The Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching (HILT) is planning a University-wide symposium designed to engage faculty and students in dialogue and debate, while sharing ideas and information about pedagogical innovation.
The conference on Feb. 3 will bring together members of the Harvard community with leading scholars and teachers from both the University and beyond its gates to share their perspectives on teaching and learning in higher education. The session will be held in Harvard’s Northwest Science Building.
Developed as part of a $40 million gift from Rita E. and Gustave M. Hauser, the event aims to stimulate discussion around evidence-based innovation in education. Sessions will pose key questions and offer perspectives aimed at helping to inform future pedagogies; to showcase novel, inventive, or exceptional approaches to teaching; and to forge connections across the University and beyond. Organizers hope that participants will, in effect, become students during the daylong symposium, learning new teaching techniques and strategies that they can use in their classrooms and share with colleagues.
“We will provide the means and encouragement to faculty to teach in new, exciting ways,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “We will embrace opportunities to harness technology. We will support a cycle of creativity and renewal by evaluating methods and courses and programs, by experimenting and letting ourselves fail in some instances so that we can be bold enough to succeed in others.”
A series of interactive breakout sessions will highlight improved learning through innovation in practice. There will be three keynote discussions, including “The Science of Learning,” “Innovation in Higher Education,” and “Looking to the Future.”
Participants include Steven Pinker, the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology and Harvard College Professor; John Palfrey, Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and faculty co-director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society; and Harvard Provost Alan Garber.
Simultaneously, HILT will sponsor a resource fair open to the Harvard community. The fair, located in the Northwest Building’s garden level, will feature representatives from the University’s teaching and learning centers, related interfaculty initiatives, academic technology resources, museums, and libraries.
Seating for the event is limited. Faculty, students, and staff interested in attending can apply for tickets. Segments of the symposium will also be streamed live from 8:15 to 10 a.m. and from 10:30 to noon at www.harvard.edu/livestream.
The Hausers’ gift launched the initiative in October and is meant to serve as a catalyst for transforming students’ educational experience. The fund enables the University to marshal its considerable intellectual resources to engage a new generation of students with pioneering teaching practices, building on the long history of educational reform at Harvard.