The Harvard Ed Portal, which is celebrating ten years of community partnership between Harvard and Boston, shared the work of K-12 students and their mentors at a community reception on December 2. Susan Johnson, the Bok Center’s Assistant Director for Socially Engaged Learning, works with a cohort of 20-25 undergraduate mentors each semester, helping them to create age-specific curricula and develop as educators.
At the May 5 kick-off event for the Bok Center’s 40th anniversary celebration, former Harvard president Derek Bok recalled his first speech to the faculty, in 1971 when his term began, which he devoted to the subject of teaching. Afterward Bok spoke to his friend the eminent physicist Gerald Holton, “and I asked him, Gerry, how did it go? And he said, well, 80 percent of the faculty have given up on you.”
The first assignment, for the General Education course on “Primitive Navigation,” was for students to start at the John Harvard statue in the Yard, walk due west for what seemed 20 minutes with no tools or aids including a watch or phone, and see where they ended up. Probably students had an inkling this wasn’t going to end well. They would end up all over the greater Harvard Square area, knowing they were “lost.” So what?
The Herschbach teacher/scientist lecture series recognizes scholars who excel both as scientists and as educators. The lecture series honors emeritus professor Dudley Herschbach, a Nobel-prize winning chemist and a devoted educator.