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Johnson, Perkins Named to Endowed Chairs

By Newseditor on November 18, 2009 8:27 AM

Dean Kathleen McCartney has announced the appointment of two Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty members to endowed chairs. Susan Moore Johnson was named the Jerome T. Murphy Professor of Education and David Perkins was named the Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr. Professor of Teaching and Learning, the chair being vacated by Johnson.

The Murphy Chair is named after longtime HGSE professor and former dean Jerome Murphy, who said of Johnson's appointment, "Susan epitomizes the best of the Ed School - a dedicated teacher who treasures her students, a superb scholar who grasps the subtleties of practice, a tireless denizen of the community, and a wonderful person who radiates integrity. I'm thrilled and honored by her appointment to the Murphy chair."

"Susan was academic dean during most of Jerry's deanship, so it is an extremely fitting tribute to them both that Susan should be the first holder of the Jerome T. Murphy Professorship in Education," said McCartney.

Johnson is an expert on teacher policy, organizational change, and administrative practice. As a former high school teacher and administrator, her research focuses on the work of teachers and school reform. Currently, Johnson and a group of advanced doctoral students are engaged in a multiyear research study, The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers, that examines how best to recruit, support, and retain a strong teaching force in the next decade. The project includes studies of hiring practices, alternative certification programs, and new teachers' attitudes toward careers and experiences with colleagues.

Of Perkins' appointment, McCartney commented, "The common strain through all of David Perkins' work is a singular focus on how we learn. Books such as his recent Making Learning Whole, as well as his long-standing work with Project Zero and WIDE World make Dave a deserving choice for the Carl H. Pforzheimer, Jr. Professorship in Teaching and Learning."

Perkins research focuses on creativity in the arts and sciences, informal reasoning, problem solving, understanding, individual and organizational learning, and the teaching of thinking skills. Perkins's 2008 book, Making Learning Whole: How Seven Principles of Teaching Can Transform Education, presents a new and practical research-based teaching framework in which he describes teaching as being more effective when students are introduced to the "whole game" instead of isolated disciplines. An advocate of school change, he has participated in curriculum projects addressing thinking, understanding, and learning around the world. He is also the cofounder of Project Zero, a research project at HGSE that investigates human symbolic capacities and their development, and WIDE World, a distance-learning initiative for practitioners developed at the Ed School.