It is our expectation that most graduates of our program will go on to have academic careers. Hence, experience in teaching is an integral part of the graduate training program. This teaching is expected of all students regardless of their source of funding.
Students in the G3-G4 years who do not have outside fellowships or support from advisors will be assured of two sections of teaching per semester. Students are not obligated to do this amount of teaching if they have support elsewhere.
We can also usually provide teaching to students in the G5 or G6 year who are not on the Dissertation Completion Fellowship or other outside funds, but their priority for jobs is less than G3-G4 students with teaching guarantee.
We assign teaching sections based on the enrollment in courses. Since enrollment is not known until after study cards are turned in, we will not know the final number of sections until the second week of classes. We will assign a conservative number of sections based on our best estimate of likely enrollment, but firm appointments for some people will not be made until the second week of classes and there is no guarantee that the expected number of sections will be available. Unfortunately, this means that you may be taking a risk that your job will not materialize, or that we will need to switch your assignment to a different course. We do our best to minimize that risk but to a certain extent it is unavoidable.
Priority for assigning sections, including assigning multiple sections in the same course, will be as follows:
- Psychology graduate students in the 3rd and 4th years who do not have outside funding or RA support from faculty.
- Psychology students in the 2nd year. G2's are limited to teaching in one semester only, with a maximum assignment of two sections in the same course.
- Psychology students beyond the 4th year or who have outside funding.
- Graduate students in the G3-G4 year in other GSAS departments.
- Graduate students in other Harvard schools.
- Graduate students from other universities or other Harvard affiliates, such as post-doctoral fellows.
NSF fellows can teach up to two sections in a single year, but will be ranked lower than students without funding in the Department's priority scheme. NSF fellows may petition the Director of Graduate Studies to teach up to two additional sections, or a full-year tutorial, and must justify this extra teaching on grounds of their own development. It is unlikely that an NSF fellow would receive permission to do a second year of full-year tutorial while receiving the NSF stipend. NRSA fellows may teach one section per semester. Students whose advisers aren't able to offer them summer funding will have first priority for a fifth section in an academic year.
Teacher Training Requirement
All Psychology and Psychology/OB graduate students who are first-time teachers in the Psychology Department are required to take a course to develop teaching skills and strategies. This course must be taken during your first year of teaching in the department. If you do not complete the requirement, you will not be allowed to teach.
(1) TFs: The course is entitled Instructional Styles in Psychology (Psych 3555). This year-long class meets roughly twice a month and includes activities such as attending the Bok Center Fall Teaching Conference, having your section videotaped and reviewed by a Bok Center consultant, participating in a "microteaching" session in which you teach a small amount of material and receive feedback from peers, attending a session on how to improve your presentation style, and participating in a discussion on conceptual change.
(2) Tutors: In addition to PSY 3555, tutors are required to take Teaching Psychology (Psych 3550). It meets roughly one to two times a month throughout the year and is lead by the department's Head Tutor. In addition to attending these meetings, first-time tutorial leaders are required to attend the Bok Center Fall Teaching Conference and have their tutorial taped and reviewed by a Bok Center consultant.
Discussion section classroom assignments
WJH section rooms (those controlled by the Center Office) will not be given out until the day after study cards are in. The reason for the delay is that class enrollments can differ greatly from expectations, or the courses may change to a different time or day, and we often have to reassign these classes to a more appropriate space. Thus we need to keep classroom space available for the regular courses until "shopping period" is over.
More information about teaching fellowships is available from GSAS.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many services offered by the Bok Center for Learning and Teaching.
Teaching Fellows are often responsible for course websites, and should consult the website for Academic Technology for information on training and technical assistance.