Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James Ryan announced that faculty member Jon Star has been promoted to the rank of professor of education. An educational psychologist and an expert in math education, Star joined the HGSE faculty in 2007. He studies how children learn math, particularly algebra.
“Jon Star is a top-flight researcher and scholar in math education, and his work, informed by his years as a classroom teacher, has had significant impact on teaching practice and curriculum design,” said Ryan. “In addition to his prodigious research portfolio and sharp thinking about persistent problems in the field, Jon has made strong and lasting contributions to the Ed School community since his arrival. He is a highly respected and skilled teacher and mentor, and has served as a strategic and thoughtful leader in the design and launch of the Harvard Teacher Fellows Program, among other successes. I am thrilled to welcome him to the senior faculty and look forward to working with him in the years to come.”
A former middle and high school math teacher, Star’s research has explored the development of flexibility in mathematical problem solving, with flexibility defined as knowledge of multiple strategies for solving mathematics problems and the ability to adaptively choose among known strategies on a particular problem. He also examines instructional and curricular interventions that may promote the development of mathematical understanding.
"I feel very fortunate and thankful to have the opportunity to continue working with the outstanding faculty, students, and staff at HGSE," Star said.
His research will continue to explore mathematics teaching and learning, with the goal of enabling all students to be more capable learners of math. “Through my own work, as well as from the efforts of my colleagues at HGSE and across the university who study STEM education, I am confident that Harvard can continue to be a leader in national and international efforts to improve children’s opportunities to learn mathematics,” Star said.