Teaching Students to Teach
New Grants to Pair Professors, Grad Students
As many as eight graduate students may soon get a chance to teach classes alongside professors in an experimental program designed to improve instructional skills.
The so-called Mentorship Grants of about $4300 would enable each of the selected graduate students to learn the teaching craft first-hand from veteran instructors, said Steven E. Ozment, associate dean of undergraduate education, who is supervising the plan.
Besides offering unusual instructional training to the teaching fellows, the program will create more opportunities than currently exist for undergraduates to work closely with Harvard scholars, he said.
The program was publicized last month in a letter to department chairmen, but only six informal inquiries have been received, Ozment said. He speculated that his announcement might have come too late for professors to make new teaching plans for the spring semester.
Ozment has repeatedly said that senior professors should be playing a more active part in the instruction of undergraduates. He has also called for closer attention to the quality of graduate student teaching, given the prominent role teaching fellows play in undergraduate education here.
The Mentorship Grants follow the lead of the so-called Strauch Report, a major study of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences completed last spring. The report recommended that graduate students spend more time on their own research and less time teaching in the College.
Ozment said the new program is consistent with the report's suggestions. The mentorship stipends are higher than regular teaching stipends and would therefore allow participating graduate students to carry lighter teaching loads, he said.