Jobs

The Harvard College Writing Program has openings for two faculty positions.

Preceptor in Expository Writing: Introductory Writing Courses
Preceptor in Expository Writing: Expository Writing 20

 

Preceptor in Expository Writing: Introductory Writing Courses

The Harvard College Writing Program at Harvard University has several openings for preceptorship positions for the 2017-18 academic year beginning on July 1, 2017, to teach the Program’s two-semester sequence of elective introductory courses for underprepared writers. Each preceptor teaches one or two sections per semester of ten students per section, including significant one-on-one conference time with students. Because course enrollments fluctuate, preceptors may be asked occasionally to teach Expos 20, with section sizes of 15 students. Preceptors are eligible for multi-year contracts. Salary and benefits are competitive. Preference will be given to candidates with Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees in fields that are taught at Harvard College, or to candidates with MFAs; who have experience teaching fundamental analytical reading and writing skills and sentence skills at the first-year college level; who demonstrate a lively interest in issues of writing pedagogy and an innovative approach to the teaching of freshman communication skills (for example, engaged scholarship/community engagement projects, design studio model, the use of multimedia, or digital learning); and who enjoy collaborating with colleagues on assignment design and program development.

The application deadline for 2017-18 academic year positions is January 9, 2017, 3 p.m. EST.

Applicants for the 2017-18 academic year position should visit: http://academicpositions.harvard.edu/postings/7307

The Hiring Process
The application process involves three rounds:

  1. First-round candidates submit a CV; a cover letter explaining their philosophy of teaching writing to underprepared undergraduate writers and relevant undergraduate teaching experience; a sample of expository writing of no more than 10 pages; teaching materials, including past syllabi, writing assignments, and the like that are relevant to the teaching of underprepared writers; and comments on a sample student paper we provide.
  2. Candidates who are invited to the second round submit records of excellent teaching (preferably official records of student evaluations for courses taught) and provide three references. The Harvard ARIeS online hiring system will contact references to request letters of recommendation for second-round candidates. (To use your Interfolio account as the email contact for letters of recommendation, please see instructions via Interfolio.)
  3. Candidates selected for interviews are interviewed by the hiring committee via video conference or in person. Some candidates are then invited back on a rolling basis for additional conversations.
  4. The University and Program have a strong commitment to diversity among faculty and staff, and we encourage applications from under-represented groups. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

The Job

The Harvard College Writing Program, which teaches the Expository Writing course that most Harvard freshmen take as well as introductory writing courses for underprepared writers, is a free-standing academic program. It has its own budget and faculty of 40 or so preceptors. Most "Expos" preceptors have Ph.D.s or are close to having one in areas as diverse as anthropology, sociology, philosophy, psychology, biology, archaeology, political science, literature, and history. The Program also has preceptors with JDs and MFAs.

A full-time teaching load in the Expos 10-15 Program is two sections of Expos 10 in fall semester and two sections of Expos 15 in spring semester. This two-semester sequence of elective courses, which fulfills the College’s freshman writing requirement, is taught as a seminar of 10 students per class meeting twice per week. It is designed to give students the opportunity to learn and practice essential steps in writing the kinds of academic essays assigned in their Harvard courses, not personal essays but rather analytical arguments that engage sources. The curriculum is structured so that students begin each course with shorter assignments, giving students multiple rounds of practice with the core elements of academic argument; the course then builds up to one major essay at the end of each semester. Each of the writing assignments in the fall semester course focuses on a compelling question relevant to students’ experience at Harvard; the writing assignments in the spring semester course introduce students to a wider repertoire of the kind of analytical operations undergraduates will be expected to deploy when writing at Harvard, from closely reading evidence to comparing sources’ ideas, to placing primary and secondary sources into conversation in a research paper.  

Each introductory writing class is small, limited to ten students, and students work closely with their preceptor, receiving abundant individual attention on the issues important to their writing. Because the sections are smaller and the assignments are shorter, students can work on their writing in class in a more hands-on way, with more frequent feedback from their preceptor and their peers. During each semester, students work on a variety of skills: they participate in workshops on sentences, paragraphs, and whole arguments; they receive preparation for oral presentations; they go beyond the classroom to gather observations and evidence for their analytical essays. In both the shorter assignments and the major analytical essay, students write an initial draft, receive feedback, and revise their work, learning how to develop, organize, and clarify their ideas. All of the assignments invite students to think critically about sources: asking questions, analyzing, and building arguments about the sources they work with.

Students choose to take the Program’s elective introductory courses for a variety of reasons: some know that they haven’t written extensively in their previous courses and want more experience, while others feel unfamiliar with the conventions of the American academic essay. Some have strengths at other kinds of writing but have less experience in the kind of analytical writing that Harvard courses will require. And some want to gain more confidence as they approach the expectations of college writing.

The Program’s introductory writing courses have a planned curriculum administered across all sections, with common assignments, readings, and exercises designed through regular collaborations among the Expos 10 and 15 teaching staff.  Since the Program is thoroughly focused on teaching, new as well as veteran preceptors spend considerable time and energy planning their classes and contributing teaching materials in what is an open-source community. New preceptors also receive plenty of mentoring. They attend two sets of orientation sessions in the summer before teaching starts; they are provided with many pedagogical materials, and a good deal of help developing their courses—by the Program’s Director, Senior Preceptor, and a Head Preceptor who is assigned to mentor and supervise them during their first year. And in addition to the team meetings for the courses, there are regular meetings and faculty colloquia on topics of common pedagogical interest—not to mention the lively collegial exchange that goes on in the hallways, faculty lounge, and copy rooms.

