Education School Dean Bridget Terry Long to Step Down

Returning to scholarship after 10 years of leadership

Bridget Terry Long

Bridget Terry Long |  Courtesy of HGSE Communications

Bridget Terry Long announced today that she will step down as dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) at the end of this academic year. She has served in a leadership role at HGSE over the last decade, first as academic dean and then, beginning in 2018, as dean. Throughout her tenure, she navigated an educational landscape characterized by the COVID-19 crisis, increasing diversity of the U.S. school population, and widening disparities in education.

“Since her appointment in 2018, and throughout her earlier tenure as academic dean, Bridget has served HGSE with distinction,” University President Alan M. Garber wrote in an email to University affiliates, “guided always by an unwavering commitment to the School’s mission of preparing leaders and innovators who expand opportunities and improve outcomes for learners everywhere.”

Under Long’s leadership, HGSE redesigned its one-year Ed.M. program with the goal of providing educators with a common core of knowledge essential for navigating a rapidly evolving educational landscape. During the pandemic, she also created an online master’s degree program that served as a model for remote education throughout the University and made an HGSE education accessible to students who might not be able to relocate to Cambridge.

“In the face of extraordinary uncertainty during the COVID pandemic, Bridget acted with vision and resolve, quickly pivoting to a fully online 2020/21 academic year,” Garber wrote. “This early decision made the planning and development of a high-quality remote experience possible, and, following her decision to open a new round of admissions, HGSE drew into its ranks a diverse set of learners who might not have been able to pursue a Harvard degree otherwise.”

Garber added that he will share information about the search for a successor in the coming weeks.

As dean, Long has emphasized the importance of engaging with students and schools outside the University. She oversaw the launch of Education Now, a newsletter and series of webinars featuring discussions by experts on challenges in the education sector. She also established the Deans’ Education Fellows program, which connected HGSE graduates with school districts across the country to offer assistance during the pandemic.

Long received her Ph.D. in economics at Harvard and joined the HGSE faculty in 2000, focusing much of her research on improving educational opportunities. She has examined the effectiveness of financial aid policies and support programs on educational outcomes and is well-known for her work on high school students’ transition to college. As dean, she rejected simplistic solutions in favor of expert, detailed scholarship that used data to evaluate outcomes. After stepping down, she plans to return to such work herself.

“I look forward with excitement to how the school will continue to grow and advance its mission over the next 10 years as it confronts the many new questions, and new challenges, that are at the forefront of our field and our society,” Long wrote in a message to the University. “I’ll be vigorously addressing those challenges myself, as I return to active scholarship, using my expertise, research, and voice to address some of the larger debates about higher education that are now unfolding.”

Read the University announcement here.

Read more articles by: Nina Pasquini

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