fbpx Orientation | Harvard Kennedy School

A new beginning of possibility and purpose.


There's a buzz of anticipation and energy. A renewed sense of purpose. It's Orientation at Harvard Kennedy School.

The end of August marks a new beginning for our incoming two-year students. Orientation is designed by our Degree Programs and Student Affairs team to introduce, inform, and inspire. Students learn about Harvard Kennedy School, the nuts and bolts of their degree programs, and the academic preparation they need to set themselves up for success.

Orientation is also about connection and reflection. Our students—future leaders in public service—start to form lasting connections with their classmates and, together, renew their commitment to use their energy and talents to lift up all members of our communities.  

This year, there is a full line up of virtual discussions and gatherings for our students to experience a foundational week even when we cannot gather safely on campus. Find an overview of the events listed below.

And if you are an incoming HKS student, welcome once again. We are thrilled you will be joining our vibrant community of thinkers and doers. Details about Orientation are available for you here, which are HarvardKey protected. 
 


 

Harvard Kennedy School students and alumni are showing their commitment to public service in their countries, states, cities and neighborhoods around the world.

The word "Orientation 2020" in white letters with blue background

 

 

 

Overview of Events

Friday, August 21
12-2:40 p.m. EDT

Students of Color Pre-Orientation  (optional)

Hosted by Degree Programs and Student Affairs, HKS students, and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Live Zoom event

Open to all students, this session is an opportunity for self-identified students of color to meet and build community. It also provides space for our students to form support networks among their classmates, hear from HKS faculty members, staff, and student groups, and learn about the resources available to them as members of the HKS and Harvard communities. 

During the faculty and staff panel session, students will have the opportunity to hear from Desmond Ang, Sushma RamanSandra Susan Smith, and Akiesha Ortiz


Monday, August 24 
9-10:30 a.m. EDT

Orientation 2020: Welcome to Your hks Community 

Hosted by Doug Elmendorf, Dean and Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy, and Debbie Isaacson, Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs
Live Zoom event

Degree Program Sessions 

Students participate in various sessions with their degree program team and classmates.  


Tuesday, August 25 

Degree Program Sessions 

Students participate in various sessions with their degree program team and classmates.  


Wednesday, August 26
9-10:30 a.m. EDT

Exploring Community 

Hosted by Kimberly Salas Harris, Assistant Director, and Harrison Nekoroski, Program Coordinator, Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and Amy Davies, Assistant Dean for Student Services and Programs
Live Zoom event

This session is an opportunity for incoming students to engage with each other as individuals in a group setting and connect across differences. Our breakout discussions will help students see commonalities and appreciate differences. Each question will press students to reveal something about themselves with the hope that they will demonstrate vulnerability, however brief or minor, to catalyze the coming together of cohorts. 

Degree Program Sessions 

Students participate in various sessions with their degree program team and classmates.  

 

Thursday, August 27 
9-10:30 a.m. EDT

Anti-Racism and Allyship

Hosted by Debbie Isaacson, Senior Associate Dean for Degree Programs and Student Affairs, Dr. Robbin Chapman, Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Amy Davies, Assistant Dean for Student Services and Programs, and Kimberly Salas Harris, Assistant Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Live Zoom event

This session will be an opportunity for incoming students to engage with each other in small groups to discuss the pre-readings and recordings, and to understand anti-racism and allyship and how allyship can be a tool to combat racism in our individual and collective communities. We’ll also share more ways to learn and engage on these topics moving forward.

Degree Program Sessions 

Students participate in various sessions with their degree program team and classmates.  

 

Friday, August 28 

Degree Program Sessions 

Students participate in various sessions with their degree program team and classmates.   

For our Fall 2020 incoming students
Read more about Orientation 2020 and your Harvard Kennedy School community.

The Mid-Career MPA Summer Program is an immersive five-week experience that prepares our mid-career students for the rigors of the academic year. The program builds and renews analytic, conceptual, and study skills, and introduces the core methodologies used at HKS. Our students forge bonds with their classmates and academic instructors during the program and gain deeper understanding of the resources available at HKS and Harvard. This year's Summer Program was held July 8-August 6, 2020.