Vision & Mission

The Bok Center seeks to continuously improve teaching and learning at Harvard by supporting experimentation, innovation, and evidence-based practices.

The Bok Center supports all faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in offering transformational learning experiences based on extensive training and support for their teaching, experimentation and innovation in all learning environments, and rigorous assessment of effective teaching and learning practices.

Our mission is to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at Harvard by:

  • Discovering new and better ways to teach by partnering with faculty and students to catalyze creativity, experimentation and innovation.
  • Cultivating excellent instruction through effective training and support for faculty, graduate students and undergraduates in teaching and scholarly communication.
  • Researching what constitutes effective practice by conducting rigorous assessments of teaching and learning methods in person and online.

What we are all about
The Bok Center offers faculty, graduate student teaching fellows (TFs), and other instructors of Harvard undergraduates a wide variety of training programs and resources to promote better teaching. The Center does not serve the university as a whole but is formally attached to the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, which comprises about half of the university’s resources overall.

Bok Center services are available to anyone teaching Harvard's 6,400 undergraduates - faculty, lecturers, visiting instructors, teaching fellows and assistants, or course assistants - confidentially and without charge. The Center maintains close relations with entities providing teaching support in other Harvard faculties, as well as with those providing student services, but does not deal with undergraduates directly unless (as is true in some mathematics and computer science courses) they are actually teaching other undergraduates.

The Bok Center does not expound a single philosophy of teaching. Instead it works with instructors to develop their abilities in whichever directions they choose, by offering feedback and consultations, especially through the use of classroom videotaping. The largest number of Center clients are drawn from the ranks of graduate student Teaching Fellows, although in recent years the number of faculty making use of the Center has increased substantially.

The Bok Center's formal programs include the fall and winter conferences on teaching; microteaching (a form of supervised practice teaching); videotaping followed by private conferences; workshops in teaching in English for international teaching fellows and faculty; topic-based seminars on discussion leading, writing, science, and case studies; training for new junior faculty; production of DVDs featuring master teachers; and other services to improve undergraduate education.

The Bok Center attempts to serve the national and international higher education community by offering online documents and by publishing books and DVDs on the art of teaching. Special arrangements can be made in advance for visitors from other institutions, depending on the Center's schedule and the availability of Bok Center staff.