About Quest and Visiting Tutors
Quest University is an innovative undergraduate university. There are no majors. Instead, students take two years of courses across the arts and sciences and then create an individual question that guides them through the rest of their degree. Our classes are taught on the block system. Each course is 3 1/2 weeks long, and students spend three hours each day in class and four to six hours each day working outside of class. Maximum class size is 20. More details about Quest’s curriculum can be found here.
In addition to our continuing faculty, Visiting Tutors teach single blocks to supplement the capacity and expertise of our faculty.Details on applying to Quest as a Visiting Tutor can be found here. Feel free to be in contact with me directly as well.
Some Resources for future Visiting Tutors in the Arts & Humanities division
I (Jeff Warren) am currently the division coordinator for the Arts & Humanities division. What follows is primarily for those preparing to teach courses at Quest, but may also be useful for those considering applying to teach at Quest. If you have any further questions or ideas about how I can improve this page, please contact me.
The Arts & Humanities division covers a wide range of disciplines. The two main types of courses offered by visiting tutors are foundation courses (mostly 1st and 2nd year students) and concentration courses (mostly 3rd and 4th year students). Concentration courses may cover any topic in the division, so long as it complements other course offerings. Foundation courses in the Arts & Humanities division are of three types: Texts, Culture, and Scholarship. All students must take one of each of these types of courses, and each course has their own set of learning outcomes, which you can read more about here. The learning outcomes for these courses are primarily skills and big idea based, so many different courses can be created to fill the learning outcomes of each type.
General information and policies about Quest can be found here.
All students have taken a course in Rhetoric as their second course at Quest, and in the process have learned several terms that you can reinforce in your course. You can find those terms here.
Those who have been offered positions will receive (or have already received) a detailed document from human resources that includes specifics about accommodation, deadlines for entering grades, advice for teaching at Quest, and other issues that apply to all visiting tutors. This resource augments those materials with details specific to teaching Arts & Humanities division courses.
Your responsibilities before your course begins
You have been hired because we think you will offer an interesting course for students! There are several stages leading up to the delivery of your course:
- Course title and description: This is usually discussed directly after you are offered your position. Timeline: 4-12 months prior to course. Required so that students can register for your course.
- New course proposal: If your course will be new to Quest, it requires approval from the university’s Curriculum Committee. This also provides an opportunity for you to think more carefully about your course and receive some feedback from Quest tutors. Please download this form, fill it out, and return it to Jeff. Timeline: new courses require approval before student register for them. Ideally this proposal is submitted along with the course title and description.
- Syllabus: You should work closely with Arts & Humanities division coordinator on your syllabus. Timeline: It needs final approval from the Coordinator a minimum of two weeks prior to the start of your course. Please send Jeff your syllabus at least one month prior to the start of your course so that we can go back and forth a couple of times with comments and changes if necessary.
- Materials: If you have any requirements about materials for the course, these details need to be in place at least one month before your course starts.
Some assistance for these items can be found below.
The course description is what guides students in course selection. As such, it should reflect the course topic, general course learning outcomes, and modes of learning.
Students take courses for many different reasons. Some students take the courses purely as electives. Other students have questions that fall specifically in the area of your course. Some students will come in with large amounts of background and experience in the area of the course, and some students will come in with next to no experience. This provides both opportunities and challenges in designing a course, as it is quite different from the more typical offerings for majors who have all taken a preset group of courses. Here are a few things to consider when developing your course for this mix of students:
- make space for students to bring in their own interests and expertise. Even though students may not have the background specifically for your course, Quest students are generally quite driven, thoughtful, and will bring a wide range of interests and expertise into the classroom that can enhance your course.
- consider allowing students to make some of their own decisions about how they choose to spend their time and effort.
- Courses are normally capped at 20 students.
Quest students will work hard, but they will also want to know why they are doing particular activities. Keep in mind explanations as to why you are including particular readings / activities / assignments.
There is no ‘standard’ way to structure a block. That said, the following are common: students work for 4-6 hours outside of class time; class time is a mix of discussion, small group activity/task, and some presentation from the tutor.
Quest syllabi have no required template to follow. However, since your syllabus is your contract with your students, sufficient care should be made to include details of assessment, learning outcomes, and a schedule (even if the schedule does build in some flexibility).
Quest does not have standardized assessment requirements, so you may design your course with assessments that match your course design. Faculty at Quest use all means of feedback: written, verbal, video, audio, rubric, etc.
Please do make space to provide students feedback often and during the block. Many tutors try to get at least one piece of substantive feedback back to students within the first week, as this can help students understand expectations and adjust their work if necessary.
Meeting times and places
Courses normally run 3 hours a day (9-12 or 1-4) and run for 17 or 18 days (depending upon holidays).
In addition to class time, students expect to work about 5 hours a day outside of class. When designing your course, make sure that you keep this amount of work in mind (reading, assignments, projects, etc.). Some course designs begin with first considering how students will work outside of class and then design the class time around putting out of class work to use.
Your main space to meet is a classroom with a modular board room style table and access to smaller rooms for small group ‘break out’ activities. There are some additional spaces on campus that can be booked for special activities (film screenings, etc).
Course materials and field trips
If you require course materials or field trips, please be in contact as soon as possible and we can see what is possible.