AERA Consortium of Universities and Research Institutions Holds Fall Policy Meeting
AERA Consortium of Universities and Research Institutions Holds Fall Policy Meeting

September 2016

The AERA Consortium of Universities and Research Institutions (CURI) met on September 18–19 for its annual two-day fall policy meeting in Washington, D.C. Representatives from more than 50 schools and colleges of education and research institutions attended. The packed agenda featured in-depth conversations with public communications experts, research policy leaders, and D.C. insiders.

Building on AERA’s Higher Education Leadership Conference held in April, programming on the first day focused on public scholarship, including how to build faculty capacity. In the day’s first session, Mia Tuan, dean of the University of Washington–Seattle College of Education, spoke about her college’s low-cost model for public Edu Talks. She was followed by Erin Hennessey, associate vice president of TVP Communications, and Kat Stein, executive director of communications at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, who provided best practices for communicating research findings through news releases and op-eds.  

Those sessions were followed by a presentation and small group discussion on “What Counts? Evaluating Public Communications in Tenure and Promotion.” The session featured Amy Schalet (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), who served on the panel that prepared a recent report on the topic for the American Sociological Association.

A common theme among these sessions, as well as a panel on interdisciplinary partnerships, was the importance of building trust and opening dialogue with practitioners and policymakers. Meeting attendees on the first day also heard from Ron Haskins, co-chair of the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking (CEP), about current opportunities for policy decisions to be informed by social and behavioral sciences.

Two panels on the second day of the meeting focused on federal policy topics, including the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. Presenters provided specific examples of current education research questions facing practitioners and policymakers.

Meeting attendees also enjoyed engaging and informative presentations from D.C. insiders—including Judy Schneider of the Congressional Research Service and pollster Anna Greenberg—on how Congress really works and on the election outlook and public opinion on education. The final session of the meeting showcased federal funding opportunities at the Institute of Education Sciences at the Department of Education and the Directorate of Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation.

The AERA-CURI Executive Committee includes: Chair Lemuel Watson, The University of South Carolina; Incoming Chair Mia Tuan, University of Washington-Seattle; Past Chair Hardin Coleman, Boston University; Members-at-large: Gary Crow, Indiana University; Diana Hess, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Maryann Santos, Purdue University; and Donna Wiseman, University of Maryland.

The 2017 meeting is scheduled for September 17–18 in Washington, D.C.    

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