Inquiry Magazine Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy

Spring 2017

Paula Hooper

New Faculty

Paula Hooper is an assistant professor of instruction in the Master of Science in Education program. She received her PhD from the MIT Media Lab and she researches how to use computational tools and design to support and engage learners in all environments.


Cynthia Coburn, Heising-Simons Foundation and Stanford University, “Development and Research in Early Mathematics Education Network—Phase II,” $457,922; the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, “Fostering Prekindergarten—3 Alignment and Continuity in Two California School Districts,” $70,000.

Mesmin Destin, E. Tipton, S. Fryberg, and D. Yeager, Mindset Scholars Network, “The Nature and Reproducibility of Mindset Effects Across Diverse Contexts,” $67,775.

David Figlio Laura and John Arnold Foundation, “Schools That Promote Opportunity for All,” $458,815.

Liz Gerber, Matt Easterday, Joyce Foundation, “Citizens’ Assembly Deliberation Platform Development,” $50,000.

Jonathan Guryan, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development via the University of Chicago, “Remediating Academic and Non-Academic Skills Deficit Among Disadvantaged Youth,” $230,470.

Michael Horn, National Science Foundation, “Collaborative Research: Mixing Learning Experiences for Computer Programming Across Museums, Classrooms, and the Home Using Computational Music,” $474,800.

Dan McAdams, Foley Family Foundation, “Foley Longitudinal Study of Adulthood,” $125,000.

Doug Medin, National Science Foundation, “Enhancing Robustness and Generalizability in the Social and Behavioral Sciences,” $67,625.

Brian Reiser, National Institutes of Health, Office of the Director and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “Progressing Through the Ages: Global Climate Change, Evolution and Societal Well-being (PAGES),” $215,620.

Heather Shoenfeld and M. Campbell, Anonymous Foundation, “The Changing Tides of Mass Incarceration: Explaining State Variation in Decarceration Reforms,” $75,000.

Teresa Eckrich Sommer, Terri Sabol, A. Morris, Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Administration for Children and Families, “The Northwestern University Two- Generation Study (NU2Gen) of Parent and Child Human Capital,” $1,574,813.

David Uttal, National Science Foundation, “EAGER: MAKER: The Design and Engineering of Scientific Instrumentation as a Pathway for Introducing Making Into High School Science,” $299,957.

Shirin Vossoughi, Moore Foundation, “Learning Through Youth Community Tinkering,” $218,000; National Science Foundation, “CAP: Collaborative Research: Building Capacity for Political and Cultural Perspectives to Strengthen the Learning Sciences,” $24,752.

Uri Wilensky, Michael Horn, National Science Foundation, “A Whole-School Model for Integrating Computational Thinking in High School Science and Mathematics,” $2,487,318; Wilensky, National Science Foundation, “Collaborative Research: Group-Based Cloud Computing for STEM Education Project,” $587,794; Brown, Hendricks, Uri Wilensky, National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology for Drug Use and HIV (Ce-PIM),” $988,753.

Figlio Named Dean of School of Education and Social Policy

Figlio Named Dean of School of Education and Social Policy
Photo By Steve Drey

David Figlio, the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy, and Director and Faculty Fellow of the Institute for Policy Research, has been appointed dean of the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) at Northwestern University, effective Sept. 1. He will succeed Penelope Peterson, who will retire as dean Aug. 31 after serving 20 years in that leadership role.

Figlio, also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, is highly regarded nationally and internationally for his scholarship on school accountability, choice, standards, welfare policy and policy design, intergenerational issues in health and education, and student learning outcomes in higher education.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to lead the outstanding faculty, students, and staff at SESP,” Figlio said. “The diversity of the research and service conducted by our faculty in learning sciences, human development, and education and social policy, along with the impact that our work has and will continue to have, is astounding.”

Figlio, Schapiro named to National Academy of Education

Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) Professor David Figlio and Northwestern University President and Professor Morton Schapiro have been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Education.

Figlio, the incoming SESP dean, and Schapiro were selected for their indelible marks on education through their scholarship.

An honor society limited to 209 U.S. members, the National Academy advances high-quality research to inform and improve education policy and practice—a core mission of SESP’s outstanding faculty researchers.

SESP now boasts nine National Academy of Education members. Previously elected members include Dean Penelope Peterson, professors Carol Lee, Lindsay Chase- Lansdale, Larry Hedges, Douglas Medin and James Spillane; and Professor Emeritus Allan Collins.

Spillane Recognized as Top Education Leadership Researcher

Spillane Recognized as Top Education Leadership Researcher

James Spillane, the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change and an associate fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research, was cited as one of the world’s most prominent education leadership scholars, according to two studies published in education journals.

Spillane, an expert on school leadership and educational policy, is best known for coining and analyzing the “distributed” leadership model of education, which focuses on leader- ship practice rather than the individual leader.

Spillane ranks among the most published scholars on leadership models in education over the last three decades. His 2006 book, Distributed Leadership, was one of the top-cited books/reports in the field from 2009 to 2013.

Wilensky Wins Design Award

Wilensky Wins Design Award

Northwestern University learning scientist and computer scientist Uri Wilensky has received the prestigious 2016 Excellence in Educational Design Award for the design and development of NetLogo, a computer- based modeling system that allows users to construct simulations of natural and social phenomena and evaluate “what if” case scenarios.

Given annually by the International Society for Design and Development in Education (ISDDE), the award highlights decades of innovative work by Wilensky, who created NetLogo in 1999. The modeling system has been in continuous development ever since at his lab, the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling.


Mesmin Destin (2016), “An Open Path to the Future: Perceived Financial Resources and School Motivation,” Journal of Early Adolescence.

Claudia Haase, S. Holley, L. Bloch, A. Verstaen and R. W. Levenson, (2016), “Interpersonal Emotional Behaviors and Physical Health: A 20-year longitudinal study of long-term married couples,” Emotion.

J. Guo, M. Klevan, Dan McAdams, (2016), “Personality Traits, Ego Development, and the Redemptive Self.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Jake Nelson, Dan Lewis, Ryan Lei (2016), Digital Democracy in America: A Look at Civic Engagement in an Internet Age,” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.

Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Saiying Steenbergen-Hu, D. Thomson & Rhoda Rosen (2016), “Minority Achievement Gaps in STEM: Findings of a Longitudinal Study of Project Excite,” Gifted Child Quarterly.

David Rapp (2016), “The Consequences of Reading Inaccurate Information,” Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Brian Reiser, Christina V. Schwarz, C. Passmore (2016), Helping Students Make Sense of the World Using Next Generation Science and Engineering Practices, NSTA Press Book.

Saiying Steenbergen-Hu, Paula Olszewski- Kubilius, M. Makel (2016), “What One Hundred Years of Research Says About Ability- Grouping and Acceleration: Findings of Two Second-Order Meta-Analysis,” Review of Educational Research.

J. Diamond and James Spillane (2016), “School Leadership and Management From a Distributed Perspective: A 2016 Retrospective and Prospective,” Management in Education.