The fact that one's teaching, unlike the other spheres of faculty life, is relatively free from the constant scrutiny of peer review can be a relief. But it can also make teaching less social or experimental than it might otherwise be. At the Bok Center we are happy to meet one-on-one with faculty about any teaching-related matter, whether it be how to incorporate pedagogy into a grant application, how to respond to student feedback, or how to teach in a new way or at a new scale.
Many funding schemes (most notably the NSF CAREER Program) request that faculty applying for research support articulate (1) one or more ways in which their proposed research will benefit non-specialists and/or society at large and (2) an effective plan for assessing the efficacy of the proposal. Incorporating a pedagogical initiative into your grant proposal (whether an event, like a student- or community-facing open day, or a longterm plan, like a course in which students will be engaged directly in the funded research) can be an exciting way to demonstrate impact and give back to the Harvard community. The Bok Center often consults with faculty about how best to incorporate pedagogical initiatives into a grant application, as well as how to write a meaningful assessment plan.
Feedback and Other Consultations
We encourage all instructors to collect feedback from their students, as it gives one the chance not only to see what is (or is not) working as expected in one's class, but also to have a conversation with students about why and how one is teaching in a particular way. That said, it can be difficult to interpret some of the feedback we receive, or to know how best to change something about the way we are teaching—particularly when a course changes in scale, as when a small seminar swells into a large lecture class. The Bok Center's senior staff would be happy to sit down with faculty to review and discuss their experience of a course, or their plans for future offerings.