The small and dedicated HILT team is made up of the individuals listed below. These colleagues, though, work with a very large HILT community comprised of hundreds of individuals. Many members of that community are reflected across this website. For example, through grant project teams, the TLC and affinity groups, the student network, and faculty participation in our colleague conversations. As Faculty Director of HILT, I invite you to be in touch with members of the team or me directly to get involved with our collective work to facilitate innovation and excellence in learning and teaching at Harvard.

– Dustin Tingley, Faculty Director, Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching



Nick Wilson headshot

Nick Wilson

Director of Teaching Innovation

Nick provides leadership and vision for the HILT program and teaching and learning activities across Harvard as well as oversight of the HILT team, portfolio of activities, and events. Working across the University by liaising with Deans of Schools, faculty, and academic professional colleagues in the schools, Nick collaborates on the design and implementation of an innovative educational programs.

A trained learning scientist, Nick earned his Ed.D. and M.Ed. in Learning Technologies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University. Prior to joining HILT, he held positions at the Stanford University Center for Teaching and Learning, Boston University Center for Teaching and Learning, and Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning through Research at Northeastern University. Nick’s work has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals and edited books, including the Journal of the Learning Sciences, Cognition and Instruction, and Educational Technology Research & Development. He has presented internationally at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences, the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, and the International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, among other venues.

Melissa Tarr headshot

Melissa Tarr

Assistant Director of Programs

As HILT’s Assistant Director of Programs, Melissa develops, implements, and oversees innovative programs and communications to increase the initiative’s visibility and cross-school collaborations. She is collaborates with the Director on program assessment and strategic planning for HILT, and is responsible for ensuring cohesive programming and alignment with VPAL strategic priorities.

Prior to joining HILT in September of 2015, she worked in the Controller’s Office at New England Law | Boston for seven years. Melissa earned her M.B.A. with a dual concentration in Public & Nonprofit Management and Leadership & Organizational Transformation at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. She received a B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Political Science from the University of Maine at Farmington.

Cassie McGrath headshot

Cassie McGrath

Manager of Programs and Administration

As HILT’s Manager of Programs and Administration, Cassie handles an assortment of programs and administrative tasks to support HILT’s overall mission of catalyzing innovation and excellence in learning and teaching. She manages Signature Events, Colleague Conversations, amongst other programs. She also assists with specialized strategic projects and events.

Prior to joining HILT in May of 2018, Cassie was a Program Coordinator for the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard for almost four years. Cassie has a Masters in Management from the Harvard Extension School as well as a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Anthropology from Northeastern University.

Alisha Vernet headshot

Alisha Vernet

Program Coordinator

As HILT’s Program Coordinator, Alisha provides a wide range of support in developing and implementing strategies to promote effective programming and foster connectivity across multiple audiences within Harvard and beyond. Her responsibilities encompass managing outward-facing communications, including email campaigns, social media presence, and website content for HILT. Collaborating closely with the rest of the team Alisha actively contributes to HILT’s high-priority programming such as Signature Events, Colleague Conversations, and HILT’s Annual Teaching and Learning Conference. 

Prior to joining HILT, Alisha worked as an Online Learning Facilitator for Harvard Business School. Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Northeastern University.