Harvard Kennedy School MOVED TO ONLINE TEACHING AND LEARNING last spring in order to protect the community during the pandemic. Remote learning brought more flexibility to the classroom. As Dean Doug Elmendorf wrote in a message to the HKS community, “Our mission is not changing, but the way we advance that mission needs to adapt to our new circumstances.” By early May, more than a thousand class sessions had taken place over Zoom, along with countless meetings, conversations, office hours, seminars, and events—and more than a few coffee breaks and happy hours. On June 3, HKS made the decision to move to remote teaching and learning in the fall, continuing the work of the spring semester.

Online class sessions

When students couldn’t come to campus, faculty members got creative:

  • A faculty-led, online teach-in during spring break helped students transition to remote learning. Over five days, faculty held 48 sessions with more than 3,000 students.
  • Lecturer in Public Policy Mark Fagan shifted his course “Supply Chain Management for Public Service Delivery” to focus on health care during the pandemic.
  • This year Spring Exercise, which allows first-year students to work with public leaders and policymakers to study real-world public challenges, pivoted to address COVID-19.
  • Marshall Ganz, the Rita E. Hauser Senior Lecturer in Leadership, Organizing, and Civil Society, held sessions to train HKS faculty members to use online pedagogy effectively.
  • The Peter Wertheim Professor in Urban Policy Gordon Hanson and MPP Director Eleni Cortis developed new summer programming. An impressive series of more than 20 faculty-led workshops was held over Zoom for incoming and returning students. While classes were not for credit, this initiative provided an opportunity for students to connect with faculty and peers.
Summer seminars offered through a brand new program

Each term, the Dean’s Discussions give the HKS community a chance to engage with faculty outside the classroom. This spring and summer, the sessions, which typically are live events, went online, attracting hundreds of participants. The sessions, moderated by Dean Elmendorf’s chief of staff Sarah Wald, focused on the coronavirus pandemic:

  • COVID-19: Leadership in Crisis, Leadership Through Crisis Panelists: Matt Andrews, Julia Minson, Wendy Sherman
  • COVID-19: The Economic Costs and Consequences Panelists: Linda Bilmes, Karen Dynan, Jason Furman, Rema Hanna
  • COVID-19: Global Crisis Response and Management Panelists: Marcella Alsan, Juliette Kayyem, Dutch Leonard
  • COVID-19: The U.S. Response and Its Impact on International Relations Panelists: Nicholas Burns, Samantha Power, Kathryn Sikkink
  • COVID-19: Race and the Pandemic Panelists: Desmond Ang, Cornell William Brooks, Kahlil Gibran Muhammad, Leah Wright Rigueur
  • COVID-19: Gender and the Pandemic Panelists: Hannah Riley Bowles, Kimberlyn Leary, Zoe Marks, Janina Matuszeski
  • COVID-19: Threats to and Opportunities for Democracy Panelists: Matthew Baum, Cornell William Brooks, Erica Chenoweth, Archon Fung
  • COVID-19: Effects in Developing Countries Panelists: Eliana Carranza, Jeffrey Frankel, Rema Hanna, Isabel Guerrero Pulgar

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