Cultivating communities of practice in graduate student teaching

Awardee: Nonie Lesaux (HGSE)

Summary: Awardee plans to develop a formal model of professional development for doctoral students who serve as teaching fellows.

"We realized that we needed a differentiated model to support our teaching fellows who have very active roles in our courses . . . — Nonie Lesaux

Fellows teaching fellows . . . and faculty

Through "Cultivating communities of practice in graduate student teaching," HGSE teaching fellows took charge of their own learning, creating resources useful to them as well as faculty. 

Using a peer-consulting network and a weekly e-blast called Collected Wisdom, fellows began to share teaching ideas and provide one another with timely teaching tips. The team also curated a set of protocols that feature practices for the Higher Ed classroom. 

Today, the majority of the HGSE's teaching fellows read Collected Wisdom, and the protocols are proving a valuable teaching resource not just for fellows, but faculty too.

The project also inspired a University-wide publication, Into Practice, an e-letter highlighting the pedagogical practices of individual faculty members from across schools as well as just-in-time, evidence-based teaching advice. Into Practice, which debuted in 2015, is coordinated by the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning and is distributed on a bi-weekly basis to active instructors at Harvard.