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HGSE Welcomes Students to Their New "Intellectual Home"

On September 12, Dean Kathleen McCartney, Lesser Professor in Early Childhood Development, welcomed approximately 600 students to their new "intellectual home." Her message focused on the importance of leveraging the impact of research by connecting it to practice in the education profession.

"In June, I will introduce you to the Harvard Community as the future leaders of education practice, policy, and research. That is who you are. We have great expectations for you," said McCartney.

Liz City, a fourth year doctoral student who is concentrating in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice with a particular interest in urban school reform, served as student speaker. Senior Lecturer Katherine Merseth, director of the Teacher Education Program, delivered a speech on behalf of the faculty.

The new crop of master's and doctoral candidates are a diverse group representing a wide range of experiences. Some come direct from their completed undergraduate studies. Others bring a wealth of experience from a variety of settings including schools, government agencies, foundations, community groups, and advocacy organizations. The class includes:

  • Fifty-two D1s, as the first year doctoral students are known on Appian Way; 15 of whom earned their Ed.M.'s from HGSE;
  • Nearly 550 Ed.M. candidates hailing from 44 different states, the District of Columbia, and 32 countries;
  • Students ranging in age from 21 to 56 years old; one quarter of whom is of color.

Said Bryn Panee Burkhart, an Ed.M. candidate with a concentration in Higher Education who came to HGSE from a career in MBA admissions: "I look forward to putting a formal framework around the issues I've been working in for the past five years. After only one week of class, I've had several 'aha!' moments. I know this year will allow me to fully appreciate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in my chosen profession, and I will be a much more effective contributor and leader in my next professional position."

In addition to the extensive orientation activities planned by the office of student affairs, all of the first-year doctoral students on campus this year participated in a new program: Get a G.R.I.P on Harvard. Led by advanced doctoral students, the supplement to orientation, which stands for "Graduate Research and IT Preparation," homed in on technical research skills, such as how to navigate e-journals at Gutman Library and through the University-wide library system.

The new program was designed to better train students to integrate their coursework with research preparation. The advanced doctoral students used examples from their own research to create relevant learning examples for the new doctoral students. The D1 group went through orientation as a cohort, replete with social gatherings including a picnic with faculty and staff.

"As a master's student, I came to know the strength of the faculty and the support they offer to their students. HGSE is also a supportive and collegial learning environment," said Kelley Ann Larrow, a D1 focusing on Communities, Culture, and Education with plans to acquire an adjustment counselor license through the Risk and Prevention Program. "Students come here with amazing talent and experience, which affords members of this community a great opportunity to learn from and with each other."


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