“At each turn, questions come up that we’ve never thought about before,” Nitin Nohria, the new dean, said in an interview.

The administrators had no sense of whether their lessons would last once their charges left campus.

The institution would become a laboratory for studying how women speak in group settings, the links between romantic relationships and professional status, and the use of everyday measurement tools to reduce bias.“We have to lead the way, and then lead the world in doing it,” said Frances Frei, her words suggesting the school’s sense of mission but also its self-regard. Frei, a popular professor turned administrator who had become a target of student ire, was known for the word “unapologetic,” as in: we are unapologetic about the changes we are making.

Students were demanding more women on the faculty, a request the deans were struggling to fulfill.

And they did not know what to do about developments like female students dressing as Playboy bunnies for parties and taking up the same sexual rating games as men.

Alcohol-soaked social events could be worse.“You weren’t supposed to talk about it in open company,” said Kathleen L.

Mc Ginn, a professor who supervised a student study that revealed the grade gap.

The administrators installed stenographers in the classroom to guard against biased grading, provided private coaching — for some, after every class — for untenured female professors, and even departed from the hallowed case-study method.

The dean’s ambitions extended far beyond campus, to what Dr.

BOSTON — When the members of the Harvard Business School class of 2013 gathered in May to celebrate the end of their studies, there was little visible evidence of the experiment they had undergone for the last two years.

As they stood amid the brick buildings named after businessmen from Morgan to Bloomberg, black-and-crimson caps and gowns united the 905 graduates into one genderless mass.

(Gender was not the sole rationale for the course, but the deans thought the format would help.) New grading software tools let professors instantly check their calling and marking patterns by gender. Nohria’s message later: “We’re going to solve it at the school level, but each of you is responsible to identify what you are doing that gets you to this point.”Mr. Frei and others involved in the project saw themselves as outsiders who had succeeded at the school and wanted to help others do the same. Frei, the chairwoman of the first-year curriculum, was the most vocal, with her mop of silver-brown hair and the drive of the college basketball player she had once been.