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Dr. Ronald Ferguson    

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy

Ronald Ferguson has taught on the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983, after holding full time appointments at Brandeis and Brown Universities. Since coming to Harvard, he has held visiting appointments at MIT and the College Board.

Dr. Ferguson’s research publications cover issues in education policy, youth development programming, community development, economic consequences of skill disparities, and state and local economic development. For the past decade, Dr. Ferguson’s research has focused on racial achievement gaps, appearing in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, and various books and scholarly journals. In addition to teaching and research, Ferguson participates in a variety of consulting and policy advisory activities. Among others, these have included the National Research Council Committee on Community-level Youth Programming, the National Research Council Board on Testing and Assessment, the National Urban League’s Campaign for African-American Achievement, the Research Advisory Group on Closing the Achievement Gap of the Council of Great City Schools, and expert testimony in school finance cases. He is also the creator and director of the Tripod Project for School Improvement, which aims to raise achievement for all children while narrowing achievement gaps. Additionally, Dr. Ferguson is the Faculty Co-Chair and Director of the Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI) at Harvard, a university-wide initiative to help close the nation’s achievement gaps by supporting new research and connecting research to policy and practice.

In 1995, Ron Ferguson was asked by leaders of the National Community Development Initiative to organize the National Community Development Policy Analysis Network (NCDPAN) in order to bring mainstream social science research to bear on the field of community development. Among other products, NCDPAN produced a volume that Dr. Ferguson co-edited (and to which he also contributed), in which leading social scientists from several disciplines brought their insights to bear on urban problem solving. Brookings Press published the volume, Urban Problems and Community Development, in 1999. Many universities and practitioners now use it.

Ronald Ferguson is a frequent lecturer and keynote speaker on issues of education, leadership and urban problem solving. He attended public schools in Cleveland, Ohio, later earning an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from MIT, both in economics. He has been happily married for 27 years and has two sons.

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