Dean Bridget Long has announced that Susan Dynarski will join the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education as a professor of education. Dynarski, currently professor of public policy, education, and economics at the University of Michigan, will begin her tenure on July 1, 2021.
“I am thrilled that Sue will be returning to Harvard to join us at HGSE,” says Long. “A celebrated scholar, her work has been at the forefront of understanding the challenges faced by students and families, and her work has been instrumental in addressing gaps in education. She has pushed the field to develop a more nuanced understanding of college access, financial aid design, labor market outcomes, and high school reforms. She has also been an extraordinary mentor to students and voice in important education debates. Sue will be an incredible asset to our community, and I am delighted to welcome her in 2021.”
At Michigan, Dynarski holds appointments at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, the School of Education, the Department of Economics, and the Institute for Social Research. She is co-director of the Education Policy Initiative, a center for research, teaching, and policy engagement, the work of which regularly informs education reform efforts in Michigan and across the United States. She is also a faculty research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, and a nonresident senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution.
Dynarski’s research focuses on understanding and reducing inequality in education, looking to assess the effects of charter schools, financial aid, postsecondary schooling, class size, and high school reforms on academic achievement, educational attainment, and long-term outcomes. Her work strives to make higher education more accessible — particularly for low-income and first-generation students — by lowering or removing barriers at multiple stages of college admissions, including by improving application processes and simplifying enrollment. She has also prioritized public scholarship, including her widely read columns in the New York Times and an energetic Twitter feed that nurtures a community of fellow scholars, students, and policymakers.
“I am thrilled to be returning to Cambridge next year as a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education,” says Dynarski. “HSGE is committed to advancing equity and inclusion in education, and I am honored to be part of this community. I look forward to working with the school’s outstanding students, faculty, and staff on improving education research, policy, and practice.”
Dynarski has been awarded the Spencer Foundation Award for excellence in research by the Association for Public Policy Management, and the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award for excellence in research on student aid by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. The Chronicle of Higher Education named her a "Top Ten Influencer" in 2015.
She earned an AB in Social Studies from Harvard College, a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, and a Ph.D. in economics from MIT. She began her academic career as an assistant and associate professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.