FAS Highlights Pedagogy in Videos

The Faculty of Arts Sciences launched its “Great Teachers” video series Wednesday, a project which highlights pedagogy in video clips that showcase the teaching methods of prominent professors across the University.

“What we want to capture in this series and bring to the world is the excitement of intellectual inquiry in Harvard’s classrooms,” said Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds.

The videos, which range from a few minutes to more than an hour in length, include interviews with featured professors, their students, and their colleagues. In some cases, the videos also include full-length samples of the faculty members’ undergraduate lectures.

“We hope these videos will illustrate for viewers the type of exciting and important conversations that happen here every day between our faculty and students,” said FAS Dean Michael D. Smith.

The initial videos produced by the project—which was created in concert with Harvard’s 375th anniversary—features four faculty members: physics and history of science professor Peter L. Galison ’77, physics professor Lisa Randall ’84, music professor Thomas F. Kelly, and law professor Jonathan L. Zittrain.

Smith said that the program aims to feature two additional professors before the semester’s end and six more each semester in the years to come.

“People outside of Harvard sometimes don’t know how much effort goes into teaching here and how important teaching is here,” said Galison, whose course Science of the Physical Universe 17: “The Einstein Revolution,” is one of the lectures featured in the first batch of videos. “One of the goals is to show that—the variety and depth of teaching.”

Although the new video series is primarily directed at audiences outside of Harvard, including prospective students, Galison said that he hopes the new series will become a “shared resource” for Harvard faculty to gain exposure to the teaching of their colleagues.

“I hope they’ll be useful for us, to see how we variously approach teaching,” Galison said.

Created in collaboration with the Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, the video series is part of a broader effort by FAS to bring high-quality teaching to the forefront of the school’s mission.

Last October, FAS received a $40 million grant from Law School alumni Gustave M. and Rita E. Hauser to fund the Harvard Initiative on Learning and Teaching, which officially kicked off at a University-wide symposium in February,

In addition, Smith has cited teaching and learning as one of the school’s main priorities in the upcoming capital campaign.

—Staff writer Radhika Jain can be reached at radhikajain@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Kevin J. Wu can be reached at kwu@college.harvard.edu.

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