Thomas M. Smith, professor and dean of the Graduate School of Education, has been named a 2019 Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning.
Smith is one of only 10 prominent scholars to receive this honor, and was selected on the basis of his “notable and sustained research achievements.” His work has been funded by the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.
Smith’s active research involves partnering with schools and districts to improve student learning and college and career readiness. He is currently collaborating with researchers at Vanderbilt University, UC Irvine, and the University of Washington and practitioners in the Inland Empire and San Francisco to develop, test, and implement a system of practical measures and routines for instructional improvement in mathematics. He also has a collaboration with the Riverside County Office of Education to identify and scale up effective college readiness practices.
Smith served as the executive director (2014-2017) and director (2010-2014) of the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools (NCSU), a national research and development center funded by the Institute for Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education. NCSU is a collaboration between 5 universities, 2 large urban districts, and a developer of educational tools and programs (EDC) formed to enhance the capacity of school districts to identify effective practices, design and test innovations that capture the core components of those practices, and then implement the innovations in ways that improve the learning opportunities for students from traditionally low performing groups. Smith has also served as co-director of the MIST project—a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded collaboration with four large urban districts to investigate, test, and refine a set of conjectures regarding the organizational arrangements, social relations, and material resources needed to enhance the impact of professional development on mathematics teachers' instructional practices. As part of this project, he and his team of colleagues released “Systems for Instructional Improvement: Creating Coherence from the Classroom to the District Office” (2018, Harvard Education Press).
Before joining UCR, Smith was a professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University. Prior to arriving at Vanderbilt in 2001, he conducted and managed statistical research activities at the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the National Science Foundation.
“We are delighted to honor these scholars for their contributions to education research and dedication to the field,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine in the official announcement. “AERA Fellows exemplify the highest standards of excellence through accomplishment, professionalism, and commitment. We welcome the class of 2019 to these prestigious ranks.”
The 2019 Fellows were nominated by their peers, selected by the AERA Fellows Committee, and approved by the AERA Council, the association’s elected governing body. They will be inducted on Saturday, April 6, during the in Toronto, Canada.