Celebrated scholar James Guthrie has joined Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development as a faculty member and the George W. Bush Institute as a Senior Fellow in a three-year, concurrent appointment. A nationally recognized expert on education reform, Guthrie is serving as the institute’s director of education policy studies.

“James Guthrie’s contributions to the field of education are legendary,” said David J. Chard, the Leon Simmons Dean of Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. “His presence on our faculty will immediately shine a spotlight on the Simmons School’s efforts to address some of education’s most pressing challenges.”

Guthrie likely will present guest lectures in existing courses, Chard said. In addition, he will help the Simmons School’s Department of Education Policy and Leadership to develop an institute for education leaders. Guthrie will continue his research on effective teaching and the impact of teacher incentives on improved student performance. He also will work with the SMU faculty and Bush Institute staff to identify additional areas of research related to education reform.

“The unique attribute Guthrie brings is his continual insistence on evidence-based policy, something he did long before anybody even invented a term for it,” said Eric Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Guthrie is author or co-author of 20 books and more than 200 academic and professional articles.

He comes to SMU from Vanderbilt University, where he served as Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy and as Director of the Peabody Center for Education Policy. The center is part of Vanderbilt’s School of Education, ranked number one in the country in 2009 by U.S. News & World Report.

Guthrie serves as a frequent expert witness in court cases and has been a consultant for state, national and international agencies and governments. He has been selected to serve on panels of the National Academy of Sciences and is the winner of 12 awards and academic fellowships, among them the Alexander Heard Distinguished Service Professor Award at Vanderbilt.

Guthrie was a professor for 27 years at the University of California at Berkeley, holds a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, and undertook postdoctoral study in public finance at Harvard.

“Simmons School faculty and Bush Institute personnel developed vision statements and identified education policy and leadership as common areas of interest,” Chard said. “With these common interests, we independently searched for scholars highly regarded in both areas. Dr. Guthrie was the first choice of both institutions.”

Guthrie’s appointment to the Bush Institute was announced by former President George W. Bush on November 9, 2009, at a presentation on the SMU campus.

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