 

 

Preceptor in Expository Writing: Expository Writing 20

The Harvard College Writing Program at Harvard University has several openings for preceptorship positions for the 2017-18 academic year beginning on July 1, 2017, to teach Expository 20, the Program’s course that fulfills Harvard College’s freshman writing requirement. Each preceptor develops a writing course on an academic topic and teaches one or two sections per semester of fifteen students per section. Preceptors are eligible for multi-year contracts. Salary and benefits are competitive. Preference will be given to candidates with Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees in fields that are taught at Harvard College, or to candidates with MFAs; who have experience in the teaching of academic argument at the college level; who demonstrate a lively interest in issues of writing pedagogy and an innovative approach to the teaching of freshman communication skills; and who enjoy collaborating with colleagues on assignment design and program development. We welcome applications from candidates with experience and expertise in the teaching of writing in STEM fields, the social sciences, or public policy, as well as applicants with experience in engaged scholarship/community engagement projects, design studio model, use of multimedia, or digital learning.

The application deadline for 2017-18 academic year positions is January 9, 2017, 3 p.m. EST.

Applicants for the 2017-18 academic year position should visit: http://academicpositions.harvard.edu/postings/7306

The Hiring Process
The application process involves three rounds:

  1. First-round candidates submit a CV; a cover letter explaining their philosophy of teaching writing and relevant undergraduate teaching experience; brief descriptions of a couple of courses that they might teach in the Writing Program; a sample of expository writing of no more than 10 pages; teaching materials, including past syllabi, writing assignments, and the like; and comments on one of the sample student papers we provide.
  2. Candidates who are invited to the second round submit records of excellent teaching (preferably official records of student evaluations for courses taught) and provide three references. The Harvard ARIeS online hiring system will contact references to request letters of recommendation for second-round candidates. (To use your Interfolio account as the email contact for letters of recommendation, please see  instructions via Interfolio.)
  3. Candidates selected for interviews are interviewed by the hiring committee via video conference or in person. Some candidates are then invited back on a rolling basis for additional conversations. Candidates who are invited to the initial interview round come to their interviews having prepared a more detailed sketch of an Expos 20 course proposal (a course description intended for prospective Expos students, an essay assignment prompt for one of three units for the course, and some ideas for the assignments for the other two units).
  4. The University and Program have a strong commitment to diversity among faculty and staff, and we encourage applications from under-represented groups. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

The Job

The Harvard College Writing Program, which teaches the Expository Writing course that most Harvard freshmen take, is a free-standing academic program. It has its own budget and faculty of 40 or so preceptors. Most "Expos" preceptors have Ph.D.s or are close to having one in areas as diverse as anthropology, sociology, philosophy, psychology, biology, archaeology, political science, literature, and history. The Program also has preceptors with JDs and MFAs.

A full-time teaching load in the Program is two sections per term of Expos 20, the one-term course that fulfills the undergraduate writing requirement. This course, taught as a seminar of 15 students per class meeting twice per week, is an introduction to the academic essay and is focused on argumentation: on thesis, evidence, analysis, structure, and use of sources. Most Harvard freshmen have heard those terms before, and most have written fairly fluent short essays of the five-paragraph type. In Expos students develop a new understanding of those terms and learn to write papers that really dig into their texts and topics in order to discover worthwhile, nuanced arguments about them—arguments that use sources in different ways and that deepen and develop as they go.

The Program collaborates with preceptors to develop course topics and readings that appeal to a general freshman audience: e.g., Darwinian Dating, Urban America, Dangerous Speech, The Science of Emotion, Social Worlds of Friendship, Ethics of Human Experimentation, God and Government, and Sports and the Law. The topics and readings are carefully selected with academic writing in mind—each course being arranged in three units that focus students on, and prepare them to write, three essays of different kinds. Each unit involves several writing exercises, a pre-draft assignment, a draft, an individual conference, a class workshop, and a graded revision. Especially during conference weeks, the work is intensive, the students eager and demanding. But the work pays off, and the writing of most students improves markedly over the term.

Recently, the Program has been developing several courses that give students opportunities to engage local communities, both Harvard’s own and those in Harvard’s neighborhoods in Cambridge and Boston, as source material to inform students’ learning and writing and as potential audiences with whom students can communicate. The Program’s partnerships with Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, the Harvard College Library, the Harvard University Art Museums, and the Harvard Ed Portal have led to a number of exciting innovations in teaching that put students and instructors alike in direct contact with experts in a variety of fields, real readers, and multimedia tools with which to research and communicate ideas.

Developing a good Expos course—one with serious and provocative academic content, but in which that content is thoroughly integrated into the work of writing—takes time and energy, especially for teachers used to focusing primarily on content. But new preceptors receive plenty of mentoring. They attend two sets of orientation sessions in the summer before teaching starts; they are provided with many pedagogical materials, and a good deal of help developing their courses—by the Program’s Director, Senior Preceptor, and a Head Preceptor who is assigned to mentor and supervise them during their first year. And there are regular meetings and faculty colloquia on topics of common pedagogical interest—not to mention the lively collegial exchange that goes on in the hallways, faculty lounge, and copy rooms. Preceptors are strongly encouraged to contribute in a highly collaborative environment to the Program’s development of pedagogical materials and teaching strategies as well as to its development of new projects aimed at enhancing the culture of writing instruction in the College.