Colleague Conversations

HILT hosted lunch and dinner discussions during spring 2016 and learned from about 125 faculty members across the University about their educational backgrounds and the challenges they experience with regard to teaching at Harvard. We also asked them to guide HILT in meeting their interests during events. HILT's 2016 conference was designed to be responsive to what we learned from those discussions.

Want to participate in the next set of lunches and dinners? 

Email: hilt@harvard.edu

An attempt to synthesize and categorize what we learned...

Simple strategies

What are some simple and successful strategies employed by colleagues? Metaphors abounded: What are "low-hanging fruit" ideas, what are the "nudges" that will save time and provide the "biggest bang for the buck," what are the "genius recipes," what are the "bite-sized" innovations?

Student engagement

How do we create a context that results in hard-working, deeply engaged students? What can we do to engage our students such that they work harder on their academics, that they are challenged and transformed by their learning experiences while at Harvard? How do they spend their time?

Evidence-based pedagogies

What is the evidence base for pedagogical strategies? What is Harvard doing to draw on the science of learning, the evidence about what is effective, and to gather more evidence about what works? 

Translatable teaching

For those pedagogies that cross-boundaries, what can we learn from other disciplines? For example, what is generalizable across case-teaching methods? Why does case teaching seem to engage students more and what do they get out of different approaches? 

Student agency

How can we promote student agency? Is it a good thing? When students “own” their learning, the classroom seems to change for the better, but how much “ownership” is good for students and in what ways? Why don’t we listen more to what students say they want? 

Tough questions

Let’s talk about the hard, provocative questions related to educational practices, and broaden our views across time and beyond Harvard. Are we doing our best? Are educational goals inherently at odds with one another? For example, is rigor at tension with enjoyment and becoming an empathic, productive citizen at tension with becoming erudite? What do our students really need to prepare for the future?

Connections and opportunities

Please make connections and opportunities clearer. How can all the great people working to support teaching and learning across the University work more effectively with one another and with faculty? What are complementary relationships, productive redundancies, and areas of new expertise? How do we make the whole greater than the sum of the parts and make it easier to learn from one another?