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Dryden-Peterson Named Professor of Education

Sarah Dryden-Peterson, a scholar in the field of refugee education, has been promoted to the rank of professor
Sarah Dryden-Peterson
Sarah Dryden-Peterson
Photo: Tom Kates

Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean Bridget Long has announced the promotion of Sarah Dryden-Peterson, a scholar whose work focuses on educational experiences of refugee children and youth. Dryden-Peterson has been promoted to the rank of full professor with tenure, effective Ferbruary 1, 2023. 

“I’m excited to continue to build the research and teaching we do at HGSE, especially the work that is explicitly focused on equity and that is transnational and global," Dryden-Peterson said. "I’m also excited to continue contributing through research methods that are qualitative and participatory. It is with a constellation of research methods that I believe we can together respond to the research, policy, and practice questions that will lead us towards justice and truly transforming educational opportunity.”

Dryden-Peterson earned her Ed.D. from HGSE in 2009, returning to join the HGSE faculty in 2012 as an assistant professor. Her research has provided a grounding for the field of refugee education and has helped inform policies on inclusion of refugees in national education systems. One of her distinctive contributions to this field is her focus on the direct study of the educational experiences of refugees. Her recent book, Right Where We Belong: How Refugee Students and Teachers Are Changing the Future of Education, includes research conducted over 15 years, including more than 600 interviews across 23 countries.

“Sarah’s work brings to light the educational experiences of refugees as reported by the learners themselves and by their teachers. Through her scholarship, Sarah has provided a conceptual foundation for the field of refugee education, which global agencies and governments have drawn upon to shape inclusion policies for refugees in national education systems," said Dean Long. "Sarah’s contributions to HGSE are also impressive, including helping to co-design the Global, International, and Comparative Education (GICE) Concentration. Sarah is also a highly sought-after mentor and adviser. I am thrilled to welcome her to the senior faculty.”

In 2019, Dryden-Peterson founded the Refugee REACH Initiative, created from a commitment to bringing policymakers, researchers, and educators working in refugee education together in communities of practice and conversations about ongoing dilemmas in their work. She also facilitates the Mowana Research Lab, an intellectual community of doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting fellows coming together to share ideas around research, develop collaborations, and engage in professional development. 

In addition to Refugee REACH, Mowana, and her continuing research pursuits, Dryden-Peterson serves as the faculty co-chair of GICE and teaches courses in comparative education, educating in uncertainty, and creating welcoming communities in times of conflict and migration.

"I love being part of the HGSE community of teachers and learners," said Dryden-Peterson, "and I look forward to continuing to live into the responsibilities we have to each other and to building the future of our field of education."


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