College & Workforce Readiness

Harvard Education School Taps Former Head of Federal Ed. Research Board as New Dean

By Sarah D. Sparks — May 02, 2018 1 min read

Education economist Bridget Terry Long, a former chairwoman of the National Board for Education Science, has been named dean of Harvard University’s graduate school of education.

Long, an education and economics professor and academic dean at the school from 2013-17, will take over July 1 for current Dean James Ryan, who is leaving to become president of the University of Virginia.

Long studies the high school-to-college transition, and in particular examines ways to boost access to college for low-income and first-generation college students. In one landmark study of college financial aid, she and colleagues found that simplifying the federal application for student aid, or FAFSA, dramatically improved college enrollment and financial aid awards for low-income students. Her current research focuses on how improving information for first-generation college-going families can help them prepare academically and financially.

“Professor Long brings the energy and imagination to create an environment that will nurture new ideas and inspire solutions to some of the most-pressing problems in education,” said Harvard President Drew Faust in a statement.

Long was appointed to the National Board for Education Sciences, the Education Department’s research advisory board, in 2010, and chaired the board from 2011-13, where she argued for Congress to strengthen the role of the Institute of Education Sciences, the department’s research agency. She also is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and a board director for MDRC, a nonprofit social policy research organization.

You can see Long speak on college enrollment and persistence as part of the American Educational Research Association’s 2017 centennial lecture series, below:

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.