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Harvard University Preceptor in Expository Writing in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Title Preceptor in Expository Writing

School Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Department/Area Harvard College Writing Program

Position Description

The Harvard College Writing Program (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/) at Harvard University has several openings for preceptorship positions for the 2021-22 academic year beginning on July 1, 2021, to teach Expository Writing:

  • Studio 10-Studio 20 (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/expos-studio-10) , the two-semester sequence of introductory courses for writers who can benefit from additional writing instruction. The sequence meets the College’s first-year writing requirement (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/requirement) .

  • Expository Writing 20 (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/expos-20) , a one-semester course that meets the College’s first-year writing requirement (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/requirement) .

A description of the teaching responsibilities associated with each course can be found below. Applicants will be asked to indicate which course(s) they are applying to teach and should submit the supplemental materials, accordingly.

Preceptors may teach one or two sections per semester. 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, including fields in the sciences and social sciences, 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 communication skills; and who enjoy collaborating with colleagues on assignment design and program development.

Expository Writing: Studio 10-Studio 20 Course Sequence

Studio 10-Studio 20 is a two-semester sequence of introductory courses for writers who can benefit from additional writing instruction. A full-time teaching load for preceptors teaching in the Expos Studio Program is two sections of Expos Studio 10 in fall semester and two sections of Expos Studio 20 in spring semester. The Program determines the number of Studio 20 sections based on enrollments; accordingly, Studio instructors may be asked to teach Expos 20 instead of Studio 20 in spring should enrollments warrant re-assignment. The two-semester sequence of Studio courses, which fulfills the College’s first-year writing requirement, is taught as a seminar of 10 students per section that meets 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 social or ethical question; 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.

Because sections of Studio courses are smaller and the assignments are shorter, students can work on their writing in a more hands-on way, with 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 sequence of 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 Studio 10 and Studio 20 teaching staff.

Expository Writing 20

Expository Writing 20, or “Expos 20,” as it is called in the College, is the one-term course that fulfills the undergraduate writing requirement. A full-time teaching load for preceptors teaching Expos 20 is two sections of the course per term. The course, taught as a seminar of 15 students per section that meets twice per week, is an introduction to the academic essay and is focused on argumentation: thesis, evidence, analysis, structure, and use of sources. Most Harvard first-years have heard those terms before, and most have written fairly fluent short essays of the five-paragraph type. In Expos 20, students develop a new understanding of those terms and learn to write papers that 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 first-year audience: e.g., Ecological Crisis: Witnessing and Planning in the Age of Climate Change; Class and Culture; Genetics and Bioethics; “Noncombatants”: The Home Front in Total War; Privacy and Surveillance; Sexism and Politics; Whose Boston?; Why Shakespeare?; Work: Culture, Power, and Control; Green Spaces, Urban Places. The topics and readings are carefully selected with academic writing in mind; each course is 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.

The Program incorporates innovative approaches into its curricula. Our Engaged Scholarship Expos courses invite students to connect the theory and practice of academic research and writing as students go outside the classroom (virtually during this period of remote learning) into neighborhoods and organizations in order to see real-world issues up close. (See the “Optional Engaged Scholarship Proposal” section of the application instructions for additional information.) Various courses in the Program also benefit from partnerships with Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, the Harvard College Library, the Harvard University Art Museums, and other Harvard offices and programs that put students and instructors alike in contact with experts in numerous fields, diverse readers, and multimedia tools with which to research and communicate ideas. In the past few years, an increasing number of faculty members are also asking students to work on capstone projects, which give students the opportunity to translate their writing and ideas into other formats for audiences outside of their class.

Faculty Development for Expos 20 and Studio Preceptors in the Writing Program

Since the Program is thoroughly focused on teaching, new as well as veteran preceptors spend considerable time planning their classes and contributing teaching materials in what is an open-source community. New preceptors also receive plenty of mentoring. They attend 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. There are also regular faculty meetings on topics of common pedagogical interest—in addition to the lively collegial exchanges that occur routinely in informal settings. 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.

Basic Qualifications

Doctorate (or Doctorate nearly completed) in traditional liberal arts discipline taught in Harvard College, including fields in the sciences and social sciences, or MFA or terminal degree with relevant experience teaching writing in a field taught in Harvard College.

Additional Qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates with experience and expertise in the teaching of writing in STEM fields, the social sciences, or public policy; with experience and/or strong interest in teaching engaged scholarship writing courses, integrating multimedia and digital learning into course design and class activities, or designing innovative capstone projects.

