Vice Provost for Advances in Learning Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Peter K. Bol is Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL) and the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. As Vice Provost he is responsible for guiding support and services for faculty to create the best, highest-quality 21st century learning and teaching environment (on-campus and online). Through his office, Bol has budgetary oversight of HarvardX, the Harvard Initiative in Learning and Teaching (HILT), and HarvardX research and research collaborations to advance the science of learning.
With input from the VPAL Advisory Committee, he works across the University to develop policies and best practices for online and blended learning and foster closer collaboration with the Harvard Library, the museums, the Division of Continuing Education, and Harvard University Information Technology, as well as teaching and learning hubs such as the Bok Center.
As the founding director of the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis, Bol has long been interested in how technology can be used to advance learning and teaching in all fields. With his colleague William Kirby, he also teaches the HarvardX course, ChinaX, one of the most ambitious and comprehensive MOOCs (massive open online courses) ever produced, with content spanning over 15 months. He has taught on-campus versions of the course in both traditional and blended formats for several decades.
Bol’s research is centered on the history of China's cultural elites at the national and local levels from the 7th to the 17th century. His books and articles have appeared in all East Asian languages. A global scholar, he leads collaborations between Harvard and leading institutions in China and Taiwan, directing the China Historical Geographic Information Systems project (with Fudan University in Shanghai) a GIS encompassing 2000 years of Chinese history; and the China Biographical Database project (with Academia Sinica in Taiwan and Peking University), an online relational database that includes 350,000 historical figures and is being expanded to include all biographical data in China's historical record over the last 2000 years.
Bol is the author of This Culture of Ours: Intellectual Transitions in T'ang and Sung China, Neo-Confucianism in History; co-author of Sung Dynasty Uses of the I-ching; co-editor of Ways with Words, and an author of various journal articles in Chinese, Japanese, and English.