Apply to be a Fellow

Applications are now open for the 2022-2023 Equity & Inclusion Fellowship (EIF). All students who will be enrolled full- or part-time at HGSE in the 2022-2023 academic year are welcome to apply. 


Please join us for one of three info sessions for graduate students interested in the Fellowship.

Learn more about the program in conversation with Dr. Houman Harouni, EIF Faculty Advisor, and Joe Pinto, EIF Creative Director.




For the past six years, the Equity and Inclusion Fellowship (EIF) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) has prepared participants to exercise leadership from any position in a system - including positions of formal and informal authority - in order to conceive and carry out durable moves toward justice.


At every level of contemporary institutions large and small, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) officers are burning out. At first glance, it appears that they have been given gargantuan aims and too little time or too few resources with which to achieve them. On closer inspection, it is also the case that many face implicit resistance to their institutions’ own explicit goals. In other words, just because a system aspires to a culture of DEI, it does not necessarily follow that the system is ready to do the work it takes to create one.


Anyone who hopes to foster such work must be prepared to contend with what Bob Kegan and Lisa Lahey have called “immunity to change,” in individuals, groups, and structures. Fellows learn how not to anticipate this immunity in all encounters but nevertheless to identify and allay it where it exists, using tangible skills and frameworks but also the primary instrument of their own dispositions and bearings.


Fellows work together and with program staff to develop their capacities for fostering structural transformation; exercise and hone these capacities at practicum sites around Boston and Cambridge; facilitate dialogue across differences at Harvard; and create new knowledge for the field of DEI. Many alumni of the Fellowship have gone on to lead high-impact work in universities, schools, districts, non-profits, and consultancies, or through their own ventures. Others have played critical roles in grassroots movements for change.


Major components of the program include:

  • A half-day program orientation and cohort retreat in late August.

  • A four-credit, fall-semester course that meets twice a week.

  • A year-long, site-based practicum placement with an EIF partner organization.

  • Priority access to some Harvard courses with aligned themes and aims.

  • Semi-monthly cohort meetings in the spring semester, led by Fellows.

  • A cohort budget to spend on books, materials, and events.

  • Opportunities to facilitate DEI interventions in departments, offices, and schools across campus.

  • Opportunities to organize major gatherings for the cohort (eg retreats) or the community (eg conferences).

  • Opportunities to author and publish scholarly articles arising from one’s EIF work.

  • A piece of summative writing that centers on observations from and recommendations for one’s practicum site and may be used as a professional artifact, in the form of an exit memo or strategic plan.


All Fellows will receive a $3,000 Fellowship award and a certificate upon completion of the program, and will have ongoing access to the EIF network and resources.


You can submit your application and CV here. Applications are due by July 15, 2022 at 12pm ET. Finalists may be asked to participate in a brief Zoom interview.




Q: Do I need to have work experience in the DEI field to be accepted into the Fellowship?


Not necessarily. Some of the most effective Fellows in the past have come from very different fields, but they have always tried to exercise leadership toward social justice goals. Most applicants with prior experience in the field are drawn to the program because their expertise has come to feel not wholly sufficient. Applicants with experience should be prepared both to leverage their DEI background and, at times, to step outside of it and experiment with disciplines and practices that may not have previously informed their work.


Q: Do I need to have facilitation experience?


Not necessarily. Certain kinds of experience help, others are best “unlearned” or at least reconsidered, in the sense that facilitation as you know it may or may not include the orientations toward reading oneself and reading a group that this program tries to impart. We hope to instill new kinds of watchfulness, and equip it with a fuller set of moves. Also, having a diverse and inclusive cohort means that no one benefits from everyone having the same skills or background. This is to say that facilitators and non-facilitators alike are welcome.


Q: What is covered in the course component of the Fellowship?


The course component emphasizes inside-out and outside-in approaches to leadership development, and revolves around deep dives into DEI case studies. Fellows work to understand both external and internal dynamics that impact DEI work. The uniqueness of the approach is in moving away from emphases on guilt, blame, conflict avoidance, and self-policing toward galvanizing people to face the difficult challenges that systems produce as people try to achieve greater equity. We use the lenses of Adaptive Leadership, Immunity to Change, Emergent Strategy, Critical Theory and Pedagogy, and Adult Development, among others. The course is hands-on and centered on the needs and experiences of Fellows.


Q. What skills will I learn in the Fellowship?


Fellows will learn to deploy specific frameworks with some ease (including Adaptive Leadership, Critical Pedagogy and Immunity to Change) in settings where DEI interventions are both necessary and resisted, whether consciously or unconsciously. However, the Fellowship draws a distinction between skills and dispositions insofar as both are vital to the work. We have observed that effective DEI interventions call for attitudinal shifts that enable one to hold steady in challenging environments and spontaneously muster creative responses to a situation as it unfolds. Skills come in handy but aren’t enough by themselves to help one navigate difficult encounters. We pay just as much attention to the development of the self as an equanimous instrument for change.


Q: How much work is involved in the site-based practicums?


We ask partner organizations to scope out project work for Fellows that they can complete in roughly five hours per week over the course of the academic year. Fellows are placed at practicum sites in pairs, so that the work can be shared, and so that every Fellow has a colleague who can support them in understanding the environment and designing interventions.


Q: What other work can a Fellow expect?


Over the course of the year there is a palpable shift toward self-organization of the Fellowship experience. As the months progress Fellows will be asked to take on more responsibilities in the creation of their own learning. This means that, on a voluntary basis, Fellows will be invited to plan and implement experiences for one another. Also, to the extent that Fellows are entrusted with a program budget to spend on books, materials, and events, they will be accountable for minor administrative tasks required to access those funds, including short proposals for larger expenditures and light paperwork entailed in requesting reimbursements.