Dean Knowles on Teaching Fellows
The undergraduate spoke with Jeremy Knowles, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, about the decision this spring to make modifications in the appointment of teaching fellows. According to Knowles:
"The discussion began with a concern about the ability of TFs to speak English. In a few departments, particularly in the sciences, graduate students routinely help with elementary courses soon after their arrival at Harvard. In the humanities, they often wait two or three years before they do any teaching.
"The Faculty Council discussed this, and felt that we should be concerned with more than just [teaching fellows'] linguistic ability—we should be concerned with their teaching ability in general.
"We therefore required each department to describe its plans for screening all TFs before they enter the classroom. We allowed departments either to use the Bok Center or to create their own programs since the expectations and demands upon TFs are somewhat discipline specific. My concern was that we should not put anyone unable to lead and teach in [charge of] an undergraduate section."