SESP Faculty 2020-21 Awards Roundup

SESP Faculty 2020-21 Awards Roundup

SESP FacultyKnown for innovative interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach, School of Education and Social Policy faculty members are routinely honored for producing pathbreaking work on many of the world’s most challenging questions.

Read more about SESP's outsized influence on research and leadership in the 2020-21 academic year:

Emma Adam became president-elect of the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology in August 2020.

Four faculty members received the 2020 Daniel I. Linzer Grant for Innovation in Diversity and Equity. Tabitha Bonilla used the award to develop a new undergraduate class that explores intersectional identities and policy. Claudia Haase, Quinn Mulroy, and Regina Logan received the grant to foster diversity and inclusion of students from marginalized backgrounds interested in pursuing a PhD through a “first look” weekend with HDSP faculty and graduate students.

Developmental psychologist Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, former vice provost for academics at Northwestern University, will serve as vice chair of the Harvard Board of Overseers executive committee, one of the board’s top leadership roles.School of Education and Social Policy undergraduate Daniela Hernandez received the inaugural P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale Undergraduate Summer Research Grant in Social Policy for Children and Families. The new award supports research in any discipline that examines societal issues that affect families and the development of children and youth, especially those who are economically disadvantaged.

Cynthia Coburn was recognized with the Charles Deering McCormick University Professorship of Teaching Excellence Award for her innovative classroom instruction, the compassion and care she has shown undergraduates, and her pioneering contributions to the field of education research. Coburn has now earned high University-wide honors in successive years in both teaching and research. Coburn also won the 2020 Clarence Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship Award, following a three-year period in which she supervised seven major research studies.

Danny M. Cohen (PhD11) was appointed co-chair of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission, a 17-member team of scholars, educators, and practitioners focused on Holocaust, genocide, and social justice education and commemoration.

Social psychologist Mesmin Destin was named a Guggenheim fellow for the class of 2021. He was also awarded the Invaluable Mentorship Award by the Department of Psychology at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Claudia Haase, a developmental psychologist who studies pathways to happy and healthy development across the life span, was promoted to associate professor of human development and social policy in the School of Education and Social Policy.

Kirabo (“Bo”) Jackson was honored with the David N. Kershaw Award by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management for his path-breaking work on school finance reform and teacher effectiveness.

Jen Munson’s book In the Moment: Conferring in the Elementary Math Classroom was released as an audiobook.

Paula Olszewski-Kubilius's book The Psychology of High Performance: Developing Human Potential Into Domain-Specific Talent, won a Book of the Year award from the National Association for Gifted Children.

Eleanor O’Rourke and Marcelo Worsley received the Early Career Award Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. It’s the fourth time the School has had at least two recipients in a single year. Both O’Rourke and Worsley hold joint appointments in computer science and learning sciences. O’Rourke also received a $750,000 National Science Foundation Cyberlearning grant to help beginning computer science students develop better learning strategies and to diversify the field. Worsley, meanwhile, received an NSF grant to develop a research practice partnership that bridges computer science and physical education through learning and sports wearables.

Yang Qu  received the Early Career Award from the Society for Research in Child Development’s Asian Caucus for his work studying the experiences of teenagers in the United States and China. He was a 2020 winner of the Early CAREER Award and also  named a 2020 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Sciences. 

The Urban Affairs Association named Sally Nuamah the 2021 Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar. She also received the the Jackie Kirk Award for her book How Girls Achieve from the Comparative and International Education Society and the Critics' Choice Book Award by the American Educational Studies Association.

Brian Reiser and professors emeriti Allan Collins and Carol Lee were named 2021 International Society of the Learning Sciences Fellows.

Economist Hannes Schwandt was named to Capital magazine's "40 under 40" in the Society and Science category.

James Spillane was named president elect of the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI).

Sepehr Vakil received a $346,000 Spencer Foundation large research grant to study how the cultural, religious, and political context of late 20th century Iran shaped a premiere engineering university in the years leading up to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Shirin Vossoughi, who becomes an associate professor on Sept. 1, 2021, was the inaugural Early Career Award winner for the International Society of the Learning Sciences. It is the first year the annual award has been granted in the 20-year history of the Society. Her paper "Embodied Pathways and Ethical Trails: Studying Learning in and through Relational Histories” was awarded the Outstanding Paper of the Year (2020) for the Journal of Learning Sciences, and she received reviewer of the year awards from both the Journal of the Learning Sciences and the American Educational Research Journal.

Jen Richards and Miriam Sherin are co-principal investigators on a $700,000 collaborative grant awarded by the National Science Foundation Division of Research on Learning, Facilitating Teacher Learning with Video Clips of Instruction in Science.

For the second year in a row, SESP had six scholars named to Education Week’s annual list of 200 influential academics in education policy, highlighting the impact of the School’s research on real-world issues. They include: David Figlio, Larry Hedges, Kirabo Jackson, James Spillane, Diane Schanzenbach, and Carol Lee. It’s the 12th straight appearance for School of Education and Social Policy Dean David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy. Figlio, an economist, was named to the inaugural list of 54 Edu-Scholars in 2010 and has been recognized as an influential scholar every year since then.Six faculty members were recognized among the top 2 percent most cited academics in their respective fields, according to a database published in PLOS Biology by Stanford University researchers.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 7/29/21