UChicago’s Urban Education Institute joins the School of Social Service Administration

The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration will become the academic home of the Urban Education Institute starting July 1, advancing the University’s commitment to academic excellence combined with wide-ranging work to address major social challenges. 

“The University of Chicago has a deep tradition of interdisciplinary inquiry, and the social issues on which both the School of Social Service Administration and Urban Education Institute focus cannot be examined and addressed in isolation,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “Establishing a stronger connection between the School of Social Service Administration and the Urban Education Institute offers great possibilities for advancing urban scholarship and social change.”

Since its founding more than a century ago as one of the first schools of social work in the United States, the School of Social Service Administration has led the development of social work as an academic discipline and has shaped the field of social work and social welfare. Its faculty investigate some of society’s most pressing challenges and prepare students with strong theoretical knowledge, policy perspectives and hands-on experiences to impact the most vulnerable in our society.

The Urban Education Institute focuses on creating and sustaining reliably excellent urban schooling, through a combination of rigorous applied research, a teacher residency program, a preK-12 public charter school and the ongoing development of innovative tools for schools nationwide. This work includes the UChicago Consortium on School Research, which has informed significant and lasting improvements within the Chicago Public Schools and been replicated in urban centers across the nation.

“The deep societal challenges that both SSA and UEI seek to address benefit from collaboration on many fronts,” said Deborah Gorman-Smith, dean of the School of Social Service Administration. “Reducing poverty, preventing violence, protecting vulnerable children and families, and providing high-quality education are deeply interconnected challenges. We look forward to bringing together people with interests that span these areas of inquiry and more to deepen understanding while benefitting our students and our society.”

SSA and UEI share a commitment to integrating research, education and professional practice, with direct impact on communities, families and individuals. SSA and UEI also have a history of collaborative work in conducting education policy research, engaging students to improve K-12 public schooling and translating research to practice. The To&Through Project, a partnership between SSA’s Network for College Success and UEI, exemplifies the potential for impact when research, data and resources are strategically deployed to address a persistent challenge.

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to join with the School of Social Service Administration at a time when the fields of social work and education are intersecting in new and important ways,” said Tanika Island Childress, acting director of the Urban Education Institute. “The Institute is dedicated to producing knowledge on the forces and factors that drive improvement in the preK-12 public education system, while School of Social Service Administration produces knowledge on a wide range of social issues related to and affecting the public education system as well as the individuals that comprise it. Together, we can harness our collective knowledge and amplify our impact.”