Support for Engaged Scholarship Courses

Support for Engaged Scholarship Courses

Course support is provided for Engaged Scholarship courses as follows:

Course support

Funding for staff/students to support the engaged teaching and learning aspects of an immersive engaged scholarship course, or a course with substantive engaged scholarship projects. Funding is provided for TFs, TAs, CAs, and RAs:

  • For seminar courses that do not have instructional support

  • To take on additional responsibilities in a lecture or lab-based course, such a funding to increase a TF’s time from .2 to .4

  • To allow for smaller section sizes 

  • To create an engaged scholarship section in a lecture course

  • For limited support for engaged aspects (i.e.: to manage off-campus experiences)

Course support staff assist with course administration, manage logistics, liaison with community partners, oversee and facilitate students’ work with organizations and collaborators, and provide ongoing support and scaffolding for students and student teams working on term projects. The MPES does not fund instructional support in the traditional sense, although instructional support from OUE is often coupled with additional support from the MPES.

Course development support

For staff/students to support faculty with course prep and planning as a course is being developed. Funding for support prior to when a course is first taught is provided for: 

  • RAs during the term or summer, paid hourly

Note on hiring staff/student support

All course support staff (TFs, TAs, CAs, and RAs) are hired through faculty departments. 

Faculty are strongly encouraged to hire a GSAS student, although students from other Harvard schools as well as undergraduates may be hired. In cases where an appropriately qualified Harvard student cannot be identified (for example, if the course requires specific technical expertise), it may be possible to hire a TA if allowed by the department, and consistent with FAS and University-wide hiring policies.

Faculty should work with their departments to ensure staff/students will not be benefits eligible. Individuals with multiple paid Harvard positions might put them over the threshold for hours worked requiring payment of fringe benefits. 

  • The MPES is unable to fund fringe benefits. This may limit eligibility when hiring course support.

Funding for course expenses is available for Engaged Scholarship courses as follows:

  • Faculty should prepare a simple budget with expense estimates before the start of the term for review by MPES and to confirm funding.

  • Expenses must be approved in advance. 

  • An approved budget is necessary so funds can be provided to departments in advance to cover expenses without creating a deficit. 

The MPES provides funding for the following types of course expenses. 

  • Local transportation in Metro Boston for students

  • Local transportation or parking for community collaborators to come to campus

  • Local field trip fees and expenses, such as for museum admission 

  • Consumables, such as for lunch for a field trip 

  • Event expenses, such as for refreshments at a capstone or closing event

  • Printing, such as for posters and archival materials

  • Materials and equipment, such as art supplies or tripods 

  • Fees, such as for conference presentations

  • Honoraria for class guests and speakers (see guidelines on “guests and collaborators” below)

  • Approved student expenses related to course assignments 

Payment, reimbursements, and processing expenses

With a few exceptions, all payments should be made, and expenses processed by faculty and their departments as follows:

  • Departments should use the MPES billing string/33 digit code whenever possible (e.g.: for Crimson Catering)

  • Faculty or department may request reimbursement in Concur

  • Students with covered course expenses should have a non-employee reimbursement processed by the faculty member’s department

    • Alternatively, faculty can reimburse students and then submit an employee reimbursement through Concur. A receipt is required for reimbursement.

  • Invoice for payment by non-Harvard affiliates should be processed by the faculty  member's department

  • Departments may journal expenses to the Mindich Program

Expenses and payments managed directly by MPES

The MPES will pay for the following expenses directly, once approved:

  • MBTA T-passes for travel by bus and train in Metro Boston

    • Please provide information on the number of passes needed (number of students x number of trips) at the start of the term, or at least two weeks in advance of your trip 

    • We will prepare a packet of T-passes for pick-up

    • All other transportation should be arranged by faculty and their departments

  • Transportation on Eastern Bus Company yellow bus if the travel destination is outside of the range of Harvard Transportation chartered shuttle bus service

    • The Mindich Program will only manage yellow bus transport on Eastern Bus Company. 

    • All other forms of transportation by yellow or coach bus approved by the Mindich Program should be managed by the faculty member and their department

  • Printing with Gnomon Copy in Harvard Square 

    • Materials should be provided to Gnomon Copy. Email Gnomon, cc Flavia, and let the printer know to invoice Mindich for payment. 


  • Transportation: Use mass transit for students and field trips (take the T or Commuter Rail) whenever possible. If the MBTA isn’t feasible for your field trip, please contact the Harvard Transportation and Parking Office about the possibility of using their charter shuttle service before contacting MPES about the Eastern Bus Company.

  • Food for field trips: Students should pick-up to-go brown-bag lunches from Annenberg when taking field trips whenever possible. 

  • Food: Course events for students usually entails pizza and soda or similarly priced lunch, or light refreshments. 

  • Space for events: The Parlor Room on the first floor of the PBH is available for MPES course events with advance notice. Parlor has a/v, holds 50 people seated and 75 standing. Please let the Mindich Program know as soon as possible if you would like to reserve Parlor. Reservations should be made as soon as possible. 

  • Poster Printing: Lamont Multimedia Lab has a large format printer for posters and accepts the MPES billing code.

  • Gift Cards: Purchasing gift cards is not recommended and may pose challenges for reimbursement. Faculty are recommended to please consult their department to obtain advance approval.

  • Concur Reimbursements: A single reimbursement at the end of the term, or two reimbursements with one at the midterm, are appreciated.

Guests and Collaborations

Guests in engaged scholarship courses work with students in ways that differ from what is often supported by academic departments. In Mindich courses, students should actively engage with guests, guests should facilitate students’ engagement with materials and perspectives in community settings, and/or guests should provide expertise outside of the academic domain in some way. Visits and conversations with guests are conceptualized as active, not passive experiences, and should entail more than simply listening to a speaker. We fund bi-directional experiences between students and guests/collaborators which inform academic work and, importantly, support students’ active engagement with a public audience, defined group, or community. When possible, we encourage sustained relationships with guests and partners over the course of a semester (whether through multiple visits, feedback mechanisms, preparatory and reflection work, particular types of deliverables, etc.). 

The MPES can sometimes provide funding for guests to come to class and work with students when those individuals are practitioners, activists, organizers, artists, leaders of community-based organizations, frontline workers, etc.- people who are not often invited into Harvard classrooms. 

  • MPES does not provide honoraria to, for example, senior scholars, policy experts, and alumni. 

  • MPES is not able to pay for co-instructors or collaborator/consulting fees.

  • Funds for artists’ fees and in-class workshops will be considered on an individual basis (in this instance, presenters will need to invoice as opposed to being paid an honorarium), and preference will be given to experiences that directly impact assignments resulting in deliverables with defined audiences.

  • In project-based and participatory courses the experience/project should be mutually beneficial to students and community collaborators, and in most cases should not require compensation for collaborators to work with students. The MPES can cover costs associated with the project and community partners’ engagement (eg: travel to visit class) so collaborators do not incur any costs.

  • Honoraria are arranged through your department.