MPES Conference Explores Partnerships

MPES Conference Explores Partnerships

Angela BookerAngela Booker

Researchers who truly want to change lives must understand the people involved in their lines of inquiry, including principals, teachers, students, and parents, Northwestern University Professor David Figlio said during the recent Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (MPES) Conference.

“We can’t stand far back from the people we’re trying to study and have either legitimacy or understanding,” Figlio said during his welcoming remarks to the MPES fellows and invited guests. “The MPES program is working to help break down some of the barriers.”

Northwestern’s Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences in Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy is a pre-doctoral training grant that brings together faculty and doctoral students from the fields of economics, human development and social policy, learning sciences, psychology, sociology, and statistics, with support from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.

A critical part of the program involves the “deep, mutualistic relationships” that Northwestern is developing with the city of Evanston and its schools, Figlio said.

Each fellow must complete a yearlong practicum in conjunction with Evanston Township High School, an experience that trains students to conduct rigorous, empirical research that is also usable and useful in the worlds of both policy and practice.

“MPES is a terrific example of the work we’re all trying to do together, not only to help make Evanston better but to help make research better,” said Figlio, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy, “We’re able to study different topics in ways we wouldn’t be able to do without mutual trust and collaboration.”

The two-day conference, which included several prominent national speakers and poster sessions, emphasized community-based participatory research and community-academic partnerships.

Featured speakers included Angela Booker, assistant professor of communication at the University of California-San Diego;  Meredith Minkler, Professor Emerita at the University of California-Berkeley School of Public Health,  Dilafruz Williams, professor of educational leadership and policy at Portland State University; Darius Tandon, associate professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine;  and Simone Ispa-Landa, assistant professor of human development and social policy in the School of Education and Social Policy.

Learn more about the Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences Training Program. 

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 5/22/17