Three Faculty Members Join National Academy of Education

Three Faculty Members Join National Academy of Education

Brian Reiser, Megan Bang, and Jonathan GuryanSchool of Education and Social Policy Professors Brian Reiser (left), Megan Bang, and Jonathan Guryan

Northwestern University Professors Megan Bang, Jonathan Guryan, and Brian Reiser were among 22 exceptional scholars elected to the prestigious National Academy of Education (NAEd) for their stellar contributions to education scholarship and research.

The School of Education and Social Policy has had multiple winners in the same year on two previous occasions–2017 and 2020– but this year marks the first time in School history that three faculty members were selected.

Overall, the School of Education and Social Policy now has 15 National Academy members (see the complete list below), including eight in the last five years.

Bang (PhD09), an alumna and professor of learning sciences and psychology, also serves as senior vice president of the Spencer Foundation, which funds educational research and training. Guryan, the Lawyer Taylor Professor of Education and Social Policy, is an economist who researches racial inequality.

Reiser, a professor of learning sciences, investigates how to make science learning more meaningful for K-12 students. He and Bang are currently working on a collaborative project to support social and emotional learning about COVID-19  for K-5 students with Evanston/Skokie School District 65.

“SESP has some of the most creative and productive education scholars in the world,” said SESP Dean David Figlio. “I’m extremely pleased they are being recognized by their peers.”

Read more about our winners:

Megan Bang

Bang is the principal investigator of the Learning in Places project, which develops innovative and equitable field-based science education. She also leads the Indigenous STEAM project, an initiative that creates Indigenous science, technology, engineering, arts, and math resources for families, teachers and communities. 

A former preschool and middle school teacher who has spent her career focused on education and equity, Bang studies the best ways to design and put transformative STEM learning environments into place. At Northwestern, she teaches hybrid courses that bring high school students together with undergraduates, and she co-teaches in K–12 learning environments annually—in schools and in informal contexts.

Bang currently serves on the Board of Science Education for the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of several National Science Foundation advisory committees, including education and human resources, and environmental research and education. She is also a panel member of the National Academy’s Civic Education Report Committee.

Research Interests

Culture, families, and STEM education and the design of transformative learning environments. “I want to know: How do we create systems of education that can cultivate just, sustainable, and thriving communities?” Bang says.

Jonathan Guryan

Guryan’s scholarship has helped document inequality and disparities that can be attributed to discrimination, prejudice, sexism, and policy choices – such as the way public schools are financed.

In 2017, Chicago Magazine cited him as a driving force behind a “social policy revolution” in the city for his research examining the effects of Becoming a Man (BAM) and a similar program inside the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Both initiatives use cognitive-behavioral therapy-based interventions for at-risk youth.

As co-founder and co-director of the Urban Education Lab at the University of Chicago, he has also studied whether an in-school high-dosage math tutoring program and mentoring for elementary and middle school students can increase school attendance. 

Through his work at the Education Lab, he regularly advises the Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago’s Mayor’s Office, and other education policy makers. His research has directly influenced spending and programming decisions, including the expansion of the BAM program, the expansion of the Match/SAGA tutoring program, and a new focus on Options Schools.

Guryan, a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, also is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In ongoing work, he is studying how to broadly deliver high-dosage in-school tutoring to students at a low cost to school districts.

Research Interests

Understanding the sources and consequences of racial inequality and the economics of education.

Brian Reiser

Reiser was a member of the committee authoring the Framework for K-12 Science Education that guided the design of Next Generation Science Standards and similar standards now in use in 44 states. Reiser has collaborated with state initiatives to design and provide professional development and to develop curriculum materials for K-12 teachers to support them in realizing these reforms in their classrooms.

Reiser’s research examines how instructional materials and teaching strategies can help students participate in the practices of science, making classrooms places where students are figuring out how the natural world works and solving problems, rather than learning about science that others have done. Reiser’s group is exploring how teachers interpret these new science teaching and learning approaches and use them in the classroom.

Reiser leads the Next Generation Science Storylines Project at Northwestern University, a researcher-teacher collaborative developing NGSS-designed storyline units. Storylines are a coherent sequence of lessons developed around the questions and problems raised by students. Reiser’s group collaborates with BSCS Science Learning in the OpenSciEd Developer Consortium and 10 state education agencies on a project that is creating and testing a middle school series of research-based NGSS-designed storyline instructional materials. The resources are released as freely downloadable educational resources.

In the wake of the pandemic, Reiser and his team worked with Evanston/Skokie School District 65 educators to adapt units from the OpenSciEd science curriculum for remote learning for middle school students. They designed and helped assemble low-cost science kits the district provided to each family in the district, so students could work with their teachers to complete science activities at home.

Research Interests

Curriculum materials designs and teaching approaches that support students’ engagement scientific argumentation, explanation, and building scientific models; supporting students’ agency in building scientific knowledge; science teacher learning.

School of Education and Social Policy National Academy of Education Members:

  • Megan Bang (2021)
  • Jonathan Guryan (2021)
  • Brian Reiser (2021)
  • Cynthia Coburn (2020)
  • Kirabo Jackson (2020)
  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach (2019)
  • David Figlio (2017)
  • Morton O. Schapiro (2017)
  • James P.  Spillane (2014)
  • Lindsay Chase-Lansdale (2013)
  • Douglas Medin (2012)
  • Penelope Peterson (2011)
  • Carol Lee (2007)
  • Larry V. Hedges (1996)
  • Member Emeritus: Allan Collins (1992)

Founded in 1965, the Academy seeks to “advance high-quality education research and its use in policy and practice.” A highly selective organization, its 200-plus members are elected on the basis of their scholarship in the field of education and their impact on training the next generation of education scholars.

An induction ceremony will take place during the 2021 NAEd Annual Meeting in November.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 3/17/21