The Change Project

This course uses the Harvard case method to work on student's change challenges. 


Goal: For students to articulate change, and apply learning concepts to their “change projects”.



The entire course is designed around an iterative process of formulating and rethinking students’ own challenges, value propositions and strategic approaches to making a change.

There are 2 prerequisites for this course.

  1. Preparing case studies for each class depending on the learning objective
  2. Having students submit a “change challenge” assignment prior to the course

The challenge could be one in the students’ industry, organization, neighborhood, or a challenge they have experienced in the past or one they would want to take on in the future. During the course, students connect learning concepts such as public value theory or problem framing frameworks back to the challenges highlighted in their change projects. Students are provided with a detailed syllabus for the course, and provided with the teaching cases and questions for preparation. They are also provided with a format for their change challenge.



  1. Before the Course:
    1. Students submit a “change challenge” which is not graded. This challenge write-up is guided by a set of clear questions that the instructor sends out in a detailed syllabus or email prior to the course.
    2. Questions include: Describe a situation you would like to change. What would you like to see changed and why? What is your role or position in this situation? Who are the main actors in this situation? What assets/resources do you have that will be valuable to making change? What limits your ability to make change? What do you perceive to be the most important challenge?
    3. Before the course begins, the instructor must be conversant with all the names and student challenges, and must have scripted the class discussions throughout the entire course. Student challenges should appear in the plenary discussions throughout the course.
    4. Prior to the start of the course, students receive feedback on their challenge through a personal video message by the instructor.
  2. In Class:
    1. Start with a teaching case discussion, including the introduction of a theoretical framework
    2. Apply the framework to the teaching case
    3. Apply the framework to students’ own challenges
    4. Plenary session to read out and share thoughts
    5. Students are encouraged to use the discussion board on Canvas to share additional reading materials and submit questions and comments

Follow up:


In addition to students submitting their change challenge before the course begins, after week 1 they are asked to submit a 2-page paper on their value proposition (graded, written, and oral feedback provided); then a final presentation in class with 5 PowerPoint slides (graded, oral feedback provided by faculty and peers). Finally, a 5-page final paper is required to show how students have not only integrated the learning from the entire course, but also, that they could rigorously apply the conceptual frameworks and theories to their own change project. Students were also graded on class participation.




To many students, the challenges are highly personal and add meaning to their life

It is important to make time for preparation and do some background reading –some challenges can be complicated and may require additional effort from the teacher.


Submitted by Sanderijn Cels, Management

becoming_an_agent_of_change_syllabus.pdf353 KB
change_project_qa_example.docx65 KB