Suzanne Donovan
SERP Institute
Executive Director
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M. Suzanne Donovan is the founding Executive Director of the SERP Institute, an education research and development organization incubated at the National Academy of Sciences. She has developed a partnership model that focuses on district-identified problems of practice, that relies on and contributes to the research base, and that produces user-centered problem solutions that are designed from the outset for scale to other districts. She has steered successful programs of work in literacy, mathematics, social studies, science, and school and classroom culture—work that has demonstrated the potential of engaging researchers at all career levels in practice-based research while also advancing professionally. After completing a Ph.D. at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Public Policy with a concentration in economics, Donovan began an academic career at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, a position she chose to leave in order to pursue her interest in contributing to the improvement of K-12 education. She joined the National Research Council as a study director, editing widely circulated reports including How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice, How Students Learn: History, Mathematics and Science in the Classroom, and Minority Students in Special and Gifted Educaiton. After editing the NRC report, Strategic Education Research Partnership, she left the National Academies to found the new SERP organization. Her primary interests have been in the systemic framing of education problems, the synthesis of knowledge from scientific research to illuminate the nature of those problems and their potential solutions, and the challenges of linking scientific research and educational practice.

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