Dean's Challenge

Dean's Challenge

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

Dean Jim Ryan and Making Caring Common (MCC), a project of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, are pleased to announce a Dean's Challenge that will support HGSE students in developing strategies that shape important moral capacities in middle and high school students.

More specifically, applicants will develop strategies aimed at promoting 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 strategies that help students overcome factors that can block empathy and lead to bullying and other forms of degradation, including biases, stereotypes, and instances of moral disengagement—the processes by which students can convince themselves that ethical standards do not apply to them in certain situations or contexts. 

Strategies may include an array of “light lift” activities that educators can embed into their everyday interactions with students, including lesson plans and case studies for whole class engagement, and resource guides that help to build more caring, inclusive school cultures. 

Interested students should attend an information session offered in January. Proposals may then be submitted by individual students or by small groups. All interested students should submit their initial proposals to MCC by early February. 

Five to ten finalists will be selected from the initial proposals. Making Caring Common will support these finalists in the development of their strategies through a series of three seminars or workshops; students will also receive a stipend of $500 to work on their projects. 

Please email with any questions.

Dean's Challenge Eligibility

Current HGSE students

Dean's Challenge Timeline (Tentative)*

  • Info Sessions: January 24, January 25
  • Initial Proposals due: February 9
  • Finalists announced: Week of February 19
  • Workshops: February 23, March 2, March 9
  • Final Strategies due: March 23
  • Final Presentations: Late March and early April

*There will be a second round of the Dean’s Challenge in April-June. We will provide a timeline for the second round of the Dean’s Challenge in March 2018.

Dean's Challenge Application Form

Please check back in late January.