Spencer Foundation Award

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Susan Dynarski was selected as the recipient of the 2017 Spencer Foundation Award, recognizing noteworthy contributions through research and analysis in the field of education policy and management. Her research focuses on the effectiveness of charter schools, the optimal design of financial aid, the price elasticity of private school attendance, the relationship between postsecondary schooling and labor market outcomes, and the effect of high school reforms on academic achievement and educational attainment. The award is given every other year.

As a professor of public policy, education and economics at the University of Michigan, Dynarski serves in the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the School of Education and the Department of Economics. She holds an appointment in the Institute for Social Research, serves as co-director of the Education Policy Initiative, is currently the board president at the Association for Education Finance and Policy, and is a nonresident senior fellow in the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators previously awarded her the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award for excellence in research on student aid. Dynarski earned an A.B. in Social Studies from Harvard, a MA of Public Policy from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT.

Dynarski has a clear goal in her work: policy amendments designed to make higher education more accessible for low-income and first-generation college students. She has advocated making higher education more accessible by lowering or removing barriers at multiple stages of the process from application to enrollment. Dynarski has consulted broadly on student aid reform across federal government agencies, and has testified about education and tax policy before the US Senate Finance Committee, the US House Ways and Means Committee and the President's Commission on Tax Reform. She is also a regular contributor to The Upshot from The New York Times.

Dynarski will accept the Spencer Foundation Award at the 2017 APPAM Fall Research Conference in Chicago. She will speak at a session on Friday, November 3, at 3:15 pm entitled, Education and Economic Mobility: What Have We Learned? She will accept the Spencer Foundation Award after the session at the APPAM Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony and a Spencer Foundation Reception will follow the ceremony.

About the Spencer Foundation Award

The APPAM Policy Council approved this award on April 8, 2005. The Spencer Foundation Lecture, awarded biennually, recognizes noteworthy contributions through research and analysis in the field of education policy and management.  Funding for the award comes from the Spencer Foundation, created by Lyle M. Spencer in 1962 to "investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world."
 
The winner will deliver the lecture at the APPAM Fall Research Conference. In addition, the winner receives $5,000 and support for travel expenses, and APPAM and the Spencer Foundation may arrange to publish the lecture. The recipient is expected to produce a written version of the lecture within a reasonable time after the public presentation.
 
Any body of work will be considered, although the selection committee may, from time to time, decide to establish time limits for what may be considered. The selection committee may decide not to make an award in any particular year. The selection committee for the lecture consists of three people appointed by APPAM and two persons appointed by the Spencer Foundation. 
 
Nominations may be made by any individual or organization. (Individuals may nominate their own work.) The letter of nomination (with the nominee's current address, email address, and phone number) should detail the contributions made by the work to the field of education policy and management, and should include examples of the body of work. The next Spencer Foundation Award nominations will be held for the 2019 APPAM Fall Research Conference. A letter of nomination detailing the nominee’s accomplishments should be sent to Tara Sheehan, tsheehan@appam.org.
 

Prior Winners 

 
 
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