Short Author Bio(s)

Shelley White is Assistant Professor of Health Sciences at Worcester State University. She previously served as the Simmons World Challenge Coordinator at Simmons College, where she was also on faculty in Sociology and Public Health.

Mindy Nitkin is Associate Professor of Management at Simmons College. She served as core faculty for the Simmons World Challenge in 2012, and currently coordinates Simmons’ Clinton Global Initiative University program.


The Simmons World Challenge is a unique, interdisciplinary program recently developed at Simmons College. It immerses students in an intensive winter-session course that challenges them to tackle a pressing social issue, such as poverty or hunger, and create actionable solutions to the problem. The program was conceived and designed to harness the strengths of pedagogical theories on transformational teaching and learning. This article describes the Simmons World Challenge and presents assessment findings from the program’s third iteration in 2013, as well as on the long-term impact of the program based on follow-up assessments with the first two cohorts of students. These assessment findings demonstrate the deep and positive impact of the program on students’ engagement with learning, personal growth, academic habits and attitudes, student leadership and initiative, and sense of community at Simmons College.