Equity and Inclusion

The Bok Center aims to foster teaching and learning communities in which all Harvard students can learn and thrive in ways inclusive of their various backgrounds and identities.

If you are seeking to cultivate greater equity and inclusivity in your Harvard course or learning community, please tell us more about your interest and request a consultation here. Learn more about our approach and programming below.

Our approach to equity and inclusion work involves four cyclical, overlapping stages:

Overhead shot of overlapping multicolored cards with text about teaching on them

Framework & Evidence

We begin from theoretical and research-based frameworks on power dynamics and privilege in the classroom, and we collect student and teacher perspectives on what makes a learning environment equitable and inclusive.

UPFs Sally and Hilda place sticky notes on a large white board


Working with these frameworks and testimonies, we aim to clarify how and where inequity and exclusion manifest in teaching and learning at Harvard—and therefore how and where we can engage partners to produce change. We think about both “technical problems” at the level of classroom teaching technique and “adaptive challenges” at the level of academic culture.

Faculty members look at each other and discuss a workshop that is being presented to them


We (co-)create programming and resources to respond in alignment with the strategy or strategic opportunities that we’ve identified: what kinds of conversations or tools do various courses and learning communities need in order to promote equity and inclusivity in this moment? In what ways can we partner with and support these communities to ensure sustained change? 

A group of undergraduate student fellows and graduate student fellows sit around a white rectangular table with colored cards and printed readings scattered around

Reflection & Iteration

We reflect: what do our actions reveal about the “accuracy” or suitability of the frameworks that guide our thinking and/or how we apply those frameworks to our current context? Where can we make adjustments or develop more sophisticated understandings? 


Faculty and staff sit around a circular table discussing teaching at a seminarFOR FACULTY: Bok Exploratory Seminars offer faculty a collaborative space to deliberate about the most urgent problems and potentially transformational opportunities in Higher Education, with the primary goal of developing interventions that will chart the course of future teaching and learning at Harvard. In the 2020-21 academic year, Bok Exploratory Seminars will focus on anti-racist or critical pedagogy; race, racism, and colonialism in the university curriculum; and/or intersectional and critical approaches to inclusive teaching. See the Call for Applications here.


A stack of books with titles including "Indigenous and Decolonizing Studies in Education," "The Privileged Poor," "Teaching to Transgress," "On Critical Pedagogy," "Becoming a Reflective Teacher, and "On Being"FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS: Bok Seminars are designed for GSAS PhD students at every stage of teaching. Equity and Inclusion-themed Bok Seminars cover topics such as critical pedagogy, classroom culture change, and linguistic diversity.

UPFs Ashley and Skylar present a workshop to faculty

FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS AND FACULTY: The Bok Undergraduate Pedagogy Fellows (UPF) program was created with the goal of improving access, equity, and inclusivity in learning experiences at Harvard College. The UPFs’ workshop, "An Introduction to Undergraduate Identities," aims to ensure that participants leave with insights into the Harvard undergraduate experience, as well as a framework and techniques for engaging complex issues of identity, power, and privilege in the classroom. Request a workshop Here.


Ming Li, Noelle, and Eleanor present a workshop at Fall Teaching ConferenceFOR GRADUATE STUDENTS: The Bok Center holds a Fall Teaching Conference and Winter Teaching Week each year. These pre-semester conferences offer new Teaching Fellows a chance to prepare for the semester, as well as for more experienced teachers and scholars to continue to develop their skills and to explore areas of interest in teaching and learning. One or more sessions on equitable and inclusive teaching are offered at these events.



Christina Ciocca Eller points to a screen while presenting a Faculty LunchFOR FACULTY: The Bok Center hosts an annual series of Faculty Lunch conversations on aspects of teaching and learning, some of which specifically engage with questions of equity and inclusion. Each lunch is moderated by one or more faculty colleagues, who share their experiences in the classroom and lead a broad discussion of the lessons learned and opportunities for adaptation.


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