UConn Names Next Austin Chair

The University of Connecticut has named Morgaen L. Donaldson, a renowned scholar of educational leadership and policy, as the next Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair

Morgaen Donaldson.

Neag School of Education Professor Morgaen Donaldson has been named UConn’s next Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair. (Shawn Kornegay/Neag School)

The University of Connecticut has named Morgaen L. Donaldson, a renowned scholar of educational leadership and policy, as the next Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair.

The Austin Chair was endowed by a group of alumni and supporters to recognize President Emeritus Austin’s many contributions to the University, leading UConn’s transformation into its present status as a top public university in the nation. As the 13th president, serving from 1996 to 2007, Austin led the University through a five-fold growth in the endowment, an increased reputation for academic excellence, national athletic success, and many other points of pride.

Faculty who hold the chair will continue Austin’s legacy of excellence, working to further elevate UConn’s national prominence in the areas of policy-relevant research, public engagement, interdisciplinary scholarship, and student engagement. The term of the Austin Chair is three years, with possibility of renewal for a second consecutive term.

Donaldson is a professor of educational leadership and director of the University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis, Research, and Evaluation, both in the Neag School of Education. She is also co-director of the Connecticut COVID-19 Education Research Collaborative, a partnership between Connecticut’s institutions of higher education and the Connecticut State Department of Education, and a research affiliate of the Project on the Next Generation of Teachers at Harvard University.

Her research has significant policy implications in multiple domains, including educator quality, educator development and evaluation, teacher retention, district and school leadership, and teachers’ unions, with a particular focus on urban and rural schools. She is the author of more than 40 articles and four books, including her recent publication, “Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Teacher Evaluation: Understanding the Research and Theory” (Routledge, 2020).

“I have long admired President Austin’s commitment to producing policy-relevant research that serves the public and look forward to building on this legacy as Austin Chair.”
— Morgaen L. Donaldson

“Dr. Donaldson’s selection for this role continues a legacy of exceptionally prolific scholars at UConn serving as the Austin Chair, recognizing their work that extends far beyond our campuses and into communities in the realms of policy and public engagement. This is a well-deserved award in honor of her broad-ranging and impactful work,” says Carl Lejuez, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Donaldson’s work has been funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, Connecticut General Assembly, the American Educational Research Association, the Spencer Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Connecticut State Department of Education and has won awards from the American Educational Research Association, National Academy of Education, and University Council for Educational Administration.

“We’re incredibly proud of Morgaen for having been named the latest Austin Chair,” says Jason G. Irizarry, dean of the Neag School. “This is a tremendous individual recognition of her stellar ongoing contributions, and at the same time a reflection of the strong level of scholarly research, policy analysis, and public engagement work coming out of the Neag School.”

“It is a great honor to be named the Philip E. Austin Endowed Chair. I have long admired President Austin’s commitment to producing policy-relevant research that serves the public and look forward to building on this legacy as Austin Chair,” says Donaldson.

The Austin Chair is awarded to a tenured associate or full professor in either the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or the Neag School of Education who has a distinguished record in both policy-relevant research (for example in social, education, health, housing, environmental, criminal justice, or other salient policy areas) and public engagement (work that is highly visible and relevant to both scholarly and lay audiences). Candidates are reviewed by a committee appointed by the provost.

The previous Austin Chairs are Stephen L. Ross, professor in the Department of Economics (CLAS); Preston Britner, professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (CLAS); and Kathleen Segerson, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Department of Economics (CLAS).

More information about the Austin Chair can be found at the Provost’s Office website.