What is a case?
The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s teaching cases are stories that are designed to raise questions and generate discussion. They encourage people to draw out lessons by describing how others dealt with particularly difficult challenges, or opportunities. These stories anchor a general discussion in a concrete example, yet leave analysis and conclusions up to the participants discussing the case.
Cases were traditionally designed primarily for professors and practiced case teachers. Bloomberg Harvard cases, however, are accompanied both by conventional academic teaching notes and by instructional materials that enable a much wider range of people working in—and with—cities to quickly spur insightful discussions and engage in illuminating conversations with their colleagues.
This case, “Change at the Speed of Trust,” is freely available to download and use, and is accompanied by a “conversation note” so anyone can use the material to guide a productive discussion around ideas and themes raised in the case.
At the turn of the 21st century, Louisville, Kentucky, found itself in the middle to the back of the pack among peer cities along a number of key measures of prosperity and quality of life. Since then, two consecutive mayors have advanced collaborative efforts across sectors to increase students’ college and career readiness and address the city’s significant achievement gap. This case tells the story of how that effort evolved under the leadership of Mayor Greg Fischer, into an effort to effect system change in education from “cradle to career” through wraparound services and scholarship guarantees for graduating high school students.
The case explores cross-sector collaboration and governance in a city-wide context from the mayor’s point of view, centering the question of whether the process is moving too fast or too slow. It also supports learning about the design and management of cross-sector collaborations, including common challenges and success factors.
Using the case
The case brings the story to life by enabling discussion participants to place themselves in the shoes of the case protagonist(s), and it allows participants to surface a variety of perspectives. The downloadable conversation note is designed to help a discussion leader working in—or with—cities to structure the conversation, ensure equitable participation, and keep the group focused. The conversation itself is broken into three simple segments: exploring the case, diagnosing the collaborative challenges, and formulating takeaway lessons.
An expanded “teaching note” is also available here but is not necessary reading:
Thanks to a generous donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case, conversation note, or teaching note.
Twenty-two Harvard graduate students take their talents to U.S. and international cities
June 10, 2022, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, the flagship program of the Bloomberg Center for Cities, is pleased to announce the 2022 Bloomberg Harvard Summer Fellows. This group of 22 outstanding Harvard Master’s and professional degree students was selected from a highly capable pool of more than 150 applicants from across nine Harvard Schools.
Students will work in local government in the following cities, all recent participants in the Initiative’s programming for mayors and senior city leaders:
They will contribute meaningfully to innovating government services, applying the tools of data-driven decision-making, human-centered design, and cross-sector collaboration to help cities tackle complex challenges such as gun violence, youth mental health, equitable economic development, and homelessness, improving the lives of city residents.
Since 2018, the Initiative has placed 86 Harvard graduate students in paid summer roles in 59 U.S. cities and nine international cities (some with multiple placements). Fellows work closely with city leader supervisors, addressing complex problems such as affordable housing, community safety, early childhood development, equitable economic recovery, and racial equity and access. Fellows deliver work such as analyses, plan designs, and new resources to assist mayors and city staff in advancing key priorities.
This year’s class of Summer Fellows includes 12 graduate students from Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), four from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, two from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, one from the Harvard Divinity School, and one earning a joint degree at HKS and Yale Law School.
“Summer Fellows are catalysts and emerging leaders,” said Pascha McTyson, the Initiative’s Program Manager for Student Engagement. “The Fellowship is beneficial to everyone—the students who apply their skills and capabilities and gain valuable exposure, and the cities that gain extra capacity and new knowledge and tools to innovate and serve their residents.”
Seven emerging leaders take up new roles in US cities
August 4, 2022, Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, the flagship program of the Bloomberg Center for Cities, is pleased to announce the first recipients of the Bloomberg Harvard City Hall Fellowship. Seven accomplished Harvard graduates have accepted positions in city halls around the country, where they will make significant contributions over the next two years.
The City Hall Fellows are working in these cities, which have participated in the Initiative’s programming for mayors and senior city leaders:
The Bloomberg Harvard City Hall Fellowship places Harvard master’s or professional degree graduates into leadership positions in city halls, where they will contribute to lasting change by applying skills and helping build capabilities in city government. The Fellows will help their host cities tackle pressing and significant challenges identified by each mayor. Central to each Fellow’s work will be strengthening their host city’s capacity to sustain the work beyond the two-year fellowship term.
The inaugural class of City Hall Fellows includes three master’s degree graduates of Harvard Kennedy School, two from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and two from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
“I’m delighted by the knowledge and energy of this inaugural group of talented professionals,” said Bulbul Kaul, the Initiative’s Senior Program Director for City Support and Student Engagement. “The City Hall Fellows will take on complex challenges that are top priorities for each city’s leadership, ones that will benefit from fresh perspectives, new uses of data, and collaborative and innovative approaches to help diagnose and address the underlying causes and symptoms. We look forward to the cities’ future progress and accomplishments, achieved with their Fellows’ contributions over the next two years.”
The City Hall Fellowship team is planning future cohorts and will invite potential host cities to apply in fall 2022. Fellowship applications will open to eligible Harvard graduate students at that time, and the Initiative will announce the second annual cohort of Fellows in summer 2023, following a competitive application process. Fellows receive a competitive salary and benefits, robust professional development opportunities, and a unique opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
Visit our Fellowships page and join our email list to get the latest information.