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Stanford Report, April 12, 2000

UCLA's Stipek chosen to lead Education School

Deborah Jane Stipek, professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California-Los Angeles, has been named dean of the School of Education.

She succeeds Richard Shavelson, who will step down Aug. 31. Denis Phillips, currently associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Education, will become interim dean on Sept. 1, filling the position until Stipek arrives in January 2001. With her appointment, Stipek will be the second woman in the university's history to be named dean of a school. Kathleen M. Sullivan became dean of the Law School Sept. 1, 1999.

John Hennessy, provost and incoming university president, announced the appointment to faculty in the school on Tuesday, April 11.

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"I think the search committee has found the perfect dean for the School of Education in Deborah Stipek," Hennessy said in a prepared statement. "She is one of the country's most respected researchers in the areas of early education, child development and motivation, and has been a significant voice in the public policy dialogue on child development and welfare. And, finally, she brings a great deal of administrative and development experience and excitement about engaging the work and opportunities that lie before the School of Education in the years to come."

University President Gerhard Casper was equally enthusiastic about the appointment of Stipek.

"Deborah is among the top educators of educators in the country," Casper said. "She brings a wonderful blend of talents to the tasks of the dean: broadly acknowledged scholarship, experience in directing a laboratory school, first-rate leadership skills and a strong commitment to education. The School of Education -- and Stanford -- are indeed fortunate to find such a gifted successor to build on the legacy of Rich Shavelson."

Stipek, who has taught at UCLA since 1977, earned her doctorate in developmental psychology from Yale University. She graduated summa cum laude in psychology from the University of Washington and also studied at the institute founded by developmental psychologist Jean Piaget at the Université de Genève in Switzerland.

"It's a real privilege to have the opportunity to work with such a distinguished faculty as that at the School of Education," Stipek said in a telephone interview.

"Stanford has one of the top two schools of education in the country and is well known for rolling up its sleeves and working to use its research knowledge and policy expertise to help make a difference in our public education system and to assist with school reform."

Stipek is a specialist in early childhood development, achievement and motivation, classroom instruction and issues related to child and family policy. Her research focuses on preschool and elementary school-aged children, as well as classroom conditions that affect effort and interest in academic tasks.

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Educational Research Association, Stipek has received grants from the MacArthur Foundation, the William T. Grant Foundation, the Gluck Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. She currently is co-director of the National Institute of Mental Health's Training Program in Applied Human Development and also directs the Corinne Seeds University Elementary School at UCLA.

The university lab school, which was founded 100 years ago, has a diverse population of 450 children, from age 4 through the sixth grade. Some 1,000 public school teachers, administrators and policymakers visit the school each year for professional development activities and to attend seminars about using technology in classrooms.

"I really enjoy teaching and I'm very committed to working with public schools," Stipek says. "Although I won't have a lab school to run at Stanford, I hope to be involved with school reform and I know there's a wonderful group of people at Stanford who stand poised and already have been playing an important role in working with school districts."

A former legislative assistant in the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, Stipek said the time she spent in Washington, D.C., as a Congressional Science Fellow was an intense "real-life experience in working with government" on issues of children and family policy.

"It's very important that those of us who do research on education are well connected with and interacting on a regular basis with people who are doing education," she said. "We need to be informed by their concerns and challenges."

Stipek is author of the 1988 volume Motivation to Learn: From Theory to Practice, and co-editor with A. Bohart of Constructive and Destructive Behavior: Implications for Family, School and Society, currently in press. She also has written journal articles and book chapters on Project Head Start, adolescent learning, gender differences in children's achievement-related beliefs, motivating underachievers, mathematics education and bilingual programs. SR