Penelope Peterson, dean of the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) at Northwestern University, was elected to membership in the National Academy of Education because of her outstanding scholarship and contributions to education. The National Academy, a prestigious organization limited to 200 U.S. members, is dedicated to advancing high-quality education research and its use in policy formulation.
Prior to her appointment as SESP dean in 1997, Peterson served as University Distinguished Professor of Education at Michigan State University and Sears-Bascom Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Under Peterson’s leadership, SESP has moved up from a rank of 20 by U.S. News and World Reports to consistent ranking among the top 10 schools of education nationally. With Peterson as dean, the School has advanced as interdisciplinary and research-based, and new partnerships, initiatives, faculty and research grants have strengthened the School.
Peterson's books include Restructuring in the Classroom: Teaching, Learning, and School Organization (with Richard Elmore and Sarah McCarthey) and Learning from Our Lives: Women, Research, and Autobiography in Education (with Anna Neumann). Recently she co-edited (with Eva Baker and Barry McGaw) the International Encyclopedia of Education, Third Edition, which incorporates eight volumes.
Peterson is past president of the American Educational Research Association. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the American Educational Research Association. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.
In addition to her role as dean, Peterson co-teaches the beginning course in the Learning Sciences graduate program, and she directs the undergraduate Honors Program in the School of Education and Social Policy.
Along with Peterson, other SESP faculty members who are members of the National Academy of Education are professors Carol Lee and Larry Hedges and professor emeritus Allan Collins. The Academy regularly convenes conferences and sponsors studies and reports, as well as administers the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.