Ed Policy Team Recognized as Leaders in the US

By Denise Strickland

Curry Education Policy faculty and graduate students earned three separate honors when they traveled to the 2013 Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) conference on March 14-16, in New Orleans, LA in addition to authoring or co-authoring over a dozen research presentations. The Center on Education Policy and Workforce Competitiveness (CEPWC) Director Jim Wyckoff won the 2013 Outstanding Service Award, CEPWC affiliated graduate student Andrew Barr received the 2013 Pre-Doctoral New Scholars Award, and Education Policy faculty Daphna Bassok was elected to the AEFP Board of Directors.

The Outstanding Service Award is given to an individual who has made contributions to public policy development, research, public understanding, local school finance development and service to AEFP.  The recipient of the award is chosen by the AEFP Board of Directors and announced at the annual meeting. Wyckoff has also received the Curry School’s 2012 Outstanding Professor Award, and was appointed to the National Research Council’s Committee on Strengthening Science Education, establishing a pattern of leadership and excellence.

Andrew Barr, an economics graduate student who has been participating in CEPWC events for approximately two years, received a Pre-Doctoral New Scholars Award, winning $1,500 to support his research in on the effect of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Barr’s working paper is currently available through the CEPWC working paper series. Barr says he began attending the CEPWC events because, “the group places an important emphasis on policy that contrasts with much of my training as an economist. Group members often see things from a different, but important perspective.” 

Education Policy faculty member Daphna Bassok was elected to the AEFP Board of Directors with a term ending in 2016.  Current board members put forward nominees, and the entire membership voted at the annual meeting. Center Director Wyckoff was not surprised by Bassok’s election: “It is an important recognition of Daphna’s stature among her colleagues that she has been elected to a policymaking position in this national educational policy research organization.  Daphna’s expertise, judgment and leadership have made a huge difference as we have grown our education policy program. It is telling that her colleagues across the country recognize these skills even at this early stage of her career.”

In addition to these awards, CEPWC faculty and students presented or co-authored 15 different research presentations at this year’s conference, on topics ranging from early childhood education to turnaround school policy.

Education Policy Program affiliates were receiving these honors as the U.S. News & World Report was announcing its new ranking of graduate schools and programs, which places the Curry School’s Education Policy Program at #10 in the country.

Dean Robert Pianta announced the rise in ranking to the Curry School, commenting, “It is a remarkable but not surprising accomplishment that our education policy program was recognized by peers as among the top ten in the country.  Our faculty in this area are absolutely first rate and the training students receive here is second to none in terms of quality of mentorship and opportunities for working at the intersection of rigorous research and real world policy decisions. It’s a great credit to all involved.” 

The national recognition of the Education Policy program and the work at CEPWC is all the more impressive, given the youth of the program and center. “In less than five years we have developed our Ph.D. program and moved to among the top 10 in the U.S.,” said Wyckoff, “This reflects the talents and concerted efforts of faculty and students from Curry and across the University to develop a collaborative environment focused on high quality scholarship.”