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The Citizen

Frequently Asked Questions about Teaching at HKS

1. Is the MPP core worth it?

This is an important question, and one both professor’s Dick Light and Dan Levy are looking into. To assess student learning, last year’s first-year MPP students were given two identical tests, one before they took the core and one after.

Two sources who preferred not to be named for this article suggested that outside of the statistics classes, the results were not positive. Professor Donahue said the results were much more complex and did not show “definite flaws”. The administration is not prepared to release the results until more testing can be done.

2. How are professors assigned to teach courses?

If a professor doesn’t “buy out” time for research or administrative duties, they are expected to teach the equivalent of three courses, though few professors are in this situation. Some will take on other teaching responsibilities that count toward the requirements, such as supervising PAEs.

Assuming a professor was teaching three courses, he or she would be allowed to pick one course, the administration would assign the second, and the third would be negotiated.

3. What happens to course evaluations after we fill them out?

The professor and the administration view the quantitative results and qualitative comments, and both are considered in personnel reviews. Quantitative results are published for students to access. At the request of the professor, SLATE will read through all comments, code them, and produce a bar chart that sorts comments into groups to help the professor analyze the results.