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DCE Community Life

Students working together in a conference room.

The mission of Harvard University’s Division of Continuing Education (DCE) is to provide educational opportunities for intellectually curious pre- and post-traditional learners with the ability to succeed in academically challenging programs.  DCE is part of the University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and includes Harvard Extension School, Harvard Summer School, Professional Development Programs, and the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement.

Toward achieving our mission, we acknowledge and affirm our strong commitment to affordable access, lifelong learning, and innovation.

We also recognize the importance of making meaningful contributions to the DCE community, the University, and the world by enriching the lives of adult learners.

Community Values

As members of the DCE community, all students, faculty, and staff will actively uphold certain core values. We agree to:

  • Respect the rights, differences, and dignity of others.
  • Demonstrate honesty and integrity in all dealings.
  • Pursue excellence conscientiously in our work.
  • Be accountable for our actions and conduct in the community.
  • Cultivate bonds and build bridges that enable all to grow with and learn from one another.

The more we embrace these values, the more we create and sustain an environment of trust, cooperation, lively inquiry, and mutual understanding—and advance a commitment to education and scholarship, which all of us share.

Conduct in the Community

DCE is committed to providing an environment in which each of us can participate fully in the life of the University, whether we are studying, teaching, conducting research, or working in other ways.

When you teach, participate in, or work for a program at DCE, you enter a community characterized by the highest standards of honesty, civility, and respect for others.  As Harvard’s University-Wide Statement of Rights and Responsibilities explains, “By accepting membership in the University, an individual joins a community ideally characterized by free expression, free inquiry, intellectual honesty, respect for the dignity of others, and openness to constructive change.”  For this ideal to be achieved, the community must be a tolerant and supportive one, characterized by civility and consideration for others. Therefore, the standards and expectations of this community are high, as much so in the quality of interpersonal relationships as they are in academic performance.

DCE is committed to fostering a learning community that is inclusive and supportive of everyone and promoting an environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation, denied the benefits of, or subjected to, discrimination in any University program or activity based on race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age, ancestry, veteran status, disability, military service, or any other legally protected category.

The policies described below set out expectations for all members of the Harvard community. 

Students who are found to violate these expectations may be subject to discipline by the DCE Administrative Board (“Ad Board”).

Non-Discrimination and Anti-Bullying Policy

The University has adopted new policies and procedures to address discrimination and bullying.  These policies apply to all students, faculty, staff, researchers, and other members of the Harvard community across all Schools and units, including the DCE.

Whenever a formal complaint of discrimination or bullying is investigated in accordance with the University’s non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies and procedures, and those procedures result in a finding that a policy violation has occurred, then sanctions or remedial measures will be determined by the DCE’s Appropriate Official or designee(s), as set forth in the NDAB procedures.  The DCE Appropriate Official or designee(s) must accept the finding of a policy violation as final and non-reviewable. The only opportunity to appeal the determination of an NDAB policy violation is provided within the University’s non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies and procedures.  Decisions about sanctions and remedial measures are final and cannot be appealed.

Sexual and Gender-based Harassment Policy

DCE has adopted the University-wide Interim Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and Interim Other Sexual Misconduct Policy.  In addition, the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment policy addresses sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct alleged to have occurred between September 1, 2014 and August 14, 2020.

Faculty Resolutions

Harvard has a University-Wide Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, printed below in its entirety (members of the community should also be aware of the Faculty’s Free Speech Guidelines. This statement and its first interpretation were first adopted University-wide on an interim basis by the Governing Boards on September 20, 1970, then and voted to remain in effect indefinitely in May 1977. The second interpretation was adopted by the Governing Boards in January–February 2002.

Resolution on Rights and Responsibilities

The central functions of an academic community are learning, teaching, research, and
scholarship. By accepting membership in the University, an individual joins a community ideally characterized by free expression, free inquiry, intellectual honesty, respect for the dignity of others, and openness to constructive change. The rights and responsibilities exercised within the community must be compatible with these qualities.

The rights of members of the University are not fundamentally different from those of other members of society. The University, however, has a special autonomy, and reasoned dissent plays a particularly vital part in its existence. All members of the University have the right to press for action on matters of concern by any appropriate means. The University must affirm, assure, and protect the rights of its members to organize and join political associations, convene and conduct public meetings, publicly demonstrate and picket in an orderly fashion, and advocate, and publicize opinion by print, sign, and voice.

The University places special emphasis, as well, upon certain values which are essential to its nature as an academic community. Among these are freedom of speech and academic freedom, freedom from personal force and violence, and freedom of movement. Interference with any of these freedoms must be regarded as a serious violation of the personal rights upon which the community is based. Furthermore, although the administrative processes and activities of the University cannot be ends in themselves, such functions are vital to the orderly pursuit of the work of all members of the University. Therefore, interference with members of the University in the performance of their normal duties and activities must be regarded as an unacceptable obstruction of the essential processes of the University. Theft or willful destruction of the property of the University or its members must also be considered an unacceptable violation of the rights of individuals or the community as a whole. 

