GSAS started Harvard Horizons four years ago to showcase great research by graduate students, foster interdisciplinary communication of scholarly work, and promote the importance of strong presentation skills. Each year, eight outstanding graduate students are selected to present an overview of their research to a broad audience in Sanders Theater. The Bok Center mentors the selected scholars as they prepare to deliver a presentation at the annual symposium.
Building on our standard TF training offerings, the mentoring program achieves a level of excellence in the participants not possible in traditional teaching workshops or seminars because of the focused and high-stakes nature of the symposium. A team of senior staff from the Bok Center, consisting of Pamela Pollock, Marlon Kuzmick, and Sarah Jessop, trains the scholars in all the modes of communication that are required to communicate their passion for their research. The training sessions are organized around these different media: text, visuals, voice, and the creative use of physical space. The program underlines the connection between scholarship and teaching. Being able to design an amazing animation that perfectly conveys the most difficult part of one’s dissertation research, or to craft the perfect concise explanation of a core concept, is clearly applicable to good teaching. As a result of this program, faculty and departments have become more interested exploring the modes of communication available and how a better familiarity with these different modes can help teachers think more clearly about their own scholarship.