SESP Faculty Address Urban Challenges at Global Conference

SESP Faculty Address Urban Challenges at Global Conference

global conference

Several School of Education and Social Policy faculty members will take part in a high-profile international conference on how university research can meet the challenges of urban growth around the world. “Global Urban Challenges: The Role of Universities” features leaders from more than 30 of the world’s top research universities, including SESP professors Jim Spillane, David Figlio, Cynthia Coburn, Fay Lomax Cook and James Rosenbaum.

President Morton Schapiro will discuss how university research can help meet the challenges that urbanization inevitably will bring. More than half the world’s population today are urban residents, and the United Nations projects that nearly two-thirds will live in cities by 2050.

The conference from November 18 to 20 was designed to bring together experts from research universities who are uniquely qualified to develop innovative solutions to key challenges in urban health, education and vitality. The conference is hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois.

Jim Spillane will chair the urban education working group focusing on understanding university relationships with key institutions in addressing challenges of urbanization. On November 18 the group will consider models for university relationships with government, nonprofits and for-profit institutions.

David Figlio will participate in the urban education working group on research methodologies and case studies on November 19. This group will explore the best way to use research data and collaborations between researchers and policymakers for guiding research and policy.

Cynthia Coburn will participate in the working group looking into how to translate research into practice in urban education. On November 20, this group will zero in on evaluating the impact of research, identifying the best practices for building industry and government partnerships, bringing projects to scale, and overcoming barriers to putting the best research into practice.

Similarly, Fay Cook will chair the working group on urban vitality that will consider how to evaluate success in bringing research to practice in the area of urban social issues. James Rosenbaum is a member of this working group, which seeks to identify the best approaches to partnerships, scaling up projects and translating research into practice.

Spillane is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change and a faculty associate at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. He has published extensively on issues of education policy, policy implementation, school reform, and school leadership.

Figlio is the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy, director of the Institute for Policy Research, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research on education and social policy, including influential work on school accountability, standards, welfare policy, and policy design, has been published in numerous leading journals

Coburn is a professor of human development and social policy. A graduate of the doctoral program in education at Stanford University, she studies the relationship between instructional policy and teachers' classroom practices in urban schools.

Cook is a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and professor of human development and social policy. A past president of the Gerontological Society of America and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, she researches the interrelationships between public opinion and public policy and the politics of public policy.

A specialist in research on work, education and housing opportunities, Rosenbaum has published five books and numerous articles on these subjects. He conducted a major research project on the effects of relocating poor inner-city black families in public housing to subsidized housing in white middle-class suburbs. More recently, he has been studying the high school to work transition, community colleges and ways high schools can improve college access. 

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 11/18/13