As a professional development resource for international graduate students, teachers and scholars, we offer programming and individual consultations on:
- Speaking and presentation skills (including English language proficiency);
- Teaching and learning in Harvard classrooms; and
- Intercultural communication.
We support international graduate students and scholars at every stage: from entering GSAS students pursuing the summer English Language Program, to new graduate students who want to prepare to teach or improve their language skills to meet the GSAS Oral English Language requirement, to more advanced graduate students and scholars who want to enhance their classroom teaching or refine their public speaking skills to communicate their research.
Seminars and Workshops
We offer a range of Bok Seminars focusing on the language and culture of the classroom and professional communication specific to the needs of international teachers and scholars. In the spring term we offer a Focus on Culture and Communication workshop series.
The Bok Center provides individual consultations for international faculty, graduate students, and scholars who want to improve their teaching, speaking, or presentation skills.
Undergraduate culture and communication consultants are hired and trained by the Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars to give international graduate students an undergraduate perspective on issues related to teaching and academic life at Harvard. They work as course assistants in Bok courses and seminars to give feedback on both teaching and language skills, and are also available for one-on-one discussion, teaching and language practice.
The Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars provides English language proficiency interviews (OPIs) for non-native English speaking faculty and graduate students at all stages of their academic careers. For those seeking feedback or advice on their English speaking skills, the interview provides a holistic assessment, enables speakers to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and informs strategies that could be used to build proficiency, relevant to contexts from small talk and networking to lecturing and giving formal presentations. The interview also allows us to suggest the most relevant Bok Seminars, workshops or other resources.
Our program also works with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) on the administration of the GSAS Oral English Language Requirement. Incoming G1 students with TOEFL speaking scores lower than 26 will take an OPI during their first semester of study. Students who have not met the language requirement should take an oral communications skills course, and the Bok Center can recommend the best option based on a student's specific case. One option is the Classroom Communication Skills for International TFs course, offered every fall and spring semester at the Bok Center. This student-centered course is designed to help international graduate students develop the oral communication skills necessary to be successful in their graduate programs, with a particular emphasis on skills necessary for teaching in the Harvard classroom. After completing the semester-long course, students will be eligible to be re-screened to determine whether they have met the requirement. Screenings are offered at the end of each term in December, May, and August.