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 excollege@tufts.edu, 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 wcvb.com.

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)!

An Inside Look at the Perspectives Program

For our first blog post about the Perspectives program we have a two for one special: insights from co-leaders Bill Cotter and Travis Grodkiewicz!  As the deadline to apply to teach in this program quickly approaches check out their reflections on what it was like to be a part of Perspectives this year! 

Bill’s Perspective:

Freshman year can be a serious roller coaster.  My greatest goal in teaching a Perspectives class was to create an environment where our students felt at home, where they could escape the roller coaster of college for a bit, relax, have fun, and of course learn something in the process.  Basically, I was trying to create something that I wish I had had during my own freshman year.  Somehow (I guess through a combination of hard work and luck) we managed to succeed, and I think every one of our students would tell you that coming to class was a highlight of their week.  At the very least, it was for me.   Continue reading

The ExCollege: A Freshmen Perspective

Becoming a freshman at Tufts is an experience like no other. Your script for the first few days consists of three questions and then three answers: 1. What’s your name? 2. Where are you from? and 3. What dorm you are living in? Then you would move on to meeting the next person. This is the taste of Tufts during orientation week. If anyone is interesting enough you continue the dialogue; if not, on to the next person! Then you worry about who your roommate really is and whether or not you’ll be surviving the chaos once the rest of the university steps foot on the hill. I was lucky enough to have chosen the Perspectives advising option, and had two upperclassmen as my professors in a class offered by the ExCollege. 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 http://www.facebook.com/tuftsexcollege 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