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!
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 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
I was in the bookstore last fall, dodging freshman who don’t know enough to check Amazon first to see how much textbooks are elsewhere, looking for a programming book. On my way towards the engineering section, I stopped to eavesdrop on a pair of students who were talking about the books. I quickly realized that they were not speaking about the authors with an undeserved familiarity, but that their professor had written the book on conflict due to climate change in Sudan that one of them was wildly gesticulating with. Of course, as an engineering student, it’s not unheard of for a professor to write a textbook. But I’d never really stopped to consider the vast amount of what I was missing at Tufts. I haven’t taken a history course since high school. Not because I particularly dislike history, but because I just never had time.
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