Dean's Challenge

Dean's Challenge

The 2018 Dean's Challenge engages HGSE students in building empathy and reducing bullying in secondary schools.

The second round of the 2018 Dean's Challenge, which runs April 15 - May 21, will continue to engage HGSE students in building empathy and reducing bullying in secondary schools. Proposals from individual students or small groups must be submitted to Making Caring Common by Friday, April 13 at 11:59 PM ET. Five to ten finalists will be selected, and each set of finalists will receive a $500 stipend to work on their projects. Making Caring Common will support these finalists in the development of their projects through several workshops. The bulk of development will happen in May, but finalists will be able to submit their final materials by June 22, 2018 (should they require additional time).

Interested students can attend an information session on Thursday, April 5 from 12-1:30pm in Larsen G06 and they are encouraged to attend the presentations by first round finalists on Tuesday, April 10 from 6 - 7:30pm in Longfellow 228.

Apply now →


Announcement for the Second Round of the 2018 Dean's Challenge

Dean Jim Ryan and Making Caring Common (MCC), a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, are pleased to announce another Dean’s Challenge that will support HGSE students (and soon to be alumni!) in developing strategies or resources that shape important moral capacities in elementary, middle and high school students.
More specifically, applicants are encouraged to develop “light lift” materials in the form of routines, lesson plans, or general resource guides for schools – the goals being to promote empathy and appreciation for those different from oneself (in gender, race, class, and other characteristics), a sense of responsibility for one’s communities, and a commitment to justice and fairness. Applicants may also develop materials that help students overcome factors that can block empathy or enable bullying and cruelty, such as prejudice and bias and lack of school knowledge or training about bullying and effective bystander responses.
Materials may include an array of routines and strategies that teachers can embed into their everyday or weekly interactions with students, including simple, brief exercises or lesson plans and case studies for whole class engagement, as well as resource guides for students and school personnel (including administrators) to use to improve their school climate.
Examples from our seven finalists in the first Challenge this spring include a "Bullying Response Plan" whole-school resource guide, lesson plans aimed at promoting respect for students with learning differences, and simple everyday routines that foster the habits of greetings in the classroom and strengthen connections among students as well as students and their teacher.  
Interested students can attend one information session to be offered on Thursday, April 5 at 12-1:30pm in Larsen G06. Proposals may then be submitted by individual students or by small groups. All interested students should submit their proposals to MCC by Friday, April 13, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET.
Please take into consideration that the bulk of development would likely occur in May, although finalists will be free to work post-graduation and submit their final materials by June 22, if desired. Depending on the second round finalists’ availability, and depending on finalists’ availability, we may be unable to hold final presentations open to the school and broader community. The current Dean’s Challenge finalists will be presenting their work on April 10 at 6 – 7:30pm at Longfellow 228 so we especially encourage interested students to attend!  

Please email Milena Batanova, our Research and Evaluation Manager coordinating the Challenge, at with any questions.