5 Signs You’d Make a Great Peer Leader

1.  You love to talk about Tufts and everything Jumbo.

Does your heart race just a little bit faster when you see an opening to talk about Tufts? Have you been guilty of talking up your favorite program on campus or discussing a controversial campus policy at 3AM in your dorm’s lounge?

That’s the kind of passion that we’re looking for in our Explorations and Perspectives Peer Leaders. As a Peer Leader, you’ll be guiding a group of wide-eyed, excited, nervous, and awesome first-year students through their first semester at Tufts. Everything will be new to your students, and they need an experienced hand to guide them through the bombardment of new information, people, and places. You’ll also be leading them through orientation week, and a love of Tufts and sharing your knowledge will certainly make your students feel more at home on the Hill.

2.  You love to learn.

Our Explorations and Perspectives seminars are not like other Tufts courses. Our Peer Leaders have a certain degree of knowledge regarding their course topic, but the seminar is meant to be an exploration of learning for both the students and the teachers (how cool is that?). You’ll not only be engaging your students, but they’ll be making you think more deeply about the topic at hand.

Kacey Taylor and Charlotte Rea taught "The Portrayal of the U.S. in International Film" this past fall.

Kacey Taylor and Charlotte Rea taught “The Portrayal of the U.S. in International Film” with a group of highly motivated freshmen.

3.  You don’t back down from a challenge.

Being an Explorations or Perspectives Peer Leader is a lot of work. You design your own course, get intensive training from some pretty great people at the ExCollege, work your way through orientation week with your 14 freshmen, and then go through 4 more months of learning, teaching, and being awesome as you explore your course topic with your students.

But at the end of it all, you’ll come away a stronger teacher, mentor, academic, and friend. You get the full support of us here at the ExCollege, other Peer Leaders, and (perhaps most importantly) your students. The bonds created through this program have literally lasted throughout lifetimes, and the slight challenge of planning, training, and teaching is 100% worth it.

4.  You have a knack for the creative and the innovative.

With “experimental” in our name, it’s kind of a giveaway that we want to provide our students with an innovative, interactive experience in the classroom.  Our Peer Leaders introduce over 250 freshmen every year to this mindset of the ExCollege, and they never fail to amaze us.

Since you design your own course as a Peer Leader, you get to experiment with teaching methods, topics, projects, discussions, and so much more. So get creative! Try something new, and explore the different ways that you can inspire your students.

David Nunez-Ariza and Jeremy Gross taught "Hip-Hop as Culture" this fall, and they painted the cannon with their students when they discussed the history of graffiti.

David Nunez-Ariza and Jeremy Gross taught “Hip-Hop as Culture” this fall, and they painted the cannon with their students when they discussed the history of graffiti.

5.  You take the time to listen.

It’s important to underscore the fact that you’re not just a teacher in an Explorations or Perspectives classroom. You’re also there to act as a mentor to all of your students—helping them traverse the freshmen year terrain and supporting them whenever they encounter an especially difficult obstacle. Whenever your students come to you, you need to listen closely in order to provide the best support.

Over the years, students in Explorations and Perspectives classes praise the availability and openness of their Peer Leaders. That stems directly from our Peer Leaders’ abilities to actively listen to students and balance their roles as instructor, mentor, and friend.

If you want to join the Explorations and Perspectives experience as a Peer Leader, then apply today! All applications are due on Wednesday, March 12.

Questions? Contact us at the ExCollege by calling 617-627-3384, emailing excollege@tufts.edu, or dropping by the office at 95 Talbot!

Explorations & Perspectives 2013!

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!! A hush has spread into the ExCollege office (and all over the Hill) with so many seniors taking off to pursue exciting post-Tufts adventures. We’re already missing our seniors, but we can’t wait to start getting email updates and surprise visits!

With the summer slowly rolling in, the Commencement excitement is transforming into an excitement for the fall semester and a new batch of Jumbos. In June, the incoming Class of 2017 will be getting a lot of Tufts-tastic information in the mail, including the coveted advising programs list. Every fall, the ExCollege provides the option for entering freshmen to enroll in either the Explorations or Perspectives advising programs.

Initiated in 1972, Explorations served as an innovative advising program meant to act as both an academic and social introduction to the Hill. Each Explorations seminar is led by 2 upperclassmen who design the syllabus and course topic themselves. From “Robots, Space, and Civilizations of the Future” to “Road Trips and the American Identity” and much more, the 9 Explorations seminars open to the Class of 2017 will continue the tradition of offering an experience that uniquely combines advising, learning, and a sense of community. Check out the current Explorations courses here.

After the awesome success of the Explorations program, Perspectives joined the ExCollege advising line-up in 1988. Unlike Explorations, with course topics wide-ranging, Perspectives classes all work under the large umbrella topic of “media studies.” Pre-2014, Perspectives seminars focused around the idea of movies, but given the surge in new media, the program has been re-structured to encompass all types of media. “The Business of Hollywood,” “Medical Fallacies in TV and Film,” and 7 other seminars will be offered to incoming freshmen this fall. Like Explorations, each Perspectives seminar has been custom-built by two upperclassmen ready to guide freshmen through their first semester as Jumbos. For a full listing of Perspectives courses, head over to our main website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

^2012′s Explorations and Perspectives Peer Leaders in summer training! 

Here are some memorable quotes from our 2012 Explorations and Perspectives students:

What did you like best about your Perspectives seminar?

“I loved my group and my leaders. I feel very close with each of them, and I think it has made the transition to Tufts easier and more fun.”

“I really enjoyed the conversation we had in class. I feel like I learned a lot from my classmates.”

What did you like best about your Explorations seminar?

“I really liked the environment. My instructors fostered an atmosphere that blended learning and relaxing. I looked forward to class each week.”

“I loved learning and going in-depth about a subject that I probably would have gone a lifetime without knowing anything about if not for this course.”

What was the most important thing you learned in this course?

“I developed a personal philosophy, and I’m optimistic about humanity.”

“To think openly and abstractly about current issues.”

“The importance of experiencing everything and becoming involved in things at Tufts.”

With such powerful and positive reactions from our most recent Explorations and Perspectives seminars, we’re looking to have a strong and memorable start to our 41st year of offering these programs in 2013. Between both Explorations and Perspectives this fall, incoming first-years will be able to choose between 18 extremely interesting and challenging topics. With 14 spots up for grabs in each course, the ExCollege looks to welcome 252 freshmen into our advising programs this fall! We can’t wait!

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

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

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