Stephen Raudenbush elected to National Academy of Sciences

Stephen W. Raudenbush, chair of the Committee on Education, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Raudenbush, the Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor in Sociology and the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, develops and applies quantitative methods for studying child and youth development within social settings such as classrooms, schools and neighborhoods.


Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a scientist or engineer. “I am very happy to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences,” Raudenbush said. “I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to the Academy’s mission to advance science and technology and their use for the public good.”

Raudenbush’s doctoral dissertation, “Educational Applications of a Hierarchical Linear Model,” led to a series of influential studies in the 1980s, including a synthesis of experimental research on teacher expectancy effects, studies of the growth of young children’s cognitive skills, and methods for assessing the impact of teachers and schools on children’s cognitive growth.

In this work, he often collaborated with Anthony S. Bryk, formerly the Marshall Field Professor of Sociology at UChicago and now president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In the 1990s Raudenbush became interested in the use of surveys and systematic observations to assess the functioning of classrooms, schools and neighborhoods along with the design of experiments to improve these environments. Collaborative work with Robert Sampson, formerly at UChicago and now at Harvard University, led to a series of influential articles on neighborhood social organization and violence.

More recently, he has focused on problems of causal inference that arise in evaluating instructional innovations; defining and assessing teacher effectiveness; improving the precision of educational experiments; and improving methods for handling attrition and missing data in such studies.

Raudenbush joined the faculty in 2005 and founded the Committee on Education, which brings together distinguished faculty from several departments and schools. The Committee collaborates closely with the University’s Urban Education Institute, directed by Timothy Knowles, the John Dewey Clinical Professor of Education. UEI is arguably the most ambitious attempt by a leading university to study and improve urban schools.

He is currently leading a team of COE scholars and UEI practitioners to develop assessments of preschool children’s language and mathematical skills with the aim of improving preschool instruction and overcoming early sources of educational inequality. This work draws upon the landmark study of children’s language development led by Susan Goldin-Meadow, the Beardsley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology, and Susan Levine, the Stella M. Rowley Professor in Psychology, both members of the Committee on Education as well as Comparative Human Development and Psychology.

Also crucial to this project is collaboration with leaders of the University’s Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education, whose members produce Everyday Math, one of the most widely used math textbook series in U.S. schools.

Raudenbush received an EdD in policy analysis and evaluation research in 1984 from Harvard University. Before joining the UChicago faculty, he was a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan’s School of Education.

Raudenbush was one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries announced by the Academy on May 1, 2012. There are now 44 current members of the University of Chicago faculty who have been elected to the Academy.

The National Academy of Sciences was created by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 at the height of the Civil War, to provide independent advice to the government on matters related to science and technology. Since then the nation's leaders have turned to the Academy for advice on the scientific and technological issues that frequently affect policy decisions. Today, the Academy membership totals approximately 2,200 members and 400 foreign associates, more than 190 of whom have received Nobel prizes.