President’s Comment: The Annual AERA Conference and the Future of Education Research

Like many, I am finally returning to live conferences after a hiatus of two years. Despite the still-ongoing pandemic, I am excited for the chance, with appropriate COVID protocols, to interact in person, to hear new ideas, and to share with others the latest aims and activities of the William T. Grant Foundation.

The largest conference I attend annually is that of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), which “strives to advance knowledge about education, to encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good.” This year’s meeting is in San Diego from April 21-26, and it will have both in-person and virtual components.

A highlight of the meeting for me will be the chance to interact with colleagues in research, practice, and government about a new report from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on The Future of Education Research at IES: Advancing an Equity-Oriented Science. I chaired the committee that produced the report, which boldly advances new strategies for the National Center for Education Research and the National Center for Special Education Research within the Institute for Education Sciences to center equity in the research, researchers, and institutions they support, and to fund research that is grounded in the needs of communities, learners, and educators. The report builds on recent scholarship that conveys lessons about how to produce research that is useful and that actually gets used to improve education practice and policy—the ultimate mission of IES.

The report is featured in two sessions: one is designed as a community dialogue, and the other involves a formal presentation by some of the authors of the report, followed by a response from the director of IES, Mark Schneider. For those attending AERA in person, the times and locations are:

Community Dialogue Session
The Future of Education Research at the Institute of Education Sciences: A Community Dialogue and Reflection
Fri, April 22, 11:30am to 1:00pm PDT, San Diego Convention Center, Floor: Upper Level, Ballroom 6E

Session Featuring Response from Mark Schneider
The Future of Education Research at IES – A Report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Sat, April 23, 9:45 to 11:15am PDT, San Diego Convention Center, Floor: Upper Level, Ballroom 6D

And while you’re at the conference, come learn about early career funding opportunities at the Foundation from program officer Melissa Wooten, as well as colleagues from the Spencer Foundation, AERA, and the National Academy of Education! Their session is:

Early Career Research Fellowship and Funding Opportunities
Sun, April 24, 2:30 to 4:00pm PDT, San Diego Convention Center, Floor: Upper Level, Ballroom 6F

I look forward to seeing many of you in San Diego!

Adam Gamoran is President of the William T. Grant Foundation.

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