Research News

David Figlio Named Dean of Northwestern's School of Education and Social Policy

IPR director, known for his scholarly and administrative leadership, to become SESP dean on September 1


David Figlio

IPR Director David Figlio has been named dean of the School of Education and Social Policy, effective Sept. 1.

David N. Figlio, the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy in the School of Education and Social Policy, and director and faculty fellow of the Institute for Policy Research, has been appointed dean of the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) at Northwestern University, effective Sept. 1. He will succeed Penelope Peterson, who will retire as dean Aug. 31 after serving 20 years in that leadership role. 

Figlio, who is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, is highly regarded nationally and internationally for his scholarship on school accountability, choice, standards, welfare policy and policy design, intergenerational issues in health and education, and student learning outcomes in higher education. 

As director of the Institute for Policy Research since 2012, Figlio has led significant change at the Institute, including restructuring support staff roles, establishing new systems of shared governance and decision-making, launching new collaborations with other institutes and schools across Northwestern, and spearheading collaborative ventures with partners, including the Evanston and Chicago public school districts.

“I am very pleased that David Figlio has accepted our offer to lead the School of Education and Social Policy,” Northwestern Provost Daniel Linzer said. “His energy, collaborative spirit, and ability to provide intellectual leadership on a wide range of education and policy issues make him an outstanding choice for leading the school forward in this critical time for education and our country.”

Figlio is immediate past president of the Association for Education Finance and Policy and co-leads a National Science Foundation network of policymakers, practitioners, and scholars regarding the use of administrative data in educational research. He currently serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Human Resources and was the founding co-editor of Education Finance and Policy, the journal of the Association for Education Finance and Policy.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to lead the outstanding faculty, students, and staff at SESP,” Figlio said. “The diversity of the research and service conducted by our faculty in learning sciences, human development, and education and social policy, along with the impact that our work has and will continue to have, is astounding.”

“The School of Education and Social Policy provides undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to engage directly with faculty in their work,” Figlio added. “Students graduate with an education that empowers them to engage with their communities and the world in all its complexity. The combination of research, teaching, and outreach that is conducted across the school enables all members of the school to have a role in making the world a better place.”

Figlio’s work has been published in numerous leading journals, including the American Economic Review, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Review of Economics and Statisticsand Journal of Human Resources. Organizations supporting his research include the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, and Health and Human Services, as well as the Annie E. Casey, Laura and John Arnold, MacArthur, Smith Richardson, and Spencer foundations, among others. He has served on numerous National Research Council and Institute of Medicine panels.

Prior to joining Northwestern in 2008, Figlio was an economics faculty member at the University of Oregon and the University of Florida. In 2007, he served as visiting fellow at Exeter College and the Department of Economics at the University of Oxford.

Figlio received his B.S.B.A. at George Washington University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“My time so far at Northwestern has been a joy, and I am looking forward to leading SESP in its upward trajectory among the very best schools of education and policy in the world,” he said.

A search is currently underway to replace Figlio as IPR director.

David Figlio is the Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and of Economics and IPR director.

Originally published by Northwestern Now