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SLU Receives Nearly $1 Million Grant to Develop Education Policy in Missouri

A new research center at Saint Louis University dedicated to conducting applied research and disseminating results to education stakeholders across the state of Missouri will open this spring, following a $962,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation.

The Policy Research in Missouri Education (PRiME) center at the Saint Louis University School of Education will serve as a resource for state lawmakers, educators, administrators and other education leaders who make critical policy decisions for K-12 education in the state of Missouri.  

 “We want Missouri’s education leaders and key lawmakers to have access to every resource available when making key policy decisions,” said Gary Ritter, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and recipient of the grant. "The Walton Family Foundation’s grant will help us bridge the gap between research and practice by gathering evidence on questions that are important to policymakers for education in Missouri.” 

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Freshman student Natalia Ritter visits with Gary Ritter, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and recipient of a nearly $1 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation. Photo by Ellen Hutti

What is the PRiME Center?

Due to launch in early spring 2019, the SLU PRiME Center will publish annual “report cards” for schools and districts across Missouri, produce reports that compare Missouri to the rest of the nation in areas such as student outcomes and teacher pay. It will also post regular blog entries on critical education issues affecting both St. Louis and the state, and sponsor an annual conference that brings together education leaders and researchers throughout Missouri.

 We want Missouri’s education leaders and key lawmakers to have access to every resource available when making key policy decisions.” 

Gary Ritter, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and recipient of the grant

The office will be similar to other education policy programs across the country including: OEP at the University of Arkansas; EPIC at Michigan State University; HERC at the University of Houston; and CEPA at Stanford University.   

Connection to  SLU's Big Ideas Challenge 

 The SLU PRiME Center received initial seed funding from the University’s Big Ideas Challenge — a multi-year competition that offers increasing levels of investment for projects that showcase broad faculty engagement, strong leadership and compelling research initiatives.

 “Dr. Ritter and his team’s Big Idea for education policy in Missouri falls in line with one of our commitments as a University — to generate research focused on addressing societal challenges,” said Ken Olliff, vice president for research at SLU. “We look forward to seeing the changes this project will inspire for educational progress in our region and state.”

The Center will be staffed by two full-time researchers as well as student workers. Dean Ritter, as well as SLU faculty from the School of Education, Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business and others who are conducting research in the area of education policy will also play a role.

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better place.