Nan Stein

Nan Stein

Senior Research Scientist

Ed.D. Harvard University

Directs several national research projects on sexual harassment, gender violence, and teen dating violence in K-12 schools; writes and lectures extensively on these issues


Nan Stein, Ed.D., is a senior research scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women. She has conducted research on sexual harassment/gender violence in K-12 schools and teen dating violence for more than 30 years and co-led the Shifting Boundaries, school-based dating violence prevention program. A former middle school social studies teacher, drug and alcohol counselor, and gender equity specialist with the Massachusetts Department of Education, she has collaborated with teachers’ unions and sexual assault/domestic violence agencies throughout the U.S. Stein has authored many book chapters, law review articles, and academic journal articles as well as commentaries for the mainstream media and the educational press, and often served as an expert witness in Title IX/sex discrimination-sexual harassment lawsuits in K-12 schools heard in federal and state courts. She has been featured in scores of print and broadcast media stories. Stein’s research portfolio has been funded by the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Education Association, the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, and other private family foundations.

Current Work

With funding from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Stein has been studying schools to prevent Dating Violence/Harassment (DV/H). The long-term goal of this study is helping prevent dating violence, sexual violence, and sexual harassment by employing the most rigorous methods to evaluate strategies for altering the violence-supportive attitudes and norms of youth. The study evaluates the relative effectiveness of Shifting Boundaries, a multi-level approach to DV/H prevention programming (in terms of knowledge, attitudes, intended behavior, behavior, and emotional safety of youth participants) for middle school students in 55 middle schools in a large urban school district.

Stein is also working with the Justice and Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative Team at the Wellesley Centers for Women to document the current landscape (the breadth and differences) of campus approaches to investigations and adjudication of sexual assault. The project will result in guidelines that will assist colleges with assessing their capacity and preparedness to meet new and existing demands for sexual assault response models.


Stein was co-principal investigator and lead author of the Seventeen magazine (September 1992) survey on sexual harassment in schools, Secrets in Public: Sexual Harassment in Our Schools. Stein co-authored three teaching guides, Flirting or Hurting? A Teacher’s Guide on Student-to-Student Sexual Harassment in Schools for Grades 6 through 12 (1994); Bullyproof (1996) that explores teasing and bullying in elementary grades as the antecedents of sexual harassment; and Gender Violence/Gender Justice: an Interdisciplinary Teaching Guide for Teachers of English, Literature, Social Studies, Psychology, Health, Peer Counseling, and Family and Consumer Sciences (grades 7-12), (1999).

Her book, Classrooms and Courtrooms: Facing Sexual Harassment in K-12 Schools, was published in 1999 by Teachers College Press of Columbia University. Her writings have appeared on op-ed pages, in education journals, law journals, and several books. Among those journals that have published her writing include The Harvard Educational Review; Journal of School Violence; Journal of Emotional Abuse; Duke University Journal of Gender Law & Policy; Hastings Women’s Law Journal; Educational Leadership; Women’s Studies Quarterly; West's Education Law Reporter; and The Peabody Journal of Education. Her op-ed pieces have appeared in Education Week; New York Teacher; and USA Today.

Stein has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; NBC Nightly News; CNN; and Good Morning America. She has conducted dozens of radio interviews, including segments on Christian Science Monitor Radio, and All Things Considered on National Public Radio, and has been interviewed by scores of journalists. She has been appointed to the editorial boards of the Violence Against Women Journal (2000-2003) and the Journal of School Violence (2001). Stein was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts as a Commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence for a term of three years.

Stein presented at the National Summit on Gender-Based Violence Among Young People organized by the U.S. Departments of Justice, Education, and Health & Human Services April 6-7, 2011; read all the background research materials>>

Stein testified Feb. 9, 2011 at a hearing on the Legislative Order to Make Recommendations on Bullying and Cyber-Bullying Laws at the Massachusetts State House; read testimony >>


Stein holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Antioch College Graduate School of Education, and a Doctorate in Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. In 2007, she received the Outstanding Contribution to Education award from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.