Breakout Sessions

Models and practices (10:40am - 11:40am)

Creating connections & increasing engagement

Improve teaching without changing your syllabus

For faculty, instructors, academic professionals, and students
This session will highlight easily adoptable and adaptable practices for enhancing your teaching (and evaluations). Examples from experienced faculty will be discussed and strategies for implementation will be explored in this interactive session.

Erin Baumann (facilitator), Assistant Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy, SLATE (HKS)
Rebecca Nesson (facilitator), Executive Director of Digital Teaching and Learning (DCE)
Adrienne Phelps-Coco (facilitator), Associate Director for Online Pedagogy (DCE)
Emily Click, Assistant Dean for Ministry Studies and Field Education; Lecturer on Ministry Studies (HDS)
Jonathan Hausmann, Instructor in Medicine (HMS)

How to fail successfully

For faculty and instructors
Good teaching involves challenging students and, occasionally, adjusting and challenging one's methods. Hear about times when colleagues have taken big risks in their teaching; risks that sometimes led to successes and sometimes not. Discuss how you can try new things in your teaching and ensure that even a failure can be a success. 

Sarah Grafman (facilitator), Manager, Instructional Development, HarvardX (CADM)
Sejal Vashi (facilitator), Manager of Digital Learning (SPH)
Peter Bol, Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (CADM); Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations (FAS)
Randall King, Harry C. McKenzie Professor of Cell Biology (HMS)

Looking beyond Harvard: The teaching evaluations landscape

For faculty, instructors, and academic professionals
How do other universities handle teaching evaluations? Join us for a guided tour of examples. The instruments in use can be blunt or overly complex. Practices include home-grown surveys, national instruments such as IDEA, focus groups, interviews, faculty self-evaluations, inter-faculty sharing, narrative analysis, and student-led crowd-sourcing. How do different organizations navigate the options? We will discuss current trends in assessment of teaching effectiveness and highlight ideas that may be transferable to Harvard.     

Kris Markman (facilitator), Director of Digital Learning and User Experience, Harvard Library, (CADM)
Allison Pingree (facilitator), Director of Professional Pedagogy, SLATE (HKS)
Anu Vedantham (facilitator), Director of Learning and Teaching Services for FAS Libraries and Interim Director of Science and Engineering Services, Harvard Library

Which decision-making practices promote excellent teaching?

For faculty, academic administrators, and other academic decision-makers
Designed as an open discussion to share views and experiences across Harvard schools, participants will compare practices in educational decision-making, and discuss how variations in practices lead to different incentives, curricular structures, and levels of commitment to teaching and learning. What criteria are used for approving new courses and how is coherence maintained over time? What is the best way to introduce the value of teaching excellence to new faculty and then reinforce throughout a faculty member’s career? What are the “carrots” and “sticks” and “pressure points” that are effective in a research university setting? Facilitators will guide the discussion to promote information sharing, brainstorming, and idea generation.

Nancy Kane (facilitator), Professor of Management (SPH)
Carolyn Wood (facilitator), Director, Office of Educational Quality Improvement (HMS)
Monica Higgins, Kathleen McCartney Professor of Education Leadership (HGSE)

Ideas and innovations (11:50am - 12:50pm)

Emerging approaches to evaluating learning

For faculty, instructors, and academic professionals
This session will explore both emerging trends in evaluating student learning and connections between evaluating learning and evaluating teaching. The conversation will be anchored by two thought-provoking case studies from different Harvard contexts.

Josh Bookin (facilitator), Assistant Director of Instructional Support, Teaching and Learning Lab (HGSE)
Evan Sanders (facilitator), Associate Director of Curriculum Services (HMS)
Molly Hayes, Instructor in Medicine (HMS)
Richard Schwartzstein, Ellen and Melvin Gordon Professor of Medicine and Medical Education (HMS)
Morgan Soffler, Research Fellow in Medicine (HMS)
Theodore Svoronos, Lecturer in Public Policy (HKS)

Getting the most out of faculty & staff partnerships

For faculty, instructors, and academic professionals
Faculty and staff are busy people, and when they do not have the opportunity to learn about each other’s expertise, it is all too easy for their partnerships to become purely transactional: faculty have a question or encounter a problem, and staff help them resolve it. Universities, however, are meant to be places for experimentation, exploration, and transformation. This session will showcase some exemplary partnerships that have proven effective, and ask the audience to engage in a short exercise to imagine how best to design—and pitch—their ideal partnership.

Adam Beaver (facilitator), Associate Director for Teaching & Learning, Derek Bok Center for Teaching & Learning (FAS)
Lisa Brem (facilitator), Manager, Teaching, Learning & Curriculum Solutions (HLS)
Esme Caramello, Clinical Professor of Law (HLS)
Sheryl Dickey, Attorney Advisor for LL.M. Pro Bono Program (HLS)
Daniel Lord Smail, Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of History; Chair of the Department of History (FAS)

Making the most of student evaluations

For faculty, instructors, and academic professionals
This interactive session will focus on student evaluations of teaching from a developmental (formative) – rather than evaluative (summative) – perspective to explore how student feedback can improve classroom instruction.  As a group, we will (1) reflect on student input that participants would find most valuable; (2) share and discuss diverse approaches to soliciting this input, which extend beyond end-of-term evaluations; and (3) engage with short cases to practice interpreting and utilizing student feedback. Participants will leave the session with practical tools for leveraging student evaluations to improve teaching.

Willis Emmons (facilitator), Director of the C. Roland Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning (HBS)
Alexandra Sedlovskaya (facilitator), Assistant Director, C. Roland Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning (HBS)
William Wisser (facilitator), Director of the Teaching and Learning Lab (HGSE)

Stories of effective and ineffective evaluations of teaching

For faculty, instructors and students
This session is designed to engage our students in a discussion of effective and ineffective evaluations of teaching. We’ll hear from students across the university about their experiences with giving faculty feedback on their teaching. Students’ stories will address questions such as: how have faculty solicited feedback; was student feedback addressed and what impact did this have on their learning; what are the most and least effective modes of soliciting feedback that they have experienced; and how the use of evaluations have impacted their learning overall? Attendees will be challenged to consider modes of evaluation used in their own teaching and how they might modify these to better access and respond to student feedback, with the goal of improving learning outcomes for all students.

Johanna Gutlerner (facilitator), Interim Associate Dean for Planning and Administration in Basic Science, Graduate Education and Global Programs & Lecturer, Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology (HMS)
Jason Heustis (facilitator), Graduate Curriculum, Professional Development and Evaluation Specialist, Program for Graduate Education & Lecturer, Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology (HMS)
Martin Samuels (facilitator), Associate Director for Science and Learning, Derek Bok Center for Teaching & Learning (FAS)