Fall Teaching Conference & Winter Teaching Week

Winter Teaching Week 2022

This January, PhD students at all stages of teaching development are invited to the Bok Center offices at 125 Mt. Auburn Street to learn more about our programs and resources, get new ideas, and recharge before the spring term starts. Join us to reflect on your teaching goals, connect and share with peers from across GSAS, and have fun with teaching!

Winter Teaching Week 2022 will run from Wednesday, January 19 to Friday, January 21.

Full details, session descriptions, and registration information will be posted on December 1.

Please note: Winter Teaching Week is designed for GSAS PhD students and others at similar career stages engaged in the teaching of Harvard College undergraduates.

Fall Teaching Conference 2021

The Fall Teaching Conference is designed to prepare new and experienced PhD student teachers for their roles as Teaching Fellows in the FAS. The conference is informed by our goal of fostering teaching and learning communities in which graduate students, faculty, and undergraduates can teach and learn together in ways inclusive of their diverse backgrounds and identities. 

Through five complementary components, participants will consider best practices, learn about resources available, and collaborate and share advice with TFs across disciplines as we return to campus and in-person teaching.

The 2021 Fall Teaching Conference was held from August 18-26. See the conference schedule at-a-glance.

Fall Teaching Conference Workshop Descriptions

What Does It Mean to Be Part of A Union? Your Rights and HGSU's Next Contract
Wednesday, August 18, 11:00-11:30 am EDT

HGSU-UAW Representatives

This session will provide a brief orientation to the Harvard Graduate Students Union-UAW (HGSU-UAW). We will discuss the benefits and rights contained in our current contract, ways the union can help Teaching Fellows with workplace issues, and mechanisms of contract enforcement, as well as future plans for winning a new contract.

Opening Keynote: The Return to Normal?
Wednesday, August 18, 12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Allan Brandt, Professor of the History of Science and Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine; former Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

What does it mean to be back in the classroom? What do we need to think about as we rejoin our community on campus, after such a tumultuous year? In this opening plenary, hear from Allan Brandt, Professor in History of Science and former GSAS Dean, about what he learned from teaching a course on COVID-19 and how we can think together about the transition back to in-person teaching this fall. This session will explore the important role graduate students play teaching with faculty, supporting undergraduates, and navigating what it means to be a teacher-scholar in a post-pandemic world.

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Equitable and Inclusive Teaching
Thursday, August 19,
12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Adam Beaver, Director of Pedagogy, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Alexis J. Stokes, Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Equitable and inclusive teaching involves cultivating awareness of the dynamics that shape classroom experiences and, critically, how those experiences impact student learning. In this session we’ll introduce some key concepts from the research on inclusive teaching, to help us 1) consider common challenges to fostering equitable and inclusive learning environments, and 2) discuss strategies you can use to create conditions conducive to helping your students feel both welcome and capable of learning effectively in your class. In the first part of the session we will give an overview of key questions and strategies to consider, and then go into breakout discussions to explore classroom scenarios designed to help you deepen your thinking around approaches to teaching inclusively.

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Teaching Across Disciplines
Friday, August 20,
12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Eleanor Finnegan, Assistant Director, Faculty Programming, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

As a graduate student, you may be asked to teach a course outside of your primary area of expertise—whether in a department or program different from your own, or in the Program in General Education. This can be a daunting prospect, but effective teaching ultimately is not just (or even primarily) about mastering or communicating a specific body of content. It is about rendering transparent to students the rules of the disciplinary game(s) they are being asked to play. While they need to understand what they are reading or writing, students also need to understand how they are supposed to read, and why they are writing. What are the questions that “count” in this class? What kinds of data are considered evidence for the claims your students will have to make? What kinds of “moves” are valued here? In this session we will explore how you set priorities, make norms explicit, and frame the content you teach. You will come away with strategies to help you demonstrate that your authority resides as much in what you know about academic inquiry as it does in your knowledge (perhaps only recently acquired!) of your course content.

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Academic Integrity in Education
Monday, August 23,
12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Brett Flehinger, Associate Dean of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
Brigitte Libby, Assistant Dean for Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

What should you know about academic integrity at Harvard College as you prepare to teach this year as students return to the classroom (or enter for the first time)?  This session offers an overview of the Honor Code, the Honor Council, and the most common types of concerns that come to the Council. We will also offer suggestions for how you can help students approach their academic work with integrity and learn as effectively as possible. As James Lang writes in Cheating Lessons (Harvard University Press, 2013, p. 39), “The environments which reduce the incentive and opportunity to cheat are the very ones that…will lead to greater and deeper learning by your students.”

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Teaching with Presence
Tuesday, August 24, 12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Erika Bailey, Head of Voice and Speech, American Repertory Theater; Lecturer on Theater, Dance & Media

We spend most of our time preparing for class by focusing on what we need to cover— what we need to SAY. But are we actually reaching our students? Our physical as well as our vocal presence play an integral role in our ability to communicate our ideas and engage students. This year, after more than a year of being physically distant from each other and teaching within the confines of a Zoom square, we will also be re-introduced to the possibilities of sharing the physical space of a classroom with our students. Using exercises from the theatre, we will discuss strategies to keep students focused while learning, explore how to better use your voice and physical expression, and maximize the possibilities of the newly shared spaces in which we teach and learn. 

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Understanding Title IX and Professional Conduct as a Teaching Fellow
Tuesday, August 24, 3:30-5:00 pm EDT

Seth Avakian, Program Officer for Title IX and Professional Conduct for the FAS
Danielle Farrell, Director of Student Services, GSAS

This session will address principles of professional conduct and classroom management for teachers as it relates to Title IX responsibilities and Harvard’s commitment to gender equity.  We’ll discuss how one balances Harvard University’s commitment to the free exchange of ideas while maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. Participants will learn how to handle a disclosure of a potential violation of the Interim Title IX Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Sexual Misconduct Policies and participate in hypothetical scenarios based on real-life experiences of TFs.

