From its inception in 1993, the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University (hereafter the Annenberg Institute) has been focused on improving educational opportunities for children. Though its mission has broadened and deepened under the leadership of Susanna Loeb, its core concerns with reducing educational inequality and promoting educational excellence have remained constant.
In pursuit of more just and flourishing societies, the Annenberg Institute seeks to integrate and expand the range of work at Brown, reenvisioning how universities can enrich educational systems for the benefit of children and youth.
The Institute strives to equalize and improve educational opportunities. By bringing together diverse thinkers to tackle difficult problems, the Institute advances the broader field: harnessing the power of Brown’s community to develop education leaders, building actionable knowledge through systematic research, partnering with educators and policy-makers for local impact, and encouraging robust civic discourse.
The Annenberg Institute at Brown University developed and launched EdWorkingPapers.com on May 2019. This national working paper series provides open access to high-quality papers across disciplines on a wide variety of education topics. EdWorkingPapers focuses particularly on pre-publication research with strong implications for education policy. To date, EdWorkingPapers have 157 national scholarly contributors.
Dr. Loeb has spearheaded the creation of the Annenberg Undergraduate Fellows for Education and Social Policy Program. Designed to prepare current Brown undergraduates to engage in rigorous empirical research in education and social policy, the program is comprised of an 8-week paid summer internship, followed by research and workshop opportunities throughout the remainder of the student’s undergraduate experience. The program welcomed its first cohort in the summer of 2019.
Dr. Susanna Loeb — previously the Barnett Family Professor of Education at Stanford University and founding Director of the Center for Education Policy at Stanford — assumed leadership of the Institute in July 2018. Reflecting the University's strategic plan Building on Distinction, Dr. Loeb refocused the Institute’s mission and restructured its relationship to the University. Under Dr. Loeb’s guidance, the Institute emphasizes closer integration with the University’s research and teaching mission, and aims to create a hub of scholarship and policy work that engages faculty, students, and practitioner experts. This work addresses the causes, consequences, and mitigation of educational inequality with the goal of creating scalable solutions.
In order to increase coordination between the Annenberg Institute and Brown University more broadly, several former Institute programs moved to continue their work in new organizational homes. In September 2017, the New York-based Community Organizing and Engagement team moved to the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools at New York University’s Steinhardt School. And in November 2017, the New England-based Community Organizing & Engagement team and the District & Systems Transformation team moved to Roger Williams University’s School of Continuing Studies.
In December, Dr. Warren Simmons stepped down as Executive Director of the Annenberg Institute. He continued to serve as senior fellow and team-taught a course in urban systems and structure in Brown University’s Urban Education Policy master’s program. Former Institute Deputy Director Michael Grady was named Interim Executive Director.
The Annenberg Institute hosted the Providence Children & Youth Cabinet.
The Annenberg Institute’s Board of Overseers established the Ruth J. Simmons Urban Education Policy Scholarship. This permanent annual award goes to the UEP graduate student who most epitomizes the former Brown University president’s commitment to educational equity and social justice. Dr. Simmons, who served as Chair of the Institute’s Board of Overseers beginning with her appointment as Brown’s President in 2001, was instrumental in urging the Institute and the University’s Education Department to collaborate on a graduate program in the study of urban public education.
In partnership with the Rhode Island Foundation, the Annenberg Institute sponsored a series of eight forums focused on "Building a 21st Century Education System."
2008-2009: The Annenberg Institute supported the Governor's Urban Education Task Force, a key factor in Rhode Island's successful Race to the Top application.
The Annenberg Institute opened an expanded New York office in the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan.
The Institute's programs and staff expanded with the assimilation of the Community Involvement Program, formerly affiliated with the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University.
In collaboration with Brown’s Education Department and other University entities, the Institute established a Master’s Program in Urban Education Policy (UEP), with the first cohort of students entering the program in the summer of 2006. The tightly focused 12-month academic curriculum, integrated with a 9-month internship, is designed to impart a set of core skills and competencies necessary for successful careers in urban education policy.
The inaugural issue of the Annenberg Institute’s quarterly journal, Voices in Urban Education (VUE), was published in the spring of 2003, and ceased publication after 48 issues in the spring of 2018.
The Institute moved its Providence operations to new headquarters on Benefit Street, just off the Brown campus.
The Annenberg Institute opened a small office in New York City in conjunction with the launch of its Task Force on the Future of Urban Districts.
In October 1998, Dr. Warren Simmons left his position as Director of the Philadelphia Education Fund to become Executive Director of the Institute. Under Dr. Simmons’ leadership, the Institute adopted a mission statement concentrating on the critical need to improve schools in the nation’s urban communities.
After Dr. Sizer's retirement in 1996, Dr. Vartan Gregorian — then President of Brown University — served as Acting Director of the Annenberg Institute, and Ramón Cortines, a member of the Board of Overseers, served as Interim Director.
The Annenberg Institute’s founder and first Director was education reform leader Dr. Theodore R. Sizer. Dr. Sizer was previously the founder and Chairman of the innovative Coalition of Essential Schools, which envisioned a type of whole-school reform, with differentiated learning and a commitment to educating informed citizens. Under Dr. Sizer, the Institute built upon the work of the Coalition and expanded its goals, endeavoring to support sustained, focused efforts to enhance the quality of learning of children and youth across the country.
The Annenberg Institute was first established through an anonymous gift to Brown University of $5 million. A subsequent $50 million gift — part of Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg's $500 million Challenge to the Nation to improve public education in America — enabled the fledgling organization to expand the scope of its work. In appreciation for this generous gift, the Institute was renamed in the philanthropist’s honor.
Note: While the Annenberg Institute received an initial gift and other grants from the Annenberg Foundation (Ambassador Annenberg’s charitable trust), Annenberg Institute is a separate entity from the Foundation and from other organizations that were beneficiaries of the Foundation and bear the Annenberg name. Annenberg Institute does not make grants and cannot consider proposals for funding from outside organizations.