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Research Partnership

Building the Science of Kindness Together

The Ben’s Bells Project’s partnership with the Community Research, Evaluation & Development (CRED) team at the University of Arizona began when CRED, intrigued by the momentum of Ben’s Bells programming, became interested in studying the mechanisms of kindness programming and of kindness itself. How does kindness programming work? How can the kindness of a person, a school, or a business be measured? What effects does kindness have on our health and happiness, our relationships, and our community? The body of scientific research demonstrating the physical and mental health benefits of practicing intentional kindness, gratitude, and self-compassion is rapidly growing. Through our partnership, we see an opportunity to connect this evidence with community-based and school-based efforts to discover the impacts of intentional kindness.

Our program of kindness education research is guided by researchers but driven by educators, school-based professionals, and youth. We have had the opportunity to hear from numerous educators and students about how the Kind Campus program is being used in schools across the country. The UA team has begun to develop measures of kindness and to gather data that can help improve kindness education programming. More than 250 students, educators, and school administrators have contributed valuable input into building this foundation from which we can further the science of kindness. We have also worked to understand the concept of “kind discipline,” asking partners to envision how the principles of kindness could transform the disciplinary processes in school.

Our long-range goal is to work together to develop Ben’s Bells programming into empirically-based, nationally-recognized interventions, improving well-being in our schools and communities and providing opportunities for translational research. We are also committed to building the evaluation capacity of Ben’s Bells and Kind Campus schools. We envision a partnership that extends beyond the offices of the Ben’s Bells Project and the campus of the University of Arizona. Building the science of kindness isn’t something that can be accomplished by researchers alone in a lab: it is a process that we believe requires the wisdom and effort of an entire community. For more information about our current work, please explore the links below.

Articles published on Ben’s Bells Project research:

Kind discipline: Developing a conceptual model of a promising school discipline approach 

Studying the teaching of kindness: A conceptual model for evaluating kindness education programs in schools

The Influence of the Ben’s Bells Kind Campus Program on School Climate in a School District in Tucson, Arizona

Evaluation Team

Michele Walsh Ph.D., Associate Research Professor and CRED Team Lead
Deirdre (DeeDee) Avery, M.S., MPH, Evaluation Specialist
John Daws, Ph.D., Research Scientist
Madeleine deBlois, M.Ed, Sc.D., Research Scientist
Violeta Dominguez, M.A., Research Scientist
Rachel Leih, Research Specialist
Kara Tanoue, B.A., Research Specialist