SESP Attracts Record Number of Students

SESP Attracts Record Number of Students

SESP group photoNorthwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) welcomed 451 undergraduates to campus for the 2017-18 school year, the most in school history.

Read about Dean Figlio's welcoming remarks to undergraduates

The incoming SESP student body includes 58 new undergraduates and transfers, 101 incoming graduate students, a new joint Computer Science/Learning Science PhD program, and two new faculty members: Nichole Pinkard (PhD98) and Ofer Malamud.

Here’s how SESP breaks down for the 2017-18 year: 

New faculty

Pinkard, associate professor of learning sciences, and Malamud, associate professor of human development and social policy, joined Northwestern from DePaul University and the University of Chicago, respectively.

Pinkard was one of the first graduates of SESP’s Learning Sciences PhD program and joins the Office of STEM Education Partnerships. Her research focuses on creating supportive learning spaces, both on and offline.

Pinkard, the founder of the Digital Youth Network, received the 2014 Northwestern University Alumni Association Alumni Merit Award. In 2016, she delivered the keynote speech during the 2016 graduate convocation ceremony.

Malamud joined the Human Development and Social Policy faculty and is a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research. He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University and researches labor economics and the economics of education, including the effects of education on jobs and educational investments throughout life. He’ll be teaching the Quantitative Methods 1 course for PhD students.

Undergraduates and Transfers

The class of 2021 includes 58 new students who will delve into human development and psychological services, learning and organizational change, social policy, secondary teaching and learning sciences.

Twelve student leaders were selected as SESP peer advisors for the 2017-18 school year: Fannie Koltun, Juliana Conway, Katherine Tierney, Andrew Pollack, Ruthie Charendoff (returning), Ross Baker, Isabel Hoffman (returning), Leo Rivera, Jake Stein, Diana Roldan, Sierra Gaw and Shaleila Louis (returning).

The Family Ambassadors, who assist parents, were Cynthia Ramos Rico, Daniela Villalvazo, and Yajaira Gallegos.

Graduate students

Graduate school is a time to try new things, take risks, and to be vulnerable, Figlio told the newest cohort of students.

“You can interpret dead ends as ‘I don’t belong here’ or ‘I’m not cut out for this,’ but you don’t hit dead ends unless you try new directions,” Figlio said. “Ultimately the spirit of discovery is all about those new directions.”

Human Development and Social Policy
The Human Development and Social Policy (HDSP) doctoral program, which strongly advocates interdisciplinary research and collaboration, welcomed five new doctoral students this fall: Angel Bohannon, Jen Cowhy, Sheridan Fuller, Sebastian Kiguel, and Meghan Leggero. Their research interests range from education reforms in disadvantaged communities, students with chronic exposure to trauma, to analyzing, understanding, and improving the strengths and effectiveness if anti-poverty programs.          

Learning Sciences
Thirteen new students joined the Learning Sciences graduate program; five will be pursuing their Phd’s, including Mari Altshuler, Arturo Munoz, Kristine Lu, Alisa Reith and Addie Shrodes. Master’s degree candidates include Jeniece Fleming, Elsie Michaels, Aireale Rodgers, Danielle Shiv and Xizi Zhang. Three students have enrolled in the new Joint Computer Science and Learning Sciences PhD program; they are Connor Bain, Jamie Gorson, and Garret Hedman.

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)
Twenty-six new teachers are taking classes this fall, including nine new elementary teachers, 14 new secondary teachers, and three new students who are current teachers pursuing a degree. This brings the total number of students to 60. In addition, 16 teachers started the Certificate of Advanced Study sequences in the summer. Across both graduate and undergraduate programs, SESP will have 42 student teachers in the field this year.

The Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy (MSHE)
The MSHE program accepted 22 new students — a mix of full-time, part-time, and graduate certificate students— who are interested in various areas of higher education administration, from study abroad and admissions to college access, change management, academic advising, residence life and career services. Incoming students hail from eight states and two countries; some students come directly from undergraduate programs while others have had work experience in fields such as business and law. 

Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change (MSLOC)
The MSLOC program welcomed 35 new students in the fall, including 17 part-timers. The new students have a range of diverse professional backgrounds, both corporate and not-for-profit. Many students who live outside the Chicago area are earning their degrees through the Hybrid option, which combines distance learning with on-campus class meetings. MSLOC has six new non-resident students pursuing the Hybrid schedule format who live in Texas, Virginia, Arizona, Washington, and Nebraska. Twenty-nine are Illinois residents; seven relocated to the Chicago area to attend classes at MSLOC.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 9/25/17