Back Again: The Return to In-Person Teaching

Like many instructors and students across the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, we at the Bok Center are excited about returning to a fully residential campus and in-person teaching in the fall of 2021. A key part of our mission is to develop a sense of Harvard as an intergenerational community in which everyone is both a teacher and a learner; while we have seen so many impressive examples of collaboration and community-building in Zoom classrooms over the past year, we all yearn to be together again in one place.

At the same time, we are mindful of the fact that describing the fall of 2021 as a "return to normal" also risks obscuring or minimizing the very real hardships of the past year and the lasting mark that the pandemic will leave upon our community. We return to campus and to the classroom changed by our individual and collective experiences of COVID-19, racial injustice, and our volatile national politics.

At the Bok Center, we will be doing our best to support instructors and students alike as they return to campus in the Fall of 2021, hosting events and sharing resources designed to help us all reflect on what it means to be teaching and learning at Harvard now. Look to this page and our regular newsletter for our latest updates.

Advice for Faculty on Navigating Academic Continuity, Spring 2022
(updated 14 January 2022)

The Bok Center's Guidance on Teaching While Masked
(updated 30 August 2021)

The Bok Center's "Back Again" Strategies and Resources Handout for the Fall Teaching Conference

Want to talk to someone about returning to the classroom?

Visit office hours (M, W, Th 10:30–11:30)  Join by Zoom

Request a consultation  faculty  graduate students


Matthew R. Johnson, "10 Course Policies to Rethink on Your Fall Syllabus," The Chronicle of Higher Education (11 August 2021).

Beth McMurtrie, "Teaching: When Your Classes Start, How Will You Assess Students?," The Chronicle of Higher Education (5 August 2021).

Beckie Supiano, "The Other Freshman Class," The Chronicle of Higher Education (24 June 2021).

Samuel J. Abrams, "Why I Will Miss Zoom Teaching," The Chronicle of Higher Education (11 June 2021).

Beth McMurtrie, "Teaching: Why an Active-Learning Evangelist Is Sold on Online Teaching," The Chronicle of Higher Education (27 May 2021).

Flower Darby, "7 Dos & Don’ts for Post-Pandemic Teaching With Technology," The Chronicle of Higher Education (5 May 2021).

Helen Rudoler, "Professors say some pandemic-induced changes to teaching styles are here to stay," The Daily Pennsylvanian (9 April 2021).

Meera S. Nair and Andy Z. Wang, "While Most Surveyed Faculty Satisfied with Transition to Remote, 80% Say Virtual Learning Less Valuable for Students," The Harvard Crimson (5 April 2021).

Beth McMurtrie, "Teaching: After the Pandemic, What Innovations Are Worth Keeping?" The Chronicle of Higher Education (1 April 2021).

Beth McMurtrie, "Good Grades, Stressed Students: They struggled with online learning last fall, but not always in the ways you might expect," The Chronicle of Higher Education (17 March 2021).

Viet Thanh Nguyen, "I Actually Like Teaching on Zoom," The New York Times (15 February 2021).

Betsy Barre, "The Workload Dilemma," Wake Forest Center for the Advancement of Teaching (22 January 2021).

Sarah Brown, "A ‘Trauma Informed’ Return to Campus," The Chronicle of Higher Education (27 July 2021).

Alvin Powell, "Why returning to 'normal' feels so not," The Harvard Gazette (1 July 2021).

"Education Now: The Power of Resilience," Harvard Graduate School of Education (5 May 2021).

"COVID-19 Rages On Globally. Here Are Resources to Help," Harvard Business Publishing (3 May 2021).

Joshua Eyler, "On Grief & Loss: Building a Post-Pandemic Future for Higher Ed without Losing Sight of Our Students and Ourselves," Plymouth State University (30 April 2021).

Paul T. Corrigan, "Facilitating Challenging Student Conversations in & after COVID," Wake Forest Center for the Advancement of Teaching (1 April 2021).

Mays Imad, "Transcending Adversity: Trauma-Informed Educational Development," To Improve the Academy 39(3) (2021).

Cathy Davidson, "The Single Most Essential Requirement in Designing a Fall Online Course," HASTAC Blog (11 May 2020).

Janice Carello and Lisa D. Butler, "Potentially Perilous Pedagogies: Teaching Trauma Is Not the Same as Trauma-Informed Teaching," Journal of Trauma & Dissociation (2014): 153–168.

Karen Costa, "Trauma-Aware Teaching Checklist;" based on the CDC's 6 Guiding Principles To A Trauma-Informed Approach.

Harvard University Guidance for On Campus Activity

"Planning for Fall 2021," Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

"Update on return-to-campus planning," Office of the President.

Keep Harvard Healthy [includes COVID-19 Dashboard]

"Harvard's Hard Reset Is Our Shot at a New Normal," The Harvard Crimson (27 May 2021).

Alex M. Koller and Taylor C. Peterman, "Khurana Says College Preparing to Support Students in Transition to In-Person Fall," The Harvard Crimson (27 April 2021).

John S. Rosenberg, "Harvard Pilots In-Person Teaching for the Fall Semester," Harvard Magazine (16 April 2021).

Meera S. Nair and Andy Z. Wang, "No Wellness Days This Fall: FAS Planning To Follow Normal Academic Calendar, House Larger-Than-Normal Student Population," The Harvard Crimson (8 April 2021).

Alex M. Koller and Taylor C. Peterman, "Harvard College Students Will Live on Campus, Learn in Person in Fall 2021, FAS Announces," The Harvard Crimson (23 March 2021).

"COVID-19 Rages On Globally. Here Are Resources to Help," Harvard Business Publishing (3 May 2021).

Adam Grant, "There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing," The New York Times (19 April 2021 [updated 4 May 2021]).

Danielle Farrell, "B-2 B-Well: Navigating the Return—Together. Coming back to campus post-COVID," Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (15 April 2021).

Amita Sudhir, "What My Vaccinated Doctor Friends and I Have Been Doing for Months," Slate (12 April 2021).

Andee Tagle and Clare Schneider, "Do We Even Know How To Socialize Anymore?," NPR LifeKit (4 April 2021).

Kristin Stoller, "Ring Lights And Late Nights: How The Remote Revolution Has Changed The Workforce," Forbes (11 March 2021).

Ellen Cushing, "Late-Stage Pandemic Is Messing With Your Brain," The Atlantic (8 March 2021).