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Instructor, Project Manager, Advocate, Mentor, Judge: Being a Head TF
Wednesday, August 25,
12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Adam Beaver, Director of Pedagogy, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

Want to learn more about how to be an effective Head Teaching Fellow? Looking for a forum to talk through what it’s like to work closely with your coursehead, and to coordinate a larger teaching team? Wondering what is (or isn’t) your responsibility, and where to get help? Join the Bok Center’s Director of Pedagogy and veteran Head TFs for a wide-ranging, informal discussion about the ins and outs of the job. 

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Harvard Undergraduate Perspectives: A Panel for International TFs
Wednesday, August 25,
12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Sarah Emory, Assistant Director, International Teachers and Scholars, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
with an experienced panel of undergraduate Culture and Communication Consultants

Are you a TF who received your undergraduate degree at an institution outside the U.S.? How might the undergraduate experience at Harvard differ from your own experience? What does it mean to be a teaching fellow (TF) and what do Harvard undergraduates expect from TFs? In this interactive panel discussion, undergraduate students will share their perspectives on what makes for a successful TF and discuss how building rapport can help foster an effective learning environment. You will have the opportunity to hear directly from Harvard undergraduate students and ask them questions. Note: Please complete the Teaching as an International Scholar module on the Hit the Ground Running Canvas site in preparation for this session. 

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Let’s Discuss! Making Discussion Meaningful and Engaging 
Thursday, August 26, 9:30-11:00 am EDT

Rebecca Miller Brown, Assistant Director, Graduate Student Programming, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
Julia Judge Mulhall, Bok Pedagogy Fellow 

What makes for an effective discussion in your discipline? How do you balance your goals for the session with student questions and interests? What are strategies you can use to encourage participation from all corners of the class? Join us for a discussion of these and other questions about how to make discussion more meaningful and engaging. We’ll play with the various moves people make in discussing, while asking ourselves how we can introduce students to the idea that discussion, like writing, is a learned skill. New and experienced TFs are welcome.

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Problem Solving in STEM Classes: Engaging Your Students in Section 
Thursday, August 26, 9:30-11:00 am EDT

Yasemin Kalender, Assistant Director, Science Pedagogy, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

Problem solving is a central activity in science, engineering, and math classes. In this workshop, designed for both new and experienced TFs in the STEM disciplines, we will explore strategies for teaching with problems. How and why might you encourage students to work in groups to solve problems? How can you enable a variety of students to participate and share their answers and ideas with the class? This workshop will provide you with practical methods for creating an inclusive classroom environment for all students to learn to solve problems and tackle scientific and mathematical concepts.

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Teaching in Labs: Models for Setting Goals and Prioritizing Time and Material
Thursday, August 26, 12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Yasemin Kalender, Assistant Director, Science Pedagogy, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

Leading laboratory sections can often be one of the most fun and rewarding ways to teach and engage with students. This session is designed to prepare you to lead laboratory sections with confidence. How can you ensure that each student feels at home in the lab? How do you use the lab space and time to maximize student learning? How should you organize your pre-lab talk to the students, and should you save certain tips for later? Should you emphasize the students’ understanding of the lab process, or their experimental outcomes? In this session, we will discuss some tips to help you feel prepared to lead lab sections to maximize student engagement and learning.

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Responding to Student Writing Efficiently and Effectively
Thursday, August 26, 12:30-1:30 pm EDT

Jonah Johnson, Assistant Director for Writing Pedagogy, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning; Head Preceptor in the Writing Program

Have you graded a thousand papers and need some new ideas? Or is grading papers totally new to you? Are you worried about how much time you spend grading? Or how to ensure that your feedback is accurate, consistent, and useful for your students? In this session we’ll discuss best practices for responding to student writing, which will help you grade that next stack of papers more efficiently and effectively. We’ll discuss general principles of giving feedback along with specific questions, including: how to write margin and end comments, how to use your feedback to engage students as writers and thinkers, and how to utilize written feedback to create a more inclusive teaching and learning experience. Note: Please complete the Responding to Student Writing Module on the Hit the Ground Running Canvas site in preparation for this session.

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Soft Skills for Hard Times: Community and Communication in the Classroom
Thursday, August 26, 2:00-3:30 pm EDT

Pamela Pollock, Director of Professional Development, Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

As a PhD student, you likely take for granted a lot of the spaces and routines of academic life, whether it’s the way you use footnotes, the norms and rules of a lab, how you read an article in your discipline, or even how you prepare for and participate in class. As a Teaching Fellow, how do you manage making these norms transparent, while also helping your students feel welcome and ready to learn in your classroom? In many ways, being a TF is like being a host—while it’s not your job to be the center of attention, it is your job to greet your students, to help them get to know you and each other, to provide them with a framework in which they can get the most out of the course, and to check in and see how they are learning and what their experience is. In this session we will explore ways to establish meaningful communication with students in the context of our unsettled post-pandemic times, specifically focused on 1) how to set a positive tone in your section, to help ensure you are supporting students and navigating challenges as they arise, and 2) strategies for getting feedback on how students are learning.

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Check out our TF resource site!

hands typing on laptop

Don’t miss our Hit the Ground Running resource site,which features self-study modules for new TFs on the fundamentals of teaching, as well as modules on equitable and inclusive teaching, responding to student writing, and teaching as an international scholar.