HGSE MCC Challenge

Dean's Challenge

Making Caring Common, generously supported by the Dean’s Office, will engage HGSE students in building empathy, bridging differences, and reducing bullying, discrimination, and harassment in schools.

We are pleased to announce the HGSE MCC Challenge will support HGSE students in developing school strategies or resources that shape important ethical capacities in K-12 schools (for educators and/or students). 

More specifically, students are encouraged to develop “light lift” materials in the form of routines, lesson plans, or practical 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 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/school staff 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 improve their school climate. 

Examples from past winners 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 empathy in middle or high school classrooms. 

Interested students can attend an information session to be offered on September 27 and September 28 at 12pm in Longfellow 228. Proposals may then be submitted by individual students or by small groups. All interested students should submit their proposals to to Milena (milena_batanova@gse.harvard.edu) by October 5, 2018 at 11:59 PM ET. 

Five to ten finalists will be selected from the initial proposals, and each set of finalists will receive a $500 stipend to work on their projects through the semester! MCC will support these finalists in the development of their projects through several workshops and personalized mentoring. 

Based on the work that finalists develop, we will select up to five winners whose materials will be piloted in schools in the spring. Each set of winners will receive an additional $250 stipend and help to evaluating the efficacy of their materials. 

Please email Milena Batanova, our Research and Evaluation Manager coordinating the Challenge, at milena_batanova@gse.harvard.edu with any questions.


Fall 2018 Timeline


  • Info Sessions: September 27 and September 28
  • Initial Proposals due: October 5
  • Finalists announced: Mid-October 
  • Workshops: October-November
  • Final Materials due: Early December
  • Final Presentations/Winners Announced: TBD

Submit Your Proposal

Key requirements:

  • The proposal should be 2-3 pages, double-spaced, 12-pt font
  • The proposal should include your name, program of study, and email
  • The proposal should be emailed to Milena Batanova (milena_batanova@gse.harvard.edu) before October 5, at 11:59pm

In case you missed the info session, or would like to refer back to the information presented, you can download the info session presentation.

Please ​​​​​​refer to MCC's strategy guides as samples of the types of materials you could create and describe in your proposal. Then, address the following questions:

  1. What is the specific problem or gap in practice that you want to address with your materials? This needs to be relevant to building empathy and inclusion, bullying prevention, or other empathy- and justice-related issues at schools, like addressing bigotry and bias. 
  2. What are your proposed materials (e.g., lessons, resource guide, etc)? What is the rationale that students and/or educators will be engaged with your materials? 
  3. What evidence and/or theoretical support are there for your proposed materials? What might “success” look like, i.e., what would students and/or educators learn or gain from your materials? 
  4. What do you hope to gain from this experience?

Keep in mind that the materials you propose would need to be "light lift" for use in schools. By light lift, we mean they could be implemented with ease and flexibility, and wouldn't require much preparation or training. Materials can be for teachers only (e.g., how to be "moral" educators), or can involve direct, daily or weekly engagement with students. 

If your proposal is accepted, we will work with you to develop your ideas! Materials that show promise and feasibility to be used in schools will be picked for pilot testing in schools over the spring semester.