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Harvard: research vs teaching

With the support of the university’s interim president, Derek Bok, nine prominent professors at Harvard are leading an effort to rethink the culture of undergraduate teaching and learning. The group headed by Theda Skocpol, a social scientist member of the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), issued a report calling for sweeping institutional change, including continuing evaluation and assessment of teaching and learning. She proposed that teaching should be weighed equally with contributions to research in annual salary adjustments. The report responds to a central paradox about teaching encountered by scholars in the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS): devoted teachers abound, yet many faculty members, graduate, teaching fellows, and undergraduates doubt that the university values and rewards excellence in teaching. Teachers labour in “pedagogical solitude,” doubting that others will recognise their key achievements, and wondering whether Harvard will reward contributions to pedagogical excellence, as it does breakthroughs in academic research. Consulting widely and assembling information on practices across Harvard and at other universities, the group has carefully assessed the current situation and is looking for ways to improve the civic culture of teaching. The report serve as an executive summary of their conclusions and outlines a compact to enhance teaching and learning at Harvard. Report