Advice to Study Leaders

Your course description and leader biography are the most important means of attracting potential participants.  They should be designed to capture readers’ interest and (in the case of the bio) to reassure them that you are prepared to teach what you’re offering.

Course Descriptions (1200 characters with spaces)

A course description is meant to attract interest and invite participation. It should suggest rather than tell; it’s not intended to instruct, to explain, or to justify. Its audience is potential participants, not the Curriculum Committee.  

The vast majority of study leaders file their course proposals before organizing a detailed class-by-class outline. For that reason alone, course descriptions must be broad – permitting the study leader maximum flexibility in organizing the details of the actual course later.  Once that’s done, a complete outline, including a much more detailed explanation of what will be covered and how, should go to participants when sign-ups are complete and class rosters have been established.

A good course description includes: 

Course Title
 —Strongly worded, clear, creative, and captivating

 An opening Interest Catcher which might include some of the following:
                     —probing question
                     —historical context 
                     —relevance or importance
                     —background quotes or statistic

The Main Descriptive Body should describe:
                     —course focus and goals
                     —reference to potential audience
                     —student expectations:
                                 —what students will know and be able to share
                                 —required readings and pages per week

Teaching Formats to be employed (This is extremely important!):
                     —Student presentation*
                     —Small group work
                     —Discussion and Debate
                     —Guest speakers
                     —Film and visual aids

Leader Biographies (800 characters with spaces)

Study Leaders should keep their bios short, focusing on the relevant educational, professional, and personal experiences that qualify them to teach the course.  For example, if you’re teaching a course on finance, potential participants do not need to know that you’re a Vermont native, that you played hockey in high school, or that you enjoy golf and tennis. They’re not interested in your pets. Nor do they need a long narrative resume that makes you sound 120 years old.  Here again, Study Leaders may send a longer personal introduction to participants once enrollments are complete and class rosters have been set.

Leader bios must not exceed the format requirements of 800 characters with spaces.  For examples, go here to Meet Our Study Leaders.


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