Applications No Longer Being Accepted for 2019.
SREE, in collaboration with Grantmakers for Education’s Data Impact Group, is pleased to introduce the SREE Summer Fellows Program. The purpose of this program is to connect educational researchers with philanthropic organizations seeking research information without having the time or expertise to access it and, in doing so, advance the use of high-quality education research.

Program Overview

SREE Summer Fellows will be tasked with conducting a literature review on a selected topic and creating a 1-2 page brief in plain language on that topic that can be used by foundations, practitioners, and other users in the community, as well as a more technical review for other researchers. Member organizations of Grantmakers for Education’s have identified 3 topics of interest outlined below. As part of the application, the prospective Fellow should propose an aspect of the topic on which to focus his/her summer literature review. The Fellow will work virtually and under the supervision of his/her graduate student advisor.

Fellows will commit to:

  • Spending 10-12 weeks (400 hours) on the project conducting research and writing up the findings.
  • Participating in four check-in calls with the funder and/or SREE (initial, midpoint, and 2 results presentations)
  • Preparing a final technical report
  • Writing a 1-2 page brief in plain language, that synthesizes the findings and includes the strength of the evidence

The Fellow’s graduate advisor must commit to:

  • Providing general supervision
  • Giving feedback and guidance on both the brief and technical report

In return, Fellows will receive:

  • $7000 in compensation, paid in two installments
  • Feedback from the funder
  • Potential opportunity to present findings at both the GFE 2019 fall meeting in New Orleans and the SREE 2020 Spring Conference in Crystal City, VA
  • Brief featured on the SREE and GFE websites

The advisor will receive a $2000 honorarium at the end of the project.

How to Apply

The fellowship is open to current SREE student members.* To apply, submit 1) your CV; 2) writing sample; 3) one page statement indicating the topic (from the options below) on which you would like to work, how you would approach working on your selected topic, how you would refine the research questions and scope, your relevant experience, and why you would like to be a Fellow; and 4) a brief statement, signed by your faculty advisor, indicating his/her willingness to serve as your advisor on this project during the summer. Please note that this is not a letter of recommendation, but rather a letter of intent to serve as your advisor on the project. Send all materials to [email protected]

2019 Summer Fellow Topics

Competency Based Standards and the Workforce of the Future
Partner:  Siegel Family Foundation

Awarding students course completion credits based on seat-time is a policy that was developed at the turn of the 20th century, in an education system that prepared students for a very different workforce than today’s workforce. Siegel Family Endowment’s mission to understand and shape the impact of technology on society is predicated on the belief that everyone should be able to engage meaningfully in a rapidly changing, innovation-driven economy. However, access to skill sets that will be relevant in the future economy is not widely available in the current educational system. We are seeking support from a research fellow as we continue to explore this tension, refine the strategy for our Learning grants portfolio, and further develop our understanding of the workforce of the future. Research support would be especially useful as we work to better understand what education programs and initiatives can do to make the transition from education to work as seamless as possible. Specifically, we would like to work with a research fellow to define which competency-based standard(s) are most closely aligned with the skill sets that will be required of workers in the future. We currently support programs that expand access to and ways of learning about the emerging technologies that will be the biggest drivers of change. We also know that we cannot yet predict the full range of what these technologies will be, nor can we fully predict what work will look like in the future. We do have a sense that being equipped with the skill sets necessary to be successful in the future will require student ownership over learning, and reimagining antiquated education systems. We hope to apply our findings from this partnership as we update the strategy for our Learning grant portfolio, which was previously expressly focused on computational thinking. After investing solely in one area for a few years, we realized the need to broaden the types of investments we were making in education in order to better investigate effective connections to the workforce. While we have not yet conducted preliminary research in this area, we are eager for the opportunity to apply the rigor and structure of academic research to the process of refining our approach to our Learning grants portfolio.

Bias and Inequity in School Systems
Partner: Oak Foundation

Historically, the Learning Differences Programme (LDP) at Oak Foundation has strategically partnered with organizations that improve education for all students, particularly students with learning differences. For Oak Foundation, the learning differences population includes students who have specific learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia) as well as individuals who may have other related neurological processing issues that can impact learning (such as attention deficits, sensory processing disorders and executive function challenges). The LDP’s new strategy, to launch in May 2019, articulates our belief that every student should benefit from engaging and rigorous educational opportunities regardless of personal and