Teaching and Course Preparation

Resources for Faculty Teaching in the Government Department

The following may provide some useful information to help you with organizing your classes and seminars at Harvard.

For general information on constructing a syllabus, teaching, grading, the examination process, etc., please consult “Information for Faculty Offering Instruction in Arts and Sciences, available here: FAS Handbook for Faculty Offering Instruction in the Arts and Sciences. Please speak with Frankie Hoff if you need a hardcopy of the booklet.

Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

Information for Visitors and New Instructors

Desk Copies

For books that have been adopted for class, Jaronica Fuller will request desk copies for you and your TFs from the publishers. Please request these titles early so that they can be ordered to arrive in time for the beginning of classes.  Send bibliographic information and/or a web page by e-mail to jfuller@gov.harvard.edu .


The Assistant to the Chair schedules classrooms.  Please contact Frankie Hoff for any classroom needs.  To reserve CGIS space for non-classroom use or for small, one time meetings, TF meetings, etc. go through the CGIS link at http://scheduling.cgis.harvard.edu/cgis_room.html.  If you are having trouble reserving rooms, please contact Building Operations at: 617-495-3084

Audio-Visual Aids

Contact the media office in the Science Center (495-9460) to arrange for AV resources for all FAS locations except for Sever Hall (495-9470), the Science Center (495-5357) or CGIS (495-9807). You must reserve equipment in advance (at least one week).  Additional information can be found at http://www.fas.harvard.edu/%7Eims/Mts/index.html.


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 on at Office of the General Counsel’s website http://ogc.harvard.edu/ under Publications and Advisories.

Course-Related/Advising Questions

General questions can be addressed to the Undergraduate Program. If they are not able to answer the question, they will help to find the person who can.  

Course Packets

Gnomon Copy is willing to clear copyrights, create and sell your sourcebook for you.  Additional information can be found at http://www.gov.harvard.edu/pub/finances. Many faculty simply provide students with the citations for material (primarily articles) that can be found on HOLLIS, thereby eliminating the need to clear copyrights.  Selections from books are restricted to a total of about 10% of the book.

 Course Web Pages

The Instructional Computing Group (ICG) http://icg.fas.harvard.edu/ is available to help you create course web pages.


The Registrar handles final examination arrangements, including room assignment, photocopying of the exam, exam books, and proctoring. The Registrar’s Exam Office will contact you about how many blue books you will need for final exams.  Exam books may be picked up from our Undergraduate Program Office (K151).  

Descriptions of all CGIS meeting spaces are available at http://cgis.fas.harvard.edu/meeting_rooms.html

Library Reserves

Materials can be put on reserve through Course Tools located in www.my.harvard.edu.  Undergraduate reserves are handled by Lamont library. Course Reserves

Textbook Orders

The Harvard COOP book orders are due approximately two months in advance of each semester.  Textbook orders can be placed at http://store.thecoop.com/coopstore/estore_textbookadoption.jsp .


 The following guidelines represent the standard practice for hiring teaching fellows.  Please contact Thom Wall (twall@gov.harvard.edu) if you have any questions.

 • Section Size: Introductory, 1000-level, and methodology courses may hire instructional support FTEs, or Teaching Fellows.

 All appointments are contingent upon enrollments. Government courses must have a minimum of 18 FAS undergraduate students to secure the first section. As such, sections are not guaranteed until after Study Cards (due September 9) have been submitted.

 For Introductory and 1000-level courses in which teaching fellows run sections once per week that accompany lectures given by a faculty member, target size should be an overall  average of 18 students per section.   Courses with an enrollment of more than 100 students may appoint a Head TF.

 Smaller sections may be needed in quantitative method courses to help students develop the necessary skills and to compensate teaching fellows for the large amount of problem set grading. In these courses, there should be an overall average of 15 students per section.

 Group sophomore tutorials should average 8 students per tutorial.

 Teaching fellows are not provided for auditors in courses. Only regular enrollments recognized by the FAS Registrar's enrollment figures, including students cross-registered from another faculty of the University or MIT, should be supported. In those cases in which the same course is offered simultaneously (i.e. with the same set of lectures) but with different course numbers by FAS and another faculty of the University, FAS instructional funds should only be used for students enrolled in the FAS version of the course.

 • Eligibility: Graduate students are eligible to teach once they have passed Generals (typically graduate students third year and above). If a student has passed general exams they may teach up to a maximum of four-fifths time (.80 FTE) during any semester but no more than six-fifths time (1.20 FTE) for the academic year.

 Instructors must give first preference to G3 and G4 Government students, as guaranteed teaching is part of their financial aid package.

 Government graduate students who serve as Teaching Fellows will be required to read and grade Senior Theses as part of their teaching responsibilities. Please contact the Undergraduate Office, at 495-3249, for additional information about this.

 • TF Payroll: Once you have offered a teaching appointment, the TF should download and complete the TF appointment forms, available on the Department’s website and submit the forms to Thom Wall. International students should check with the International Office to verify work eligibility.

 Five payments are made during each term on the 15th of each month; between August and December for the fall term and between January and May for the spring term. If appointed after August 15th in the fall, or January 15th in the spring, the TF will receive back pay in a subsequent pay period.

 • Office Space: Teaching Fellows have access to the Teaching Fellow Meeting Rooms located on the concourse level of the CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge Street. TF’s may reserve the meeting rooms for office hours. Please see Joanna Lindh, in CGIS K150, to make arrangements.