Empathetic Design: A Sustainable Approach to School Change


A descriptive case study approach employing a content analysis of the blogs of 36 school leaders who took part in the 2016-2017 Shadow a Student Challenge project and follow up interviews of five of the school leaders were used to explore and describe how an empathetic design approach provided a greater vantage point for school leaders to gain a deeper insight into the school experience by viewing school through the eyes of students.  School leaders play a key role in establishing the culture, climate, and educational outcomes within their school environments.  An empathetic design approach to school reform provides a stronger point for initiating change than an atmosphere focused on evaluation and accountability.  Taking a school-based approach, encouraging school leaders to immerse themselves in the school experience, provides an opportunity for school leaders to gain empathy and insights foundational in generating meaningful and innovative change leading to sustainable education. Three major themes emerged from the findings: 1) pace and structure of the school day, 2) student learning experience, and 3) reflective and innovative insights.


This publication has been peer reviewed.
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Hartman, R., Johnston, E., & Hill, M.
Year of Publication: 
Journal, Book, Magazine or Other Publication Title: 
Discourse and Communication for Sustainable Education
Publication Language: 
Boyer's Domain: 



Journal of Leadership Studies-Symposium Piece-Relational Leadership: Perspectives of Key Constructs on Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Equity in Higher Education

Psychology Today
Blog Posts Published


American Psychological Association Conference-Utilizing Clinical Hypnotherapeutic Intervention with CBT to Treat Pandemic-Aug. 13-2021 Symptomology

ILA Conference Geneva Switzerland 2021
Presenter -Topic-"The Stress Arc in Leadership and 3 Powerful Disciplines for Mitigating Major Stress Impacts in a New Era"-Upcoming
Presenter -Topic-“Improving Higher Education’s Role in Diversity and Social Equity through Relational Leadership in the New Era”-Upcoming
Presenter-Topic-"Healthcare Leadership-Using Virtuous Leadership in Chaos to Reimagine Beneficial Practices of Employee Cognitive Psychology"-Upcoming
2021-Knowledge Without Boundaries National Summit-College of Doctoral Studies Research Conference-University of Phoenix-Panel Discussion-"Exploring Emergent Trends in Leadership and Education"-Based on published symposia article from the Journal of Leadership Studies- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jls.21734