The Oberlin Review

New ExCo Course AstroCo Nurtures Campus Interest in Astrology

New ExCo Course AstroCo Nurtures Campus Interest in Astrology

February 28, 2020

On Oberlin’s campus, astrology — the study of celestial bodies’ impact on humans — is often the subject of both deep discussion and check-in questions. This semester the common conversation starter has been turned into an Experimental College course called AstroCo, taught by College second-year Ella Franklin and College first-year Nicolas Zamora.  The course covers the basics of astrology, including circle charts — which show planets, zodiac signs, and houses at the moment of your bi...

College Increases ExCo Stipend, Committee Offers Full Courseload for Spring

Arman Luczkow, Staff Writer

December 6, 2019

The Experimental College Committee’s compensation was increased by the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences last month, from $6,000 to $7,000 for the 2019–2020 academic year. In October, the five-student committee announced that they would need to reduce the number of ExCo courses to 50, due to changes in the way committee members are paid. The increased finances will mean that ExCo will be able to maintain its typical offering of approximately 70 courses in the spring. Members of the ExCo Committee met with their advisor, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Hamilton, over the past month to discuss this. “The ExCo Committee met with Dean Hamilton and basically remade our case,” s...

College second-years and ExCo instructors Marisa Kim and Serena Zets took their students on a field trip last week to see a live taping of The Bachelor. Kim and Zets teach BachCo, an ExCo analyzing The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchise through political and sociological lenses.

ExCo to Reduce Future Course Offerings

October 11, 2019

Editor’s note: Comments submitted by Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Hamilton after the initial publication date have been added to the online version of this article. The Experimental College plans to reduce the number of courses offered next semester from 74 to 50 after changes to its payroll process were made over the summer. The changes affect the way the five students that make up the ExCo committee are paid, meaning that the committee will need to work few...



May 4, 2019

College junior Rachel Clark, a spring 2019 ExCo instructor, teaches a class called Drugs, Harm Reduction, and Counterculture.

Private Grades, Transcripts Accessible to ExCo Instructors

April 26, 2019

Some students were upset to hear that — through a technological error — anyone who teaches or has previously taught an ExCo was able to access the private transcript of every current Oberlin student. These transcripts include all of the grades students have received during their time at Oberlin, every class taken, and in some cases even past AP test scores. This exclusive access has left some with questions about privacy. “I feel like it’s fair to call it a breach in security,” Colleg...

Will Wickham prepares materials for tapping trees in Tappan Square. The sap they collect will be boiled into maple syrup.

A New Type of ExCo: Reading Oberlin’s Landscape

March 15, 2019

A new ExCo called Reading the Oberlin Landscape is helping students cultivate a stronger sense of place and connection to Oberlin. Will Wickham, a College senior, is the course’s creator and sole instructor. He is using this ExCo as the base of his Environmental Studies capstone project, and he aims to bridge the gap between the sciences and humanities by providing an in-depth introduction to the field of natural history in Oberlin. The class is interdisciplinary in nature, and has been designe...

Oberlin Community News Bulletin

February 22, 2019

Debra Rose Honors Black Female Artists at Ben Franklin Local singer-songwriter Debra Rose will perform her original show Legendary Ladies, a tribute honoring five historical African-American women, at Ben Franklin this Saturday at 4 p.m. The tribute will focus on iconic figures Marion Anderson, Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha Franklin. Rose is the founder of a musical ministry in Oberlin called Healing Melodies, which uses music therapy to stimulate memory and coordination for elderly patients. Learn to Plan for Success in Business CoWork Oberlin, a coworking community and office space, is hosting a workshop Feb. 26 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. to teach community members how to create business...

A Little Bit is Better Than None: Teaching Self-Care in Ella Causer's ExCo,

A Little Bit is Better Than None: Teaching Self-Care in Ella Causer’s ExCo, “How to Be David Sedaris Himself”

September 21, 2018

A love of barn owls shared with a well-known humorist led College sophomore Ella Causer to develop and teach the ExCo “How to Be David Sedaris Himself.” “He’s one of the authors that can make me laugh out loud,” said Causer. She became exposed to Sedaris’ work relatively recently and has developed a strong appreciation for it. Causer once sent Sedaris fan mail, and he responded by complimenting the collage she’d sent along with her letter, as well as providing her with a list of...

ExCo Fair Showcases Community Interests

ExCo Fair Showcases Community Interests

February 9, 2018

Students attend the ExCo Fair in the Root Room of Carnegie Building on Wednesday night. ExCos, or Experimental College courses, are taught by students, community members, and faculty, providing the campus the opportunity to teach, explore, and learn about areas of interest beyond the college classroom. Students signed up for a variety of classes, ranging from “Alternative Schools of Economic Thought” and “Black Lives Matter: In the Sciences” to “ArmokCo: Dwarf Fortress,” “DisCo: A D...

ExCos Showcase Best in Liberal Arts Education

Emily Peterson

September 1, 2017

You might expect to find some of the ExCo classes on offer this fall semester at any liberal arts college in America: “Understanding the Contemporary Politics of Palestine,” “Alternative Schools of Economic Thought,” “Debate and Public Speaking,” and a variety of language and dance classes. And then there is “DisCo: A Disney History ExCo,” “Spongebobology,” and, of course, “Beginning Dungeons and Dragons.” All these courses and more were on offer Wednesday night, when a steady stream of students milled around tables set up around the perimeter of the Root Room, talking to teachers and signing up for classes about everything from longboarding to Cyberbunk to representations of oppression in science fictio...

Broken ExCo System Disrespectful to Students

Cyrus Eosphoros, Columnist

February 5, 2016

Columnist Note: Some ExCos are taught by community members or College staff and faculty, but the vast majority are both attended and taught by students. I’m addressing the effect that the current ExCo system has on students. I’m also largely writing from the point of view of someone who’s been a student but not a teacher. Oberlin College officially admits that the ExCo system works to fulfill gaps in the College’s curriculum. “ExCo supplements the regular curriculum by offering classes not typically available in traditional courses of study,” the College website says — the page on ExCos, by the way, is listed under “Student Life: Student Organizations,” not academics — but those classes include l...

College junior and pop singer-songwriter Kristin McFadden performs original music at the Cat in the Cream. McFadden started a songwriting club last year with College junior Rob Jamner to provide more resources for the songwriting com- munity at Oberlin.

Songwriters Benefit from New Exco, Club

September 25, 2015

College sophomore Lilah Drafts-Johnson cradled her guitar as she prepared to perform for an audience at the Cat in the Cream last Friday. Before singing, she told the crowd she’d be performing her favorite original song, but that it was unlike many of her other pieces, which share similarities with Taylor Swift’s nostalgic love songs. Draft-Johnson’s song “Compliment” addressed the problem of street harassment, including lyrics like “With your legs you know you look fine,” and “Didn’t...

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