Harvard is piloting a new teaching fellow training focused on diversity, inclusion, and belonging in two Computer Science courses this fall.
The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning; the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and the Computer Science department created the training. It has debuted in Computer Science 121: “Introduction to Theoretical Computer Science” and Computer Science 61: “Systems Programming and Machine Organization.”
The training is composed of two parts, according to Nari G. Johnson ’21, a member of the Harvard Women in Computer Science Advocacy Council and organizer of the program. An asynchronous component on Canvas invites participants to read about diversity, inclusion, and belonging at SEAS. A second component include live discussions, role playing, and personal reflections.
CS 121 teaching fellows and instructors completed their live synchronous training last week in a session led by SEAS Assistant Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Veronica D. Santana and Bok Center Assistant Director of Equity and Inclusion Noelle R. Lopez. The session saw full attendance from the course teaching staff, according to Santana.
Santana and Lopez said they enjoyed working through various scenarios with the CS 121 teaching staff in breakout rooms.
“My favorite one is where a TF or CA is with a student, and the student is just being very quiet. They’ve shown up to the office hour, it’s going on through Zoom,” Santana said. “The person who bravely volunteered to be the CA is just hearing silence from the student who has arrived at their office hour and having to take the lead and, very warmly but still directly and clearly, say, ‘Okay, so what part of the problem are you having an issue with?’”
Another scenario participants grappled with in the program’s asynchronous component involved an undergraduate course