About Us

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He also holds positions as Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. He has received honorary degrees from twenty-five colleges and universities, including institutions in Ireland, Italy, Israel, Chile, South Korea, and Greece. In 2005 and again in 2008, he was selected by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as one of the 100 most influential public intellectuals in the world. The author of over twenty books translated into twenty-seven languages, and several hundred articles, Gardner is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments.

During the past two decades, Gardner and colleagues at Project Zero have been involved in the design of performance-based assessments; education for understanding; the use of multiple intelligences to achieve more personalized curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy; and the quality of interdisciplinary efforts in education. Since the middle 1990s, in collaboration with psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and William Damon, Gardner has directed the GoodWork Project-a study of work that is excellent, engaging, and ethical. More recently, members of the GoodWork Project have led reflection sessions in an effort to enhance the incidence of good work among young people. With colleagues at Project Zero, he is also investigating the nature of trust in contemporary society and ethical dimensions of the new digital media.

In order to produce 'good work' and become 'good workers,' young professionals need to be reflective about the purposes of their work and proactive about the approaches they take in their work. Young people need to ask themselves, 'What are the implications of my work and what are the ramifications of the work-related decisions I make?' Building in periodic reflection about the kind of work you set out to do, the ways in which you go about doing it, and on the final product, will increase the likelihood of 'good work.'

Wendy Fischman

Wendy Fischman joined Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1995 as a researcher with Project Co-Arts, a study of educationally effective community art centers. Since 1996, she has managed various aspects of the GoodWork Project, specifically focused on the meaning of work in the lives of young children, adolescents, and novice professionals. Wendy has written about education and human development in several scholarly and popular articles addressing topics such as life long commitment to service work, inspirational mentoring, and teaching in precollegiate education. She is lead author of Making Good: How Young People Cope with Moral Dilemmas at Work , published by Harvard University Press in 2004. Most recently, Wendy has co-developed a curriculum for students and teachers to introduce the concept of good work in classrooms and schools. Wendy has taught humanities to middle school students and has evaluated school reform programs facilitated by a government-sponsored Regional Laboratory. She received a BA from Northwestern University.

Developing good work and good citizenship in a distrustful time is our challenge... in the same way our leaders are trying to rebuild trust in our nation, we are trying to build trust in our young people and get them excited about the future and about possibility - and to really get them to care.

excerpt from interview, HOW Online

Lynn Barendsen

Lynn Barendsen is a Project Manager at the GoodWork Project. After graduating from Bates College, Lynn spent several years engaged in graduate study in American literature at the University of Chicago and Boston University. She has published articles on African American and regionalist literatures. At Boston University she taught courses in literature and film, English and American literature, and expository writing. Lynn has been working on the GoodWork Project since 1997, focusing in particular on the work of young professionals. She has written several articles about young social and business entrepreneurs and young professionals in theater and business. Most recently, with Howard Gardner, she has co-authored a chapter on the Young Worker in a Global Age in the Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work. With Wendy Fischman, she has co-developed the GoodWork Toolkit, designed to help develop a common language that school communities and other institutions can use to define their work and identify their goals.

Slowing down can be counter-cultural, especially in young lives that are technology-driven and filled with rapid-fire activities. It is vital that committed adults model and foster the ability and propensity to pause and evaluate one's own values, goals, and experiences in ways that are personally and socially constructive. Such self-reflection is not exclusively solitary: facilitated activities can deepen our self-understanding, reveal our commitments to others, and develop our ability to ask difficult questions of ourselves. When we structure reflection about ethics and identity we model and encourage the challenging work of aligning what we stand for with what we do.

Kathleen Kury Farrell

Kathleen Farrell worked in higher education for twelve years before enrolling as a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As an assistant dean, Kathleen worked closely with faculty and staff to develop opportunities for students to explore and contemplate meaningful work and service through their in-class and co-curricular experiences. She has facilitated career and leadership development programs for students and staff, coordinated a campus-wide community-standards program, and designed orientation and disorientation programs for first-year and senior students.

Kathleen's research explores self-reflection during adolescence and young adulthood: who makes time to consider their beliefs, goals, and experiences, what forms does their self-reflection take, and what function might self-reflection play in the development of their moral identity and sense of purpose? She has been a research assistant with the GoodWork Project since 2007.

The testing obsession in our country places intense pressure on teachers to have their students perform on standardized assessments. This drives the focus of instruction to math and reading, with little attention to other subjects, let alone guidance on moral development. The national focus on standardized testing and the subsequent narrowing curriculum takes away students' chance at a meaningful, comprehensive education. In thinking back to my time teaching at a school feeling increasing pressure to produce testing results, I reflect on my most valuable contributions as non-test related, but rather the chance to impact my students' values and to encourage them to build a lifelong desire for learning.

Margot Locker

Margot Locker is a Research Assistant for the GoodWork Project. She attended Northwestern for her undergraduate education, receiving a B.A. in History and African-American Studies. Margot then moved to Philadelphia to serve as a corps member with Teach for America, teaching 2nd and 3rd graders at a charter school in West Philadelphia. During this time, she received a Masters Degree in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied the challenges facing urban education. She completed a thesis on the spread of childhood obesity in America and how schools can play a part in fighting the epidemic. Margot joined the GoodWork Project in 2010.


Christopher Waltrous

Creating environments in which people can craft personal meaning and create life goals is integral in turning the desire of people to do good into practice. As someone trained in counseling psychology, creating the space for individuals to be introspective can be transformational across all dimensions of their lives: in school, work, and in one's daily choices and interactions with others. Thus, recognizing a shared motivation to do good--and creating structures to enhance these values--is key to promoting human rights, civil liberties, and to create a more cosmopolitan world.

Christopher Waltrous completed his training as a mental health counselor in May 2010. As a student, Christopher mainly focused on the meaning of work in people's lives across the lifespan and its connection to mental health, particularly focusing on the immigrant experience in the United States. Chris has a myriad of experiences working with educational and workplace issues. In his graduate program, Christopher helped evaluate various school-to-work programs in the areas of science, technology engineering and mathematics fields in the Boston and Cambridge school systems. As an aside to his graduate study, Christopher facilitated workshops for recently settled refugees to the United States for a federally funded program which imparted the interview skills necessary to secure a job. Christopher joined the GoodWork team in October 2010.