Inside the Campaign: Collaborate on Questions That Matter
One priority of the Campaign for Harvard Graduate School of Education is "Collaborate on Questions That Matter." The idea is that we will support our faculty as they focus their collective attention on the most important issues in the field. We believe that pressing problems in education are best addressed by teams of faculty trained in multiple disciplines, who work closely together and with those in the field. In this issue of Ed., we take a closer look at some of the questions Ed School faculty are tackling and how support from the Dean's Venture Fund is getting these important initiatives off the ground.
What is the Dean's Venture Fund?
These critical resources help launch collaborative research projects and other new programs. So far the Dean's Venture Fund has provided $6.5 million to enable the Ed School to seize new opportunities for impact. Here are some of the initiatives that have launched so far:
Making Caring Common
You may have seen the recent report, featured by CBS News, The New York Times, Good Morning America, and others, showing that teen girls face biases about their leadership capacities. This is just one example of the questions raised by the Making Caring Common Project, a national effort to make concern for others and the common good priorities in child raising. Senior Lecturer Richard Weissbourd, Ed.D.'87, and Associate Professor Stephanie Jones co-direct the project, which uses original research to offer resources for educators, parents, and caretakers, such as a bullying prevention toolkit and steps that can be taken to create a culture of caring and respect in schools.
Strengthening School Counseling and College Advising
With support from the Dean's Venture Fund, Senior Lecturer Mandy Savitz-Romer and Eric Waldo, Ed.M.'03, executive director of First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative, led a 2014 national convening of education leaders to discuss increasing access to college for Americans. A White House report, Counseling and College Completion: The Road Ahead, summarized ideas and solutions that arose at the event, including ways to improve training and professional development for school counselors; scalable, data-driven innovations; and strategies for expanding the reach of school counselors so they can serve all students.
Innovative Education Interventions in Colombia
The mid-size city of Manizales, Colombia, faces a significant high school dropout rate as well as low quality of education, as shown in standardized tests. Associate Professors Felipe Barrera-Osorio and David Deming are testing interventions in Manizales, including teacher rewards and cash transfers to students who graduate and enroll in postsecondary education. By advancing understanding of the impact of incentives and accountability on educational effectiveness, Barrera-Osorio and Deming hope to influence policy not only in Colombia, but worldwide.
The Education Redesign Lab
Under the direction of Professor Paul Reville, the Education Redesign Lab aims to design and implement a new education "engine" that will ensure that all students, especially the economically disadvantaged, have a fair chance of mastering the skills and knowledge necessary for success. Reville and his team envision three core components of this new learning engine: expanded, differentiated, and personalized schooling; comprehensive health and well-being supports; and highquality and accessible out-of-school learning opportunities. The Dean's Venture Fund enabled the lab to create an organizational infrastructure and strategic plan to focus its advocacy, field work, research, and network building, which have generated additional funding.