra time to pull it all together? Did you have a great idea but not enough time to convince a teaching partner to join you? Well here’s your chance. Just get in touch with us (617-627-3384 or to let us know you are out there and to talk about how much more time we can give you. Oh and if you want to check out some videos of previous leaders talking about their experiences, go to our YouTube channel –