Hari Stephen Kumar is a teacher and story-crafter. He has lived in India, Yemen, Egypt, Arizona, and for the last 19 consecutive winters in Massachusetts. His professional background involves a composite career weaving engineering, teaching, and the humanities. Since 2006 he has worked extensively with faculty, instructors, and trainers on developing innovative and critical pedagogical practices.
In 2016, Hari was appointed as Amherst College's inaugural Director of Instructional & Curricular Design Services as well as the Associate Director of the College's new Teaching & Learning Collaborative. In this role, Hari works on course design and curricular planning, student engagement and classroom community, innovative and inclusive pedagogies, assessment and evaluation, and integrating technologies with teaching for the Amherst community.
Head of School Brad Bates met Hari when they were both invited to be Arthur Vining Davis Scholars at the Aspen Ideas Festival. According to Bates he was immediately struck by, "Hari's ability to convey the latest curriculum design research in such an accessible and informative manner. I was particularly intrigued by his explanation of Threshold Concepts, or those concepts in a given course that are difficult to master, are irreversible once you learn them and help you make connections across the curriculum once you have mastered them. I am excited to see Hari share some of these ideas with our faculty."
Hari will be consulting with the Dublin faculty this year on curriculum design. One of the things that differentiates the Dublin faculty from that of many independent schools is that Dublin faculty are charged with designing their curriculum in addition to teaching. Many schools simply hand their teachers a curriculum and ask them to simply follow it. Dublin teachers, in consultation with their Department Head, Academic Dean and Head of School, design the classes that they teach. This allows teachers to inject their ideas, expertise and passions into their subject matter, leading to greater classroom engagement and excitement. This approach also allows for experimentation and collaboration among colleagues in continually developing and implementing best practices.
We are excited that Hari’s work at Amherst has been focused on many of the same educational themes that we have been exploring over time. Collaboration will accelerate and deepen our teachers professional growth.