SESP associate professor Kirabo Jackson was named a 2016 Andrew Carnegie Fellow, based on his outstanding scholarship and proposed research on “Identifying Excellent Teachers.” The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program provides the most prestigious and generous fellowships to advance research in the social sciences and humanities.
Carnegie Corporation of New York announced 33 fellows, selected from approximately 200 nominees nationwide. Fellows were selected based on the originality, promise and potential impact of their proposals. As part of the fellowship, scholars will receive up to $200,000 each to support a research sabbatical focused on their studies in the social sciences and humanities. Each will receive funding for one to two years of scholarly research and writing aimed at addressing some of the world’s most urgent challenges to U.S. democracy and international order, according to Carnegie.
Research on teacher quality
Jackson's research as a Carnegie Fellow will provide evidence on "how to better identify high-quality teachers that improve the broad set of skills students need to succeed into adulthood." He will be looking at both cognitive and "soft" skills as he examines questions such as how much teachers improve a broad set of skills required for adult succes, how to identify excellent teachers, and what are the long-range adult outcomes of having a teacher who improved soft skills.
An economist who earned his PhD from Harvard University in 2007, Jackson is an associate professor of human development and social policy and a faculty fellow with Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research. He has analyzed several important aspects of education policy such as the importance of public school funding on student outcomes through adulthood, the effects of college-preparatory programs on students’ college and labor market outcomes, the effects of educational tracking on students’ academic achievement, and the effects of single-sex education on students’ academic performance.
However, the bulk of Jackson’s work has focused on better understanding teacher labor markets. Jackson’s extensive work on teachers analyzes the role of peer learning in teacher effectiveness, how student demographics directly affect the distribution of teacher quality across schools, how a teacher’s effectiveness depends on the schooling context within which they operate, how best to measure teacher quality, and other related topics. His scholarly articles have appeared in leading economics journals, and his research has been featured in a number of respected media outlets.
Becoming a Carnegie Fellow
The nominating process for the Carnegie Fellowship entailed three levels of review and began with the Corporation seeking recommendations from more than 600 leaders representing a range of universities, think tanks, publishers and nonprofit organizations nationwide. Candidates’ proposals were evaluated by an anonymous team of prominent scholars, educators and intellectuals. The final selections were made by a distinguished panel of 16 jurors, including heads of the country’s premier scholarly institutions and presidents of leading universities and foundations.
“Our founder, Andrew Carnegie, charged Carnegie Corporation with the task of creating, advancing, and diffusing knowledge in order to enlighten American society and strengthen our democracy. This outstanding new cohort of 33 Carnegie Fellows is a result of that mandate,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York.