The Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars

The Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars (PCP) serves Harvard’s international graduate student and scholar community by providing seminars, workshops, and consultations that facilitate the development of communication and teaching skills, as well as intercultural competence. The program also helps administer the GSAS Oral English Language Proficiency Requirement, provides oral proficiency assessments for GSAS students, and trains undergraduate course assistants to assist in workshops and seminars and work with international teachers and scholars individually. Pamela Pollock, Associate Director of Professional and Scholarly Development, was happy to have Pauline Carpenter join the program as Instructional Specialist in August 2015.

Seminars and Workshops 2015-16

Classroom Communication Skills for International TFs                                                                                                                                   Public Speaking for International Teachers and Scholars                                                                                                                 Teaching Practice for International Teachers and Scholars                                                                                                             Intercultural Communication Workshop Series

All seminars and workshops involved trained undergraduate course assistants, who played a critical intergenerational role by being present to engage in learning activities with ITFs, to provide constructive feedback, and to share their perspectives as undergraduate students.

34 students enrolled in seminars for international TFs and scholars

43 International TFs were screened for English language proficiency


Two program highlights, new in 2015-16

Intercultural Communication Workshops

In order to create a space for Harvard’s international teachers and scholars to delve into the cultural complexities of communication, the Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars created an Intercultural Communication Workshop Series in the Spring 2016 semester. This four-session series kicked off during Winter Teaching Week and focused on intercultural communication for the classroom and other settings in Harvard’s international academic environment. These workshops were designed for international TFs and scholars, but open to anyone interested in developing intercultural competence. Workshop participants reported that they appreciated learning about the cultural dynamics of Harvard classrooms and practicing communication and teaching strategies effective for Harvard’s international and culturally-diverse academic environment.

“It was great to learn the key elements of non-verbal communication and how to better use them to improve our communication through body language.”- Body Language: Sending the Right Message workshop participant, 2015

English Language Program 

In summer 2015, the GSAS English Language Program (ELP) was offered through the Bok Center for the first time. ELP is designed to give incoming international graduate students an intensive introduction to life at Harvard as they activate their English language skills in preparation for their graduate programs. Pamela Pollock led the ELP and managed an instructor team of three visiting lecturers who taught a total of 32 students in program-wide activities and small group classes. The program incorporates professional communication skills, an introduction to the cultural features of the American classroom, and community-building activities, with the ultimate goal of preparation for success in the Harvard academic and social environment.  

"The program has given me many opportunities to speak in front of an audience and thus instilled in me a sense of confidence about my English abilities."- ELp Participant, Summer, 2015