Coburn Named to William T. Grant Selection Committee

Coburn Named to William T. Grant Selection Committee

Cynthia CoburnNorthwestern University’s Cynthia Coburn was named to the William T. Grant Scholars Selection Committee, a dedicated group of academics who help younger colleagues with career development, mentoring, and pursuing new research challenges.

She joins committee members David Figlio, Dean of the School of Education and Social Policy; and Edith Chen, professor of clinical psychology and a faculty fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. Chen also was a member of the W.T. Grant Scholar Class of 2008.

A world-renowned expert on partnerships between educational researchers and practitioners such as teachers, principals and district leaders, Coburn has helped spark a renaissance in the field of educational research.

She argues that long-term research practice partnerships between school districts and research institutions can be a catalyst for profound, lasting educational reform. “We all want people to use the best information available to make decisions,” said Coburn, professor of learning sciences and human development and social policy at the School of Education and Social Policy.

The William T. Grant Scholars Program supports promising early-career researchers who focus on reducing inequality and improving the use of research evidence. The program funds five-year research and mentoring plans that significantly expand researchers’ expertise in new disciplines, methods, and content areas.

The School of Education and Social Policy has three current and former William T. Grant Scholars, including Simone Ispa-Landa (Class of 2023) and Mesmin Destin (Class of 2021) and Emma Adam (Class of 2009). The awards reflect their potential to become influential researchers, as well as their plans to expand their expertise in new and significant ways.

Ispa-Landa, associate professor of human development and social policy, is studying how school discipline can be modified to reduce racial inequality and be more developmentally appropriate for adolescents. Destin, associate professor of human development and social policy, received a grant in 2016 for his work looking at whether school-based interventions focusing on motivation can improve the health and academic performance of teens from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Adam, a developmental psychologist and the Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, received SESP’s first William T. Grant scholarship in 2004 to study the biological, cognitive, emotional and social factors that can predict whether adolescents will develop affective disorders as they transition to early adulthood.

Several SEPS alumni also have received the prestigious grant, including Stefanie DeLuca (PhD03), Leah Doane (PhD09), Rachel Dunifon (PhD99), Christina Gibson-Davis (PhD01), Kevin Roy (PhD09), and Micere Keels (PhD06). 

Coburn said she was honored to be selected and called The William T. Grant Scholars program “one of the most influential in nurturing the next generation of scholars focused on children and youth.

“I look forward to learning from and with the emerging scholars as they investigate the Foundation’s twin foci on reducing inequality and the relationship between research and policy and practice--two issues that are central to my heart and, in my view, the future of the academy,” she said.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 8/1/20