Message from the Dean

Message from the Dean

Dean David N. Figlio

On Twitter and Instagram, the School of Education and Social Policy community has embraced the hashtag #SESPlove. Those who spend some time around SESP understand why. Part of it reflects the school’s personal, family feeling. But it also involves our shared mission: Our students, faculty, and staff are motivated to make life better, whether we focus on the individual, family, organization, or country. We dedicate our teaching, research, creative work, and service to this goal.

As I begin my tenth year as a SESP faculty member and first year as dean, I’ve been reflecting on why I love SESP so much. Like so many others, I love our community, what we do, and why we do it. I also love the special ways we combine education AND social policy because I’m convinced that this increases our societal impact.

For one, we are a community of cutting-edge scholars and designers with broad-ranging expertise in everything from human biology and computer science to economics, and we’re uniquely positioned to tackle society’s most pressing education and social problems.

We recognize that education and social policy are inextricably linked and that breakthroughs in one realm require a deep understanding of others. And, motivated by our shared passion for making life better for everyone, we explore human development in all its settings – formal and informal – and at every life stage.

This requires engineering new design breakthroughs and working purposefully with governmental agencies, school districts, nonprofits, museums, and other cultural institutions to develop, test, and refine our ideas. We view our collaborators as intellectual partners in our efforts to better understand, create, innovate, and improve. And we spread our new insights, discoveries, and innovations to benefit as many people as possible.

I’d love to learn how you’re making a difference in large or small ways and how we can make our community even stronger. Please email us at -- or better yet, use the #SESPlove hashtag on Twitter -- to connect with your SESP family.


David Figlio
Orrington Lunt Professor and Dean