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Two Stanford education professors appointed to endowed chairs

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Photo: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

Two Stanford education professors appointed to endowed chairs

Brigid Barron and Eric Bettinger are honored with the distinguished academic titles.

Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) Professors Brigid Barron and Eric Bettinger have been appointed to endowed chairs, the highest honor the university can bestow on faculty.

Dean Dan Schwartz announced the appointments at a GSE faculty meeting on March 8.

Brigid Barron, a developmental psychologist who studies processes of collaborative learning in and out of school, was named the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education.

Photo of Professor Barron

Brigid Barron

Barron teaches courses in the Learning Design and Technology (LDT) master’s program, the Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD) doctoral program and the Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS) doctoral program at the GSE. Her research focuses on how digital technologies can serve as catalysts for collaborative learning across home, school and community settings, with the goal of creating more equitable opportunities for the development of expertise. 

She is founder of the YouthLAB at Stanford and a co-lead of TELOS (Technology for Equity in Learning Opportunities), a Stanford GSE initiative to investigate how technologies can provide more equitable access to learning opportunities. She was a lead researcher in the LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments), funded by the National Science Foundation, investigating the social foundations of learning.

Barron has “conducted seminal work that has opened the horizon for many contemporary investigations in children’s learning and questions of equity,” Schwartz wrote in nominating her for the honor. Against the backdrop of a dominant model for understanding learning that was based on children’s abilities to get right and wrong answers on tests, he wrote, Barron chose to examine informal learning opportunities – “learning ecologies” ranging from enrichment camps to parents who broker opportunities for students to cultivate their interests. “This work has produced multiple findings [about] access and opportunity outside of school that drive learning in school,” he noted.

Barron earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and her master’s and doctorate in psychology from Vanderbilt University. She joined the GSE faculty in 1996.          

The Margaret Jacks Professorship was established with a gift from the estate of Margaret Jacks, the last survivor of the seven children of California developer David Jacks of Monterey County. It was previously held by Professor Sam Wineburg.

Photo of Eric Bettinger

Eric Bettinger

Eric Bettinger, whose work focuses on using rigorous statistical methods in identifying cause-and-effect relationships in higher education, was named the Conley DeAngelis Family Professor of Education. 

In addition to directing the Stanford Center for Educational Policy Analysis and co-directing the Lemann Center for Brazilian Education at the GSE, Bettinger is a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research and a professor by courtesy at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. He is also a research associate in the program on education at the National Bureau of Economic Research. 

His research interests include the economics of education, student success and completion in college, teacher characteristics and student success in college, and the effects of voucher programs on both academic and non-academic outcomes. He has served as a consultant to the White House and various state governments on financial aid policies.

“Eric is a phenomenal scholar of the economics of education,” Schwartz wrote in nominating him for the honor, noting the impact of his research on increasing higher-education opportunities for under-resourced students. “His daring, relevance and rigor are well known to economists working on educational matters, and his findings reach beyond his field of expertise.”

Bettinger received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Brigham Young University, and his doctorate in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining the GSE in 2008, he was an associate professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University. 

He is the first to hold the Conley DeAngelis Family Professorship, which was established this year to support a faculty member at the GSE whose teaching and research relate to the field of education policy.

Faculty mentioned in this article: Brigid Barron, Eric Bettinger

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