Special Instructions

All applicants will be asked to upload the following materials using the document fields indicated in parenthesis:

  • A CV (CV)

  • A cover letter explaining their philosophy of teaching writing and relevant undergraduate teaching experience (Cover Letter)

  • A sample of expository writing of no more than 10 pages, which may be a 10-page excerpt of a longer piece of writing. (Writing Sample 1)

  • Teaching materials from past or current courses, including past syllabi, writing assignments, and the like (Sample Syllabus)

  • Proposed course materials outlined below (Proposed Course Descriptions)

  • Candidates are welcome, but not required, to submit a separate Statement of Teaching Philosophy to complement what they discuss in their cover letter. (Statement of Teaching Philosophy)

Note: Applicants should upload the requested course materials for the course(s) they are applying to teach. (Applicants applying to teach both Expository 20 and the Expository Studio 10-Studio 20 course sequence should upload requested course materials for both courses.)

The Harvard ARIeS online hiring system will contact references to request letters of recommendations for candidates who are invited to the second round. (To use your Interfolio account to submit letters of recommendation, please see instructions via Interfolio. (http://product-help.interfolio.com/m/27438/l/266289-confidential-letter-uploads-to-online-application-systems) ) Candidates who are invited to the second round will be asked to comment on a sample student paper and submit records of strong teaching (preferably official records of student evaluations for courses taught).

For information on how to navigate the ARIeS system, please see the ARIeS Faculty Hiring page (https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/aries-faculty-hiring/information-applicants) .

PROPOSED COURSE MATERIALS

Expository Writing 20

Please provide brief one-paragraph descriptions for two courses that you might teach in the Writing Program. The Hiring Committee is interested in hearing ideas for courses that would both fit the Program’s pedagogy well and complement the current roster of Expos 20 courses; the Hiring Committee also welcomes thoughtful proposals about innovative assignments that might lend themselves to student capstone presentations and/or the use of multimedia and digital tools. (Information about Engaged Scholarship Expos Courses is available below.) Descriptions of courses currently being offered can be found on our website (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/expos-20/fall2020) . We strongly recommend that candidates read the course descriptions to see what kinds of courses our Program offers and the approach the Program takes to presenting the courses in textual descriptions.

After each course description, as a separate paragraph, please describe a possible capstone assignment for the course. The Hiring Committee understands that the proposal is just a sketch and offered in the absence of course logistics and detailed Writing Program budget guidelines; we are interested in seeing how the capstone you propose might help students write to a wider audience than just the course instructor, might give students practice in presentational skills, and provide students with a satisfying culminating experience in the course. Students would complete the capstone in the final week or two of the semester. The capstone should be related to the course’s research paper.

Please upload your two course descriptions and capstone proposals as a single attachment.

Optional Engaged Scholarship Proposal: Please note that candidates for preceptorships are not required to propose an Engaged Scholarship Expos course; this option is here for candidates interested in this pedagogy and whose course topics might lend themselves to this approach. Candidates interested in applying for Curricular Innovation Awards for Engaged Scholarship Expos Courses should include a proposal for an Engaged Scholarship Expos course as one of their two proposed course descriptions. Candidates who express interest will be invited to formally apply, if hired. Additional information can be found on our website (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/engaged-scholarship-courses) .

Expository Writing: Studio 10-Studio 20 Sequence

Please submit a one-paragraph description of a possible capstone assignment for Studio 10. The Hiring Committee understands that the proposal is just a sketch and offered in the absence of course logistics and detailed Writing Program budget guidelines; we are interested in seeing how the capstone you propose might help students write to a wider audience than just the course instructor, might give students practice in presentational skills, and might provide students with a satisfying culminating experience in the course. Students would complete the capstone in the final week or two of the semester. The capstone should be related to the course’s Unit 1 climate change assignment. (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/files/hcwp/files/Fall2020-Unit1Assignment.docx?m=1606934257)

In addition, please submit brief one-paragraph descriptions for two Expos 20 courses that you might teach in the Writing Program should enrollments require switching from teaching Studio to Expos 20 in a given semester. The Hiring Committee is interested in hearing ideas for courses that would both fit the Program’s pedagogy well and complement the current roster of Expos 20 courses; the Hiring Committee also welcomes thoughtful proposals about innovative assignments that might lend themselves to student capstone presentations and/or the use of multimedia and digital tools. Descriptions of courses currently being offered can be found on our website (https://writingprogram.fas.harvard.edu/expos-20/fall2020) . We strongly recommend that candidates read the course descriptions to see what kinds of courses our Program offers and the approach the Program takes to presenting the courses in textual descriptions.

To complement these materials, candidates applying to teach the Studio 10-Studio 20 course sequence are encouraged to use their cover letters to describe their experience with and approach to teaching writing to underprepared college writers.

Contact Information

Harvard College Writing Program Hiring Committee One Bow Street, Suite 250 Cambridge, MA 02138

Contact Email expos@fas.harvard.edu

Equal Opportunity Employer

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, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions or any other characteristic protected by law.

Minimum Number of References Required 3

Maximum Number of References Allowed 3

Supplemental Questions

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