Saint Louis University Names New Dean of SLU’s School of Education

11/29/2017

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 29, 2017) — Gary Ritter, Ph.D., has been named the next dean of the School of Education at Saint Louis University (SLU). His appointment is effective Aug. 1, 2018.

Gary Ritter, Ph.D.
Gary Ritter, Ph.D.

Ritter is a professor of education policy and holder of the 21st Century Endowed Chair in Education Policy at the University of Arkansas. He is also the director and founder of the university’s Office for Education Policy, which serves as a resource for state legislators, school board members and other policymakers in matters related to K-12 education.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with Gary,” said Saint Louis University Provost Nancy Brickhouse, Ph.D. “He is a first-rate scholar and thought-leader in education. As dean of our School of Education, I know he will provide exemplary, mission-focused leadership in addressing the city and country’s most pressing educational problems.”

Ritter has been a faculty member at the University of Arkansas since 2000. During his time there, he has served as principal investigator on more than 15 research grants totaling more than $2.5 million in external funding.

A widely published scholar, Ritter’s research interests include teacher training and evaluation, access to postsecondary education for low-income students, school governance and accountability, disparities in school discipline, and evaluating promising educational programs in economically disadvantaged areas.

Ritter’s work has been published in numerous journals and outlets, including the Review of Educational Research, Education Finance & Policy, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Policy, Education Policy Analysis Archives, Education and Urban Society, the Journal of Education Finance, Education Next and Phi Delta Kappan.

To ensure that his research can be useful to public policy, Ritter has testified before lawmakers in Arkansas, Florida, New York and Oklahoma, as well as the Committee on Education and Labor of the U.S. House of Representatives on the issue of teacher quality.

During the past eight years, Ritter also has co-chaired the Education Coordinating Group of the Campbell Collaboration, an international, interdisciplinary group of scholars working to increase the generation and the use of evidence in social service fields to guide policymaking.

Students supervised by Ritter have gone on to work for state departments of education in Virginia and Arkansas; for national education organizations, such as the Northwest Evaluation Association and the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching; for research firms such as Abt Associates; and for universities including Stanford, Michigan State, the University of Missouri and Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom.  

Ritter earned his undergraduate degree in finance at John Carroll University — a Jesuit university in Cleveland. After working as a Jesuit volunteer for Sacred Heart School in Camden, New Jersey, he earned master’s degrees from the University of Manchester in England and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his Ph.D. in education policy from Penn’s Graduate School of Education under the supervision of noted education and public policy scholar Rebecca Maynard, Ph.D.

“I am thrilled to be entrusted with this great opportunity to work with the School of Education and the entire SLU community to pursue the Jesuit mission in the St. Louis region and beyond,” Ritter said.

As dean, Ritter said one of his goals will be to support the current ways that education faculty and students serve the city and state, while engaging with internal and external stakeholders to generate even more opportunities for outreach to the local education community.

“I am also eager to enhance the visibility of the excellent research of the faculty today, while working to facilitate even greater scholarly productivity — for faculty and graduate students alike — in the future,” he said.

Ritter succeeds Molly Schaller, Ph.D., who has served as the interim dean of SLU’s School of Education since July 2017. A national search was conducted for the position. Teri Murray, R.N., Ph.D., dean of SLU’s School of Nursing, chaired the search committee.  

“I am grateful to Molly for her leadership of the school during this transition period, and I would like to thank Teri and all members of the search committee for their outstanding work,” Brickhouse said.