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John Q. Easton, Ph.D., Speaks on Research-Practice Partnerships

John Q. Easton, Ph.D., presented "Research-Practice Partnerships: Promises and Challenges" at Saint Louis University.

October’s speaker in the Education Lecture Series (co-sponsored by the School of Education and the Office of the Vice President for Research) was  John Q. Easton, Ph.D. He presented on Tuesday, October 9, in Boileau Hall. Lunch was served prior to Easton’s lecture which was titled Research-Practice Partnerships: Promises and Challenges.

Easton is a current Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research, an affiliation he has maintained since the Consortium’s inception in 1990. Through his distinguished career, he has created several publication, including, “Keeping New Teachers: A first Look at the Influences in the Chicago Public Schools,” and “Research and Evaluation in the Chicago Public Schools: A Plan for the Future.”

Prior to becoming a Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago, Easton served as Vice President of Programs at the Spencer Foundation in Chicago. At Spencer, Easton created and led a new grant program for research-practitioner partnerships. Research practitioner partnerships as defined by the grand foundation are, “Long-term, mutualistic collaborations between practitioners and researchers that are intentionally organized to investigate problems of practice and solutions for improving district outcomes.”

From June 2009 through August 2014, Easton was the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to his government service, Easton was Executive Director of the UChicago Consortium. He was affiliated with the UChicago Consortium since its beginning in 1990, and became their Deputy Director in 1997 until he moved to be the Executive Director in 2002. Easton served a term on the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policies for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). He is a member of the Illinois Employment Security Advisory Board, the Illinois Longitudinal Data System Technical Advisory Committee, and the Chicago Public Schools' School Quality Report Card Steering Committee.

In his talk, Easton began by discussing multiple aspects involved in developing and sustaining Research-Practice Partnerships by providing examples from the grant foundation. He then drew on his first-hand experiences working and living in Chicago. He touched on his national experiences at the U.S. Department of Education and the Spencer Foundation and how his positions at both of those institutions prepared him for working in Chicago schools. He briefly described successful research partnerships in Chicago and explored questions of funding and community engagement, giving examples of how students, faculty, and community members could become more involved. Finally, he talked about the changing roles of researchers as they engage more deeply and create more projects with stakeholders. He ended his talk by discussing the changing roles of practitioners as they become more focused on continuous improvements.

Easton holds a Ph.D. in measurement, evaluation, and statistical analysis from the University of Chicago; a master's degree from Western Washington University; and a bachelor's degree from Hobart College. He is the author or coauthor of numerous reports and articles.

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