Oberlin ExCo

Requirements to Teach an ExCo

Who Can Teach an ExCo?

The ExCo Committee welcomes students, faculty, staff, and community members to apply to teach an ExCo! We are always looking for new instructors, so even if the application deadline has already passed, we encourage prospective ExCo instructors to start planning their course and be ready for the next application season to begin.

Instructors are allowed to teach two ExCo courses in the same semester, but we almost always require that it not be their first semester ever teaching with us. We do not allow instructors to teach more than two courses in a given semester. We welcome high school students to participate in the ExCo program by taking courses that appeal to them, but we aren’t set up to allow students from the high school to teach an ExCo course.

Most ExCos have one or two instructors, with a small number of courses that are lead by three or four instructors. The Presto system that the College uses is not set up to accommodate more than two instructors for a given course, which means that all additional instructors are unable to officially teach for credit. These instructors are sometimes referred to as “unofficial instructors,” although the term can be misleading, since they are still required to officially apply to teach their ExCo and are held to the same standards throughout the semester as their co-instructors.

 

What Teaching an ExCo Entails

We expect all ExCo instructors to hold their classes at least once a week for the full twelve weeks of the ExCo program, unless a specific alternative arrangement has been approved by the ExCo Committee before the semester begins. Instructors are expected to show up on time to their classes, prepared with that session’s materials and ready to engage with students in a thoughtful and respectful manner. Instructors are expected to follow all Oberlin College accommodation guidelines to ensure that every student is capable to benefiting from the classroom environment and teaching structure. For those ExCos that involve any potentially dangerous activities, instructors are required to get proper liability forms signed during the first class of the semester (forms will be provided and collected by the ExCo Committee). Any questions should be directed to the Committee at exco@oberlin.edu or can be discussed in our office hours (see panel to the right).

 

Communication

We require that all instructors remain in communication with us, which includes reading the entirety of all emails we send and responding in a timely manner when appropriate. We further require that instructors remain in regular communication with their students. This includes informing students of when they have been accepted into your course AND informing students that they have not been accepted into the course. Please continue communicating with your students throughout the semester, including reaching out to any students that unexpectedly miss class or are otherwise at risk of not passing your course. Instructors are required to report any serious concerns or problems directly to the ExCo Committee via exco@oberlin.edu (you may always talk with a member of the committee outside of office hours, but please also file an official report via email).

 

Additional Requirements

The ExCo Committee sends out surveys twice a semester both to instructors (to give the Committee helpful feedback) and to instructors to forward to their students (allowing the instructors to receive helpful, anonymous feedback). While you are not graded on the latter, we do evaluate your responses to the forms that your submit directly to us. We also assign a brief paper around midterms and a second brief paper just before the end of the semester. These assignments are not meant to be busy work, as we understand all instructors are already incredibly busy prepping and teaching their courses. Rather, we use the feedback from these assignments to grow and improve the ExCo program, and to determine how we can better serve our instructors and students in future semesters. We also intentionally try to find assignments that will be beneficial to you as instructors, helping you provide insightful feedback to each other and allowing for reflective recognition of how your course has benefited both you and your students. For more detailed information on these assignments, visit our For Current Instructors page.

We understand that these requirements can appear particularly tedious to those instructors who are not Oberlin students and therefore do not have the option of teaching their ExCo for college credit. We kindly ask that all faculty, staff, and community members complete these requirements regardless. Several of the assignments are created with the intention of further fostering community among instructors, and the perspective that older, and often more experienced, instructors can bring is particularly helpful and appreciated. We are also required to maintain some form of oversight for each class, which allows us to remain an accredited program that can serve as both a student organization and an Oberlin college department. We are particularly generous with extensions when it comes to working with instructors who have full time jobs, so please communicate with us if you feel like this is something you would like to make use of.

Please note that in addition to not receiving credit, a No Pass grade will result in a minimum two semester ban on teaching with the ExCo program. This policy was created to further incentivize our instructors to complete their requirements and to instill a regulatory process that provides structure and accountability to this program.

The ExCo Committee undergoes a rigorous application and discussion process when choosing the ExCo course offerings for each semester. We are not obligated to release details of the rationale behind our application decisions. All decisions are final.

 

Still interested in teaching an ExCo? Then check out our Apply to Teach page!