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School & District Management

Lagemann Is Named at Spencer

By Lynn Olson — April 05, 2000 1 min read

The Spencer Foundation, a Chicago-based philanthropy that supports research in education, last week named Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, a nationally known education historian, as its next president.

Ms. Lagemann, a professor of history and education at New York University and a longtime scholar of education research, is the president of the National Academy of Education, an honorary society of scholars that has sought over the years to improve research on schooling.

She is the author of An Elusive Science: The Troubling History of Education Research, scheduled to be published next month by the University of Chicago Press.

“Ellen Lagemann exemplifies the qualities that Spencer admires: intelligence, integrity, and commitment to the improvement of research about education,” said Mary Patterson McPherson, who chairs the board of directors of the Spencer Foundation. “We are delighted that she is joining us.”

Ms. Lagemann will succeed Patricia Albjerg Graham, who is retiring from the foundation and returning to Harvard University’s graduate school of education, where she is a professor of the history of education. Ms. Lagemann will be the fourth president in the history of the foundation.

“I think this is a very exciting moment for the field because everybody is interested in education research, and there are a lot of very constructive conversations going on about ways in which education research can be strengthened,” Ms. Lagemann said last week. “I think that puts Spencer in a position to try to be a facilitator of some of this.”

A Wider Circle

Ms. Lagemann, who will begin her new job next fall, said she was particularly interested in building the foundation’s capacity to do more “field-based, practice-oriented policy research.”

The Spencer Foundation, established in 1962 through the gift of Lyle Spencer, a businessman who made his money in educational publishing, has assets of some $600 million.

It primarily provides grants to individual investigators for research projects of their choice on educational issues.

In recent years, the foundation has significantly increased its funding for beginning scholars and for research intended to increase the understanding of educational practice.

The foundation also helps underwrite research coverage in Education Week.

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A version of this article appeared in the April 05, 2000 edition of Education Week as Lagemann Is Named at Spencer

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