Monica Higgins joined the Harvard faculty in 1995 and is Professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) where her research and teaching focus on the areas of leadership development and organizational change. Prior to joining HGSE, she spent eleven years as a member of the faculty at Harvard Business School in the organizational behavior unit.
Her book Career Imprints: Creating Leaders Across an Industry (2005) focuses on the leadership development of executives in the biotechnology industry. In education, her research focuses on the effectiveness of senior leadership teams and the ways in which school culture impacts student performance in large urban public school systems. In addition, she has a study underway that examines entrepreneurship in education and the role of Teach for America in the sector.
While at Harvard, Professor Higgins’ teaching has focused on the areas of leadership and organizational behavior, teams, entrepreneurship, and strategic human resources management. She is a core faculty member of the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP), a joint initiative between Harvard Business School and Harvard Graduate School of Education that works directly with large urban districts to solve complex system-level problems and improve performance.
Professor Higgins has also taught in leadership programs for The Broad Foundation and for New Leaders for New Schools. Before entering academia, she held marketing and organizational consulting positions at American Express Travel Related Services, BankBoston, Bain & Company, and Harbridge House.
She earned her AB from Dartmouth College, her MBA from the Tuck School of Business, her MA from Harvard University, and her PhD jointly from the Harvard Business School and the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Finding solutions to many of the issues school systems face today—shrinking budgets, outmoded facilities, underperformance—requires buy-in from multiple constituencies. Education leaders must exercise leadership without formal authority in today's environment and create the conditions for collaboration and teamwork that enable others to do their best work.
– Monica Higgins