The Tutorial Program at Williams

In the fall of 1988, Williams introduced a tutorial program. Students are invited to examine the tutorial offerings carefully in order to understand fully the substantive content of each tutorial and its mode of operation. A list of the tutorials to be offered in 2002-2003 is included in this section, and a complete description of each may be found in the relevant department's section of this catalog. No student is required to take a tutorial, but any student who has the appropriate qualifications is invited to do so.

While the details of the functioning of tutorials will vary in order to accommodate the diverse subject matter of the various departments of the College, there are important common characteristics to all tutorials. Tutorials place a much greater weight on student participation than do regular courses or even small seminars. In general, each tutorial will consist of two students meeting with the tutor for one hour or 75 minutes each week. At each meeting one student will make a prepared presentation-read a prepared essay, work a set of problems, report on laboratory exercises, examine a work of art, etc.-and the other student and the tutor will question, probe, push the student who is presenting his or her work about various aspects of the presentation. The student then must respond on the spot to these probings and questions. A tutorial is directly concerned with teaching students about arguments, about arriving at and defending a position, and about responding quickly to suggestions and questions. This kind of exercise will help the student gain insight and understanding of what knowledge is and how it is accumulated, and how there can be different interpretations and different understandings of the same phenomenon. The student presentation drives the tutorial, and the presentation by the student obviously means that student preparation and response are crucial to an effective tutorial. The presentation is based on assigned and suggested reading and other work (laboratory, art work, theatre, etc.) by the tutor.

In some tutorials both students will make a shorter presentation each week and both will react and comment on the other's presentation. In all cases the tutorial is built around presentations by students.

In most instances there will be no more than 10 students in a tutorial. In the first and last week of the semester, the whole group may meet together, and in the 10 weeks in-between students will meet in pairs with their tutor. Students should therefore expect to make 5 presentations that occupy about an hour, or 10 that require one half hour. Assignments will be designed such that the student should, in general, be required to spend no more time over a week preparing for the tutorial than for a conventional course. It is likely, however, that as students begin their first tutorial course, they will have to spend somewhat more time preparing for it than for other courses. Once the routine becomes more established and familiar, the tutorial is expected to require about the same total time per week as does a regular course. The student should appreciate, however, that the weekly tutorials require exceptional regularity and on-time performance.

Grading, testing, and similar details will be described by the tutor at the first meeting of the entire group.

Drops and Adds: Because of the particular arrangements of the tutorial, it is necessary to limit adds to the first week of classes only. No adds can be made after that time. Spaces in tutorials are limited, and a late drop may unfairly deprive another student of an opportunity. Students are urged, therefore, to think very carefully about their initial decisions.

PLEASE NOTE: Tutorials cannot be taken on a pass/fail grading basis.

More Information: Students may obtain detailed information about a specific tutorial from the individual tutor, or about The Tutorial Program as a whole from its director, Professor Stephen Fix (Department of English).

Tutorials Offered 2002-2003

American Maritime Studies
AMS/ENGL 231T(F,S) Literature of the Sea Bercaw Edwards (fall), Beegel (spring)

Anthropology and Sociology
ANTH 218T(S) Empires in Prehistory and History (W)* Foias
ANTH 364T(F) Ritual, Politics, and Power (W)* D. Edwards
SOC 250T(S) The Collapse of `Common Sense' (W) Jackall

ARTS 313T(S) Art of the Public Diggs
ARTS 364T(S) Artists' Books Takenaga
ARTS 386T(S)/
WGST 385T(S) Sexuality and Media L. Johnson
ARTS 418T(S) Senior Tutorial Epping

ASTR 207T(F) Extraterrestrial Life in the Galaxy:
A Sure Thing, or a Snowball's Chance? (W) Kwitter

BIOL 206T(S) Genomics (W) Raymond
BIOL 402T(S)/
ENVI 404T(S) Current Topics in Ecology (W) Morales

CHEM 314T(S) A Theoretical Approach to Biological Phenomena Peacock-López

CLGR 406T(S)/
WGST 406T(S) Coming of Age in the Polis (W) Hoppin

Comparative Literature
COMP 254T(S)/
WGST 254T(S) The Fallen Woman in Literature and Film (W) Fox

Computer Science
CSCI 336T(S) Computer Networks (Q) Murtagh

ECON 375T(F) Speculative Attacks and Currency Crises Montiel

ENGL 229T(F) Elegies (W) Fix
ENGL 311T(S)/
THEA 315T(S) Studies in Shakespeare: Hamlet and Lear (W) Kleiner
ENGL 343T(F) Whitman and Dickinson in Context (W) Kent

Environmental Studies
ENVI 308T(S)/
PSCI 308T(S) Environmental Policy (W) K. Lee

GEOS 217T(F)/
ASTR 217T(F) Planetary Geology (W) Cox
GEOS 218T(S)/
ENVI 218T(S) The Carbon Cycle (W) Stoll
GEOS 250T(S) Tectonics, Erosion, and Climate (W) Karabinos

HIST 135T(S) The Great War, 1914-1918 (W) Wood

MUS 203T(F), 204T(S) Composition Perez Velazquez (fall), D. Kechley (spring)
MUS 223T(S) Music Technology II Perez Velazquez

PHYS 402T(S) Applications of Quantum Mechanics (Q) Majumder
PHYS 411T(F) Classical Mechanics (Q) K. Jones

Political Science
PSCI 303T(S) Opening Pandora's Box?: Moral and Political
Issues in Genetic Research (W) Macdonald
PSCI 305T(F) The Challenges of Knowing: The Holocaust Marcus
PSCI 323T(S) Political Islam (W)* Lynch

PSYC 341T(S) Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination (W) Fein

REL 270T(S) Father Abraham: The First Patriarch (W) Darrow
REL 285T(F) Haunted: Ghosts in the Study of Religion (W) Buell

RLSP 306T(S)/
COMP 302T(S) Latino Writing: Literature by U.S. Hispanics (W)* Bell-Villada

THEA 322T(S) Performance Criticism (W) Salamensky