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Long Named Ed School Dean, Will Be First Black Woman to Lead School

Bridget Terry Long has been named the next dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Bridget Terry Long, a Harvard Graduate School of Education professor and economist, will become the school’s next dean, University President Drew G. Faust announced Wednesday.

Long will be the first black woman to lead the Ed School when she assumes the role on July 1. Her appointment ends a search for the successor to Ed School Dean James E. Ryan, who announced he would leave Harvard for the University of Virginia in Sept. 2017. Ryan will depart the deanship after nearly five years to become the president of the University of Virginia.

Long brings a wealth of Harvard experience to the job. In addition to her current role as a professor of education and economics at HGSE, she previously served as the school’s academic dean from 2013 to 2017 and as the faculty director of the Ed.D. program from 2010 to 2013.

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“I start this new role with gratitude for all that HGSE has given me and a strong sense of purpose that centers on the mission of our School,” Long said in a press release. “I’m here because I believe in this community and what we can do together.”

“You can’t help but be inspired by the faculty, students, and staff, who are all working toward the goal of improving the world through education,” Long added.

Both Faust and Ryan said in the press release they are excited to see Long assume the deanship.

President-elect Lawrence S. Bacow, who will succeed Faust and launch his presidency around the same time Long becomes dean, also said in the release that he is thrilled by Long’s appointment.

“We share a common interest and passion for improving access to higher education for talented students from families of limited means,” Bacow said. “I look forward to working closely with her to achieve this goal and to advancing the important work of the School.”

Long was born in Baltimore and grew up in the Midwest. She attended Princeton University as an undergraduate before earning master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from Harvard. She first joined the Harvard faculty in 2000 as an assistant professor, and worked her way through the ranks across the next decade. Since 2011, she has held the title of Saris Professor of Education and Economics.

Long’s research focuses on student transitions between high school, college, and the working world. In particular, she analyzes the ties between scholarly success and affordability as well as the role of financial aid programs in increasing access to colleges and universities. At the Ed School, she has taught classes on the role of policy in college access and success for students, as well as the economics of higher education.

Long has won multiple accolades for her scholarship. She has earned grants and awards from the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—and former President Barack Obama in 2010 appointed her to the National Board for Education Sciences.

Faust said in the press release Wednesday that she believes Long will be successful in her new role.

“Professor Long brings the energy and imagination to create an environment that will nurture new ideas and inspire solutions to some of the most pressing problems in education,” Faust said in the release. “Professor Long is extraordinarily capable of leading the School.”

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