Update from the Program in General Education
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Dear Gen Ed & Humanities TFs,

I hope your courses got off to a smooth start this term!
This email addresses the following top

  • Upcoming Events & Deadlines
    • Presidents' Day Holiday (Mon., Feb. 20)
    • Add/Drop Deadline (Tues., Feb. 21)
  • Reminders
    • Verify Course Enrollment
    • Release Unneeded Section Rooms
  • Approaching the Middle of Term
    • Midterm Course Evaluation/Early Feedback
    • Reporting Students' Midterm Progress
    • Students Encountering Difficulties
  • Pedagogical Support
    • Writing Center Support for Your Students
    • TF Workshops on Responding to Student Writing

Please note that all Head TF emails throughout the term can be found on the Gen Ed website.

More information on the above topics can be found in Teaching in Gen Ed. If you have any questions as you prepare for the start of term, please don't hesitate to contact your course coordinator.

Laura E. Hess, Ph.D.  ▪  Associate Director
Program in General Education  ▪  Harvard College
Smith Campus Center 4th floor ▪  (617) 495-3002

Upcoming Events & Deadlines
Presidents' Day Holiday
Monday, February 20th, is Presidents’ Day. This is a University Holiday. No classes will be held and administrative offices, including the Gen Ed office, will be closed.

Add/Drop Deadline
Students can add or drop courses only until Tuesday, February 21st, but must pay a small fee. They need an instructor’s permission to add a course, but can drop a course without this. Remind students to request instructor permission in my.harvard as soon as possible if they wish to add your course (these requests are accessible in my.harvard in the “Requests” button at the far right under “My Courses”). Students may not be added to a section until they appear on the Registrar’s course list and they cannot access materials on the course website that are limited to enrolled students only. Learn more about handling instructor permission requests.
Verify Course Enrollment
Now is a good time to review your course enrollment, if you have not already done so. The class list on the course website is the Registrar’s list of students enrolled in the course. It is especially important to review your class list if you’ve had students adding or dropping the course. You may wish to ask your teaching staff to make sure that those students who are attending section are all listed as enrollees on your class list. It is also a good idea to make sure you do not have anyone on your class list who has not sectioned or who is not attending section. Enrollment changes can take place until the February 21st add/drop deadline mentioned immediately above.

Release Unneeded Section Rooms
If you no longer need rooms that you had previously reserved for section meetings, please contact the room scheduler and release the rooms so that they are available for other courses.
Approaching the Middle of Term
Midterm Course Evaluation/Early Feedback
Even though midterm is still a few weeks away, now may be a good time to get feedback from students about how things are going in the course so far. The Bok Center website has a variety of suggested midterm course evaluation forms and helpful tips. Additionally, the Bok Center provides helpful services such as video consultation and class observation, which Gen Ed Pedagogy Fellows Lulie El-Ashry, Billy French, and Andrew Yegian can conduct. The Fellows are also happy to help you review any midterm feedback you get.

Reporting Students' Midterm Progress
Your course head has recently received information from the Registrar’s Office about recording midterm progress in my.harvard. Once the midterm reporting tool opens, your course head can give you proxy access to enter midterm progress reports and you can continue to submit progress reports until the end of the term when final grading begins. These progress reports are used only for advising and counseling purposes, and will not be part of the student’s record. Reports are e-mailed directly to the student’s academic team, and also become an advising note, which will display to the student’s direct advisors via the advising journal. Learn more about reporting midterm progress.

Students Encountering Difficulties
If you have any students – particularly freshmen – encountering academic difficulties (e.g., section absences, changes in behavior or attitude, failure to submit course work), we encourage you to talk with your course head about when and why you might notify the student’s Resident Dean. You should also feel free to contact me (, 495-3002) with any questions or concerns. A student who is struggling in your class is likely to be struggling in other classes as well. Contacting a Resident Dean can be incredibly helpful for students who are struggling, and is in no way viewed as policing them.
Pedagogical Support
Writing Center Support for Your Students
The Writing Center is a place where students can get help with any aspect of their writing, from specific assignments to general writing skills. The Center would be happy to send a tutor to visit lecture and briefly introduce their services or to provide a slide that could be integrated into the lecture slides. You might wish to suggest this to your course head or, if you prefer, let us know and we can contact the faculty member.  To arrange for a tutor’s visit or a lecture slide, please contact Writing Center Director Jane Rosenzweig at or (617) 496-6861.

TF Workshops on Responding to Student Writing
Would you like to learn how to respond to student writing more effectively? More efficiently? Assign grades with greater consistency and transparency? Help your students become stronger writers? Consider contacting the Harvard Writing Project (HWP) to schedule a workshop on responding to student writing.
HWP consultants can help teaching fellows learn how to encourage their students to write better, more persuasive papers. HWP consultants are available to help organize special TF training sessions, lead workshops on responding to student writing at staff meetings, and develop course-specific teaching guides. HWP consultants routinely offer workshops on the following topics:
  • Responding to Student Writing
  • Evaluating Student Writing
  • Designing Writing Assignments
  • Teaching Writing Process
Workshop topics may also be tailored to the specific needs of a department or course, and typically run between one and two hours. Please contact James Herron, Director of the Harvard Writing Project, at, if you would like to set up a workshop for your course or department.
Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center
1350 Massachusetts Avenue 
Cambridge, MA 02138

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