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Stanford education professor Rebecca Silverman appointed to endowed chair

Rebecca D. Silverman is the newly endowed Judy Koch Professor of Education. (Photo: Ryan Zhang)

Stanford education professor Rebecca Silverman appointed to endowed chair

Silverman is honored with the Judy Koch Professorship of Education.

Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) professor Rebecca D. Silverman has been appointed to an endowed chair, the highest honor a university can bestow upon faculty. 

Silverman, whose research focuses on language and literacy development, was named the Judy Koch Professor of Education.

GSE Dean Dan Schwartz announced Silverman’s appointment to GSE faculty on June 13.

Silverman joined the GSE faculty in 2018 and leads the GSE’s Language to Literacy Research Lab. She is “leading significant basic research on how people learn to read, while also developing and testing applications that incorporate state-of-the-art possibilities for improving reading, especially in populations that often must overcome social and biological challenges to learning to read,” Schwartz wrote in nominating her for the professorship.

“She has become the model Stanford professor, who manages to conduct groundbreaking foundational research while also rendering and testing its application to improve the human condition,” he wrote.

Silverman’s research sheds light on innovative ways to facilitate language and literacy development in early childhood and elementary grades, especially as it relates to children with learning differences, and children from low-income and English-learning backgrounds.

Her work has contributed to the research base that supports the use of reading aloud, multimedia, peer learning across ages, and instruction involving dialogue between students and teachers, to support vocabulary development and reading comprehension for diverse learners. 

She has served on the editorial board of journals including Reading Research Quarterly and the Reading Teacher, and is currently editor-in-chief of the Elementary School Journal. She is also on the board of directors for the International Literacy Association, and is an advisor for Sesame Workshop and the Public Broadcasting Service, among other organizations.

Silverman, who is also a faculty affiliate of the Stanford Accelerator for Learning, earned her bachelor’s degree in English from George Washington University, and her master’s degree in language and literacy, as well as her doctorate in human development and psychology, from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

She is the second person to hold the Judy Koch Professorship, which was established in 2013 to encourage Stanford's commitment to early childhood education and, more generally, greater appreciation of the importance of parental involvement in children’s literacy development. The previous chair holder was Deborah Stipek, professor emerita of education and former dean of the GSE. 

Faculty mentioned in this article: Rebecca Silverman, Dan Schwartz, Deborah Stipek

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