Interdisciplinary, rigorous, and committed to real world impact and to mentoring: the Ford School has one of the strongest education policy programs in the country.
How did we get there? S&H asked the scholar at the front of the class, economist Brian A. Jacob.
Brian Jacob: "A key to our success is the ability to bring together top scholars from across the University, including the Schools of Education, Social Work, Business and Information, the Departments of Economics and Sociology, and the Institute for Social Research. When I first came to the Ford School over 15 years ago, I found many colleagues across the University whose work touched on education policy in some form or another, but who were not connected with each other. Over the years, I have worked to bring these folks together, and to recruit great students and faculty. Now, the Ford School is a hub for education policy work across campus, led by the Education Policy Initiative and the Youth Policy Lab. One of the most exciting aspects of this work is how deeply engaged students and faculty are with practitioners and policymakers, whether it is working in Lansing or Washington, DC, or advising school districts from Massachusetts to Washington State."
- One of America’s top education policy scholars, Jacob is renowned for his empirically rigorous and policy-relevant research. The first to apply new causal inference tools from economics to education, Jacob pinpointed drivers of educational outcomes and student success.
- Jacob’s research has produced substantive insights into how to improve education and altered the way education policy research is conducted. He is an expert on test-based accountability to improve student outcomes, and was among the first to explore the relationship between teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
- Jacob was recognized with the U-M Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award in 2021. Passionate about teaching and mentoring, he has guided the work of 55 Ph.D. candidates and postdoctoral fellows and in 2019, he received U-M’s Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award.
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