May 26, 2005
Vol. 24 No. 17

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    Raudenbush to chair new Committee on Education

    By William Harms
    News Office

    Stephen Raudenbush, one of the nation’s leading scholars on advanced methodology of education research, will join the University as the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Sociology and Chair of the new Committee on Education. His wife, Stella Raudenbush, a distinguished education analyst who was to join her husband at Chicago as a new member of the faculty and program director with the University’s Center for Urban School Improvement, died suddenly Saturday, May 21, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (See http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/050526/obit-raudenbush.shtml for more information on Stella Raudenbush.)

    Richard Saller, Provost of the University, said, “Steve Raudenbush brings to Chicago a combination of the highest scholarly distinction and a passion to improve urban schools. I know he will make great contributions to our work in urban education. And we are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of Stella Raudenbush this past weekend. We had hoped that she would be a vital part of inspiring our students to reach out into the community, and we will be poorer here without the contributions she was poised to make. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Steve and to Stella’s many friends and admirers.”

    The new Committee on Education to be headed by Stephen Raudenbush will bring together distinguished faculty from several departments and schools considered to be among the best in the world into common research projects, seminars and training programs. The committee will engage faculty and graduate students from such areas as public policy, sociology, social service administration, economics, business, mathematics and the sciences to collaborate on the most critical issues affecting urban schools.

    The University’s Center for Urban School Improvement operates the University of Chicago Charter School, which has a highly successful North Kenwood/Oakland campus and will open this fall a new campus in the former Donoghue School.

    Raudenbush’s distinguished career has earned him widespread recognition for his scholarship. He has received several awards from the American Educational Research Association, including the Raymond B. Cattell award for early career achievement in educational research in 1993 and the Palmer O. Johnson award for the most outstanding paper in the AERA journal in 2003. He also received the Robert Park Award from the American Sociological Association Community and Urban Sociology Section for outstanding work in community and urban sociology.

    Raudenbush is best known as a quantitative methodologist and is an expert on hierarchical linear models, an advanced research technique that allows researchers to evaluate data from school performance more accurately.

    He is scientific director of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, an ambitious study of how family, neighborhood and school settings shape the academic learning, social development, mental health and exposure to violence of children growing up in Chicago.

    His research pursues the development, testing, refinement and application of statistical methods for individual change and the effects of social settings, such as schools and neighborhoods.

    He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Education, and a member of the U.S. Title I Independent Review Panel.

    He received an Ed.D. in Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research in 1984 from Harvard University. He has been a member of the University of Michigan faculty since 1998, where he is a professor in the School of Education.

    The Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation recently established the Lewis-Sebring Professorship. Charles Lewis, chairman of the foundation, is a member of the University’s Urban Education Initiative’s Policy Board. Penny Bender Sebring, president of the foundation, is the founding co-director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, one of the main components of the Urban Education Initiative.

    This endowed chair is part of the foundation’s $5 million commitment to the Urban Education Initiative. The other components are endowed funds for the Consortium on Chicago School Research and the Center for Urban School Improvement, two other major elements of the initiative.

    The consortium’s Sebring-Lewis fund will support its data archive. As a result of this commitment, two positions also will be named for the foundation: the Lewis-Sebring Executive Director of the Center for Urban School Improvement and the Lewis-Sebring Convener of the Urban Education Initiative.