Update from the Program in General Education
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Dear Gen Ed and Humanities colleagues,
As we approach the start of term, I want to draw your attention to four important topics:

1. Important Information as You Finalize Your Syllabus

  • Scheduling Final Exams & Final Papers/Projects 
  • Honor Code, Affirmations, & Collaboration Statements
    • Course Hero

2. Spring Term Reminders

  • Canvas
  • Reserve Reading Lists
  • Changes to TF Allocations & Room Assignments after the Course Registration Deadline
  • Reminder about Sectioning
  • Head TF Emails (Opt-in)
3. Supporting Your TFs 
  • (We have notified TFs directly about pedagogical support and training, and would be grateful if you would also encourage them to take advantage of these opportunities)
  • Head TFs
  • All TFs
4. Gen Ed Update 
  • New Requirements Beginning Fall 2018
  • New and Existing Courses in the Renewed Program
  • Interested in Learning More?

 Please scroll down to learn more about these topics.
Apologies for the length of this email and for any duplicate information it may contain.  The material may also be found on the Pedagogical Support and Resources for Faculty page of the Gen Ed website, which includes a Syllabus Checklist and Collegial Tips for Teaching in Gen Ed that you may find helpful.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns as the semester begins.
Stephanie H. Kenen
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education
Administrative Director of the Program in General Education
Harvard College
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, 4th Floor

1.  Important Information as You Finalize Your Syllabus
    Due to increasing costs and volume, we are no longer able to provide photocopies of full syllabi for the first week of classes.  However, to promote “green classrooms” and reduce paper waste and excessive copying costs, we encourage you to create an abbreviated syllabus to distribute to students during the first week of classes.  We ask that you limit the abbreviated paper syllabus to no more than a single page, which could be double-sided, and refer students to the full syllabus posted on the Canvas website.  See Creating a First-Week Syllabus to learn more or see examples of abbreviated syllabi. 
  • Scheduling Final Exams & Final Papers/Projects
    We want to remind you that the FAS faculty rules mandate that final papers, take-home exams,  projects, presentations and other culminating course assignments due after the end of regular classes on Wednesday, April 26th, must be due on or before the day of each course’s assigned Examination Group, but no earlier than the fourth day of Reading Period (Sunday, April 30th).  Final projects that include individual or group presentations may be scheduled beginning on Sunday, April 30th, and may extend through the Final Examination and Project Period (Thursday, May 4th – Saturday, May 13th). 

    We strongly encourage you to stick to the due-date assigned by the Registrar’s Office.  Last year, many faculty opted for the earliest due date possible.  This left many students scrambling to finish their work in a compressed time frame, which undermined the intent and effectiveness of the new legislation.
  • Honor Code, Affirmations, & Collaboration Statements
    To support academic integrity at Harvard and the Honor Code, faculty have been asked to include a statement about academic integrity and the Honor Code on their syllabus and course website, along with the Collaboration Statement that has been in place for a few years.  If you can address academic integrity and how it relates to your course, students will greatly appreciate it.  You and your teaching staff may find Honor Code: Resources for Faculty particularly helpful. 
    • Course Hero
      It has come to our attention that some students are posting course materials (ranging from course syllabi and lecture slides to papers and problem-set solutions) to a for-profit website: Course Hero.  We strongly encourage you to check the site to see if any materials relevant to your course are posted there.  If you find materials from your course there and wish to file a complaint, you must fill in a copyright infringement notification form.  

      We also encourage you to address this type of sharing of materials in the Honor Code/Collaboration statement on your syllabus.
2.  Spring Term Reminders
  • Canvas
    A reminder that Canvas is the default platform for FAS course websites.  To locate your course website, log in to my.harvard and find your course.  When you click on the course description, you will see a link to the course website at the top left. 

    Students have begun looking at courses in my.harvard, which links directly to course websites, so please be sure to publish your course’s Canvas site as soon as you have had the opportunity to update it.  Please make sure that an updated syllabus is available as soon as possible. 

    Contact the Academic Technology Group (ATG) for Canvas help. 
  • Reserve Reading Lists
    While fewer students have been accessing library reserves in recent years, they are still an important resource for many of our students.  Please consider submitting a request for reserve readings for your course.  Learn more about library reserves. 
  • Changes to TF Allocations & Room Assignments after the Course Registration Deadline
    The Course Registration Deadline is Friday, January 27th.  I will be in touch over the weekend to make any necessary adjustments to TF allocations and to determine if we need to make any changes to classroom assignments.  As always, I’ll be checking in with you during the first week of classes to see how things are going.  Remember that I cannot make changes to section allocations before enrollments are final.  
  • Reminder about Sectioning
    Because section allocations aren’t finalized until after the Course Registration Deadline, we recommend that courses wait until enrollments are final to section.  You might wish to review our sectioning guidelines.

    Thus, required sections ordinarily can’t begin until the week of February 6th.  Section room requests are confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis, so TFs should request classrooms for sections as soon as possible.  However, the Classrooms Office will not begin confirming section-room requests until after lecture-room assignments have been adjusted as needed after the Course Registration Deadline (which can take a few days).  The Classrooms Office may also initially approve section-room requests for only the first week of section, when they are still adjusting lecture-room assignments. 
  • Head TF Emails (Opt-in) 
    Throughout the term, we send Head TFs (and TFs in courses without a Head TF) regular email updates with reminders about important dates, information relevant to teaching in their courses, and answers to some frequently asked questions.  Please let Gen Ed Associate Director Laura Hess know if you would like us to copy you on these emails. 
3.  Supporting Your TFs
(We have notified TFs directly about pedagogical support and training, and would be grateful if you would also encourage them to take advantage of the following opportunities.)
  • Head TFs
    Head TF Orientation
    Tuesday, January 17, 1-3
    Head TFs learn what they need to know to prepare for the term and what resources are available to support them.  
  • All TFs
    • Bok Center Winter Teaching Week
      (January 17-20) All TFs should attend as many sessions as possible, regardless of their teaching experience. 
      • Any Gen Ed & Humanities TFs new to teaching are expected to attend the session on “Fundamentals of Teaching” (in the humanities and social sciences or in STEM courses) on Thursday, January 19th.
      • Any Gen Ed TFs teaching in Gen Ed for the first time are expected to attend the “Teaching in Gen Ed” session on Friday, January 20th
      • Any Gen Ed & Humanities TFs who did not attend a Title IX training session in the past year and a half are expected to attend the Title IX training session on Friday, January 20th.  
    • Practice-Teaching Sessions (aka Microteaching)
      Gen Ed’s Pedagogy Fellows are available to facilitate practice-teaching sessions for your course staff, either before or after the start of term.  If interested, please contact Gen Ed Associate Director Laura Hess
4.  Gen Ed Update
  • New Requirements
    Last spring, the Faculty approved a new set of College requirements, which provide more focused attention to the aims of the Program in General Education while giving students more opportunities to explore different intellectual domains. The new requirements will go into effect in Fall 2018, at which point all courses currently in the Program will be retired.  In the meantime, the College is providing students with much more flexibility in how they can meet the current requirements. In the fall, this new flexibility resulted in unexpected swings in Gen Ed enrollments.  It is likely that spring enrollments will be lower than they have been in recent years.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  (See the Gen Ed website to learn how students will benefit from the changes to the Gen Ed Program and how they will be advised to fulfill their requirements during the transition.  Please encourage students to contact us with any questions or concerns they might have.)
  • Courses for the Renewed Program
    If you are interested in proposing an existing course or new course for inclusion in the renewed Gen Ed program, please see distinctive features of courses in the renewed program, guidelines and expectations of faculty and courses in the renewed program, and the course proposal process.  We invite you to attend an informational lunchtime meeting with Ned and me to discuss the course and its fit for the Program.  These sessions are scheduled from 12-1:30 throughout the spring term (see a list of dates).  Please RSVP to if you wish to attend, so we can be sure to order enough food.  (And please note any dietary restrictions.)  To propose a course, please complete the online letter of interest form
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