Neag Endowed Professor Suzanne Wilson was one of 14 preeminent international education leaders recently elected to the National Academy of Education (NAEd). She is the first Neag faculty member to receive this prestigious honor.
Wilson was chosen for her valuable contributions to educational research and policy development, and welcomed to the academy by President Michael Feurer.
Founded in 1956, the NAEd is dedicated to advancing high-quality education research and seeing it carried out in both policy formation and practice. Members come from throughout the U.S. and several foreign countries; serve on expert study panels focused on pressing educational issues; and engage in NAEd professional development programs, such as the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program and the NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program.
Wilson first became connected to the NAEd in 1990, when she was selected as a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow. One of the outcomes of her fellowship work, California Dreaming: Reforming Mathematics Education was a book published in 2003, that examined two decades of efforts to reform mathematics education in California, weaving together facts, conversations, and events to provide still relevant insight into education policy and practice reform.
Numerous other paper and research projects followed. In 2009, NAEd tapped Wilson to chair a committee of education experts from across the U.S. tasked with writing an education policy white paper on teacher quality, calling for improvements in teacher recruitment, preparation, and ongoing professional development. The paper “Education Policy White Paper on Teacher Quality” was part of a series of papers providing policymakers in the Obama administration and Congress with the best available evidence on selected education policy issues.
“We were looking to make education research accessible to policymakers, and this provided a good summary of a wide variety of education topics,” Wilson said. “We were looking to articulate education research to the public, showing where the problems were and the hot topics.”
Wilson said being elected to the NAEd validates her research and expertise. “I was selected because of my influence,” she said. “I really care about being a good teacher and doing research across the education community.”
Wilson has been paying it forward for NAEd by reviewing applications of post-doctoral students for the fellowship she was the beneficiary of almost 25 years ago. NAEd recently commissioned Wilson to review federal and state policy and efforts affecting STEM education. The resulting paper, “Recent Developments in STEM Education Relevant to the Qualities of Teacher Preparation Programs” (2013) was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Wilson joined the Neag School of Education in the fall of 2013 as part of the University’s aggressive academic hiring initiative, which focused on bringing in new faculty who would have a significant impact on research, scholarship and funding. She was one of 17 faculty members hired by the Neag School. Like Wilson, many are recognized across the nation as among the top scholars in their fields.
Before coming to UConn, Wilson was a University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, where she also was a Department of Teacher Education faculty member for 26 years, the last six as chair. Her research interests focus on teacher quality, and she has written extensively about teacher learning, professionalism and education policy. She also started MSU’s Center for the Scholarship of Teaching and has served as a visiting scholar at the American Museum of Natural History and Hebrew University. She holds a doctorate in Education from Stanford University.