Creating the 'Fulfilling the Promise of Diversity' Video

by: Elias Polcheira

Fulfilling the Promise of Diversity at HGSE

In 2014, the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) launched the Fulfilling the Promise of Diversity Initiative. The School held a series of events, conversations and lectures around the theme. This effort was received well by our community and led to its continuation to a second year. The Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL) produced a video to launch the extension of the initiative in 2015-16.

Identifying Purposes

A video like this had to serve multiple purposes. The incoming students needed to catch up on prior discussions to understand what the School had accomplished in the first year and there was also a need to set the terms of the conversation around diversity.

Defining the Message

It was important that the video showed HGSE’s commitment to diversity, warmly welcomed students from all backgrounds, showcased our collective approach in going forward as one community in our conversations, and served as a piece of inspiration and engagement. 

Telling the Story

We analyzed documents and reports containing data from the previous year of Fulfilling the Promise of Diversity. During the creative process we realized that portraying how people feel in these conversations would be more engaging than a descriptive approach, so in order to inform and inspire, we invited participants to share their personal experiences in story format. Although we had started with a set of questions and predicted some of the answers, we had only partial control over the story. In this format of storytelling the conversation can take a different turn and lead to surprising conclusions. To their credit the participants were not afraid to make their voices heard; there were over nine hours of recorded interviews that become roughly a three and a half minute video. 

The TLL as Creative Partner

The TLL was formed to support teaching at HGSE wherever and in whatever form it happens. The TLL partners with faculty, students, and administrators to create pedagogical assets such as this video that forward the teaching aims of the School. Throughout our work in both the design and development of teaching assets, we support School initiatives and help faculty reach new audiences and tell new stories.

See also: Project