Moreover, it is the responsibility of all members of the academic community to maintain an atmosphere in which violations of rights are unlikely to occur and to develop processes by which these rights are fully assured. In particular, it is the responsibility of officers of administration and instruction to be alert to the needs of the University community; to give a full and fair hearing to reasoned expressions of grievances, and to respond promptly and in good faith to such expressions and widely expressed needs for change. In making decisions which concern the community as a whole or any part of the community, officers are expected to consult with those affected by the decisions. Failures to meet these responsibilities may be profoundly damaging to the life of the University. Therefore, the University community has the right to establish orderly procedures consistent with the imperatives of academic freedom to assess the policies and ensure the responsibility of those whose decisions affect the life of the University.

No violation of the rights of members of the University, nor any failure to meet responsibilities, should be interpreted as justifying any violation of the rights of members of the University. All members of the community — students and officers alike — should uphold the rights and responsibilities expressed in this Resolution if the University is to be characterized by mutual respect and trust.


It is implicit in the language of the Statement on Rights and Responsibilities that intense
personal harassment of such a character as to amount to grave disrespect for the dignity of others is regarded as an unacceptable violation of the personal rights on which the University is based.

It is implicit in the University-wide Statement on Rights and Responsibilities that any
unauthorized occupation of a University building, or any part of it, that interferes with the ability of members of the University to perform their normal activities constitutes unacceptable conduct in violation of the Statement and is subject to appropriate discipline.

Harvard University’s Non-Retaliation Policy expressly forbids anyone to take any form of retaliatory action against any member of the Harvard community who in good faith voices concerns, seeks advice, files a complaint or grievance, seeks the aid of Human Resources, testifies, or participates in investigations, compliance reviews, proceedings or hearings, or opposes actual or perceived violations of Harvard University’s policy or unlawful acts


Office of Gender Equity empowers and supports the Harvard community to advance a climate of gender equity and inclusion through evidence-based educational initiatives, excellence in research and practice, and delivery of direct services.  We encourage students to visit the Sexual Assault and Harassment Resources webpage to learn more about the support and resources available to you during your enrollment.

Office of Dispute Resolution is a neutral body that impartially investigates complaints of sexual harassment and/or other sexual misconduct against students, staff, and, in most Schools, faculty. ODR investigations are handled by professional investigators working with the involved Schools and units. Any member of the Harvard community may reach out to ODR to request information or advice, including assistance in filing a formal complaint or in seeking informal resolution after a complaint has been filed. 

Office of Community Conduct supports Harvard’s commitment to providing an environment where each of us can participate fully in the life of the University, whether we are studying, teaching, conducting research, or working in other ways. The Office serves as a central point of information and resources for all community members, including University and DCE resources such as Local Designated Resources, to support the University’s Non-Discrimination and Anti-Bullying Policy.

University Ombuds Office is a confidential resource available to anyone from Harvard’s community. A discussion with an Ombuds can help a visitor voice concerns, clarify goals, and consider options so that they can make their own best decisions about next steps. Any issue affecting one’s work or studies may be brought to an Ombuds.

University Disability Resources values disability as integral to our rich diversity.  The office provides leadership to University efforts to ensure an accessible, inclusive welcoming learning and working environment for individuals with disabilities while complying with federal and state regulations.  UDR serves as a central resource for students, faculty, staff, and visitors on disability-related information, procedures, and services for our community. They also provide expertise in the development, implementation, and acquisition of best and promising disability-related University practices.

DCE Office of Student Affairs is committed to providing resources and support to our vibrant DCE community of lifelong learners. Our dedicated staff is invested in your success and in creating a holistic space for advancing your overall growth and development.  OSA also offers Student Success Coaching for students seeking effective ways to excel academically while developing useful skills and strategies for succeeding in rigorous courses.  During virtual 30-minute consultations, Student Success Coaches are available to help you clarify your goals and use course-related tools and resources effectively.

FAS Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (FAS OEDIB) serves as a thought leader and strategic partner to advance the teaching, research, and service mission and commitment to excellence by partnering across the School to advance sustainable inclusive excellence. 

The FAS OEDIB is responsible for conceiving, developing, and overseeing strategies to advance and support equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) for all constituencies (students, faculty, staff, academic, and administrative units) across the FAS. FAS OEDIB incorporates an evidence-based approach to activate change and transformation. At the root of this work is ensuring that all members of the FAS community feel welcome, included, and supported and that EDIB are established as core, lived values of the FAS.

Resources in Times of Crisis. Harvard University is committed to supporting our community members affected by crises at home and abroad, and to providing a safe campus environment. The resources on this page are intended to help our community members who are struggling or in need of support.