Teaching and Course Preparation

Guide for Instructors 2014-2015

The Guide for Instructors (2014-2015) was written and created our Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Rachel Myer. It discusses four core areas of undergraduate teaching in the Department of Sociology: grading, workload, teaching fellows, and course administration. Although it is specifically geared towards the teaching of undergraduate students, it could be useful for all types of instruction at Harvard and within the Sociology department.


Deborah De Laurell (deborahd@wjh.harvard.edu) schedules Sociology courses in WJH Sociology classrooms (450, 501, and 601).  Each of these classrooms has a built-in projector for computer-based presentations.  


Harvard University requires that copyright permission be acquired for all course materials.  Materials that are linked via Hollis have their copyright permissions paid for by the library.  Extensive information about copyrights can be found at the Office of the General Counsel website under Publications and Advisories.

Course Packs

Gnomon Copy (617-491-1111) is willing to clear copyrights, and create and sell your course pack for you. Selections from books are restricted to 10% of the book. Many faculty find it easier to provide PDFs of course material on their course web pages, eliminating the need for a course pack.  In either event, it is important to begin the process early.  See Deborah De Laurell (deborahd@wjh.harvard.edu) for more detailed information on course pack preparation.

Course Web Pages

The Academic Technology Group is available to help you create course web pages using the Canvas platform. Instructors have automatic editing access to the sites for their own courses and may grant privileges to others. To visit your course site, logon to my.harvard.edu.

Desk copies

For books that have been adopted for a class, you can request desk copies for you and your teaching fellows through your faculty assistant. Please request these titles early so that they can be ordered to arrive in time for the beginning of classes.


The Registrar handles scheduling of final examinations, but instructional staff is responsible for administration of the exam including photocopying of the exam, exam books, and proctoring. Please see Odette or Deb in the main office for exam books.

Information for Faculty Offering Instruction in Arts and Sciences can answer many of your questions about course administration.

Instructional Lunch Fund

If you meet specific criteria the FAS will provide funds for administrative lunches with your teaching fellows. Funds are available from the Office of Undergraduate Education to facilitate regular meetings over lunch (or breakfast, coffee, etc.) between instructors and their section leaders to discuss course-related matters.

Seminar Expenses

Because seminar budgets are limited and all expense reimbursements come under close scrutiny, it is critical that you see Nancy Branco (nbranco@wjh.harvard.edu) before discussing air travel and hotel expenses with speakers or with your joint-seminar counterparts at other institutions.

Food During Courses

Please note that the Department cannot reimburse instructional staff for food/snacks provided for your course or section meetings. If your course/section conflicts with dinner or lunch, undergraduates have the option of ordering a bagged meal from their dining hall. Bagged meals are free of charge to anyone enrolled in the undergraduate board program and can be requested online at: http://www.dining.harvard.edu/myhuds/.

Shopping week

Please email Odette Binder a copy of your course syllabi prior to shopping week (the first week of classes each term).  It is also helpful to have syllabi posted on course websites in advance of students preregistering for the term.

Student Help

During the term, we normally hire an undergraduate to assist staff and faculty with preparation of course materials, obtaining and returning library books, and general office help.  See Deborah De Laurell (deborahd@wjh.harvard.edu) if you have projects for the student assistant.

Teaching Fellows

Your course may be eligible for teaching fellow support if your lecture course has an enrollment of 18 or more students.  Please see Suzanne Ogungbadero (saw@wjh.harvard.edu) for more detailed information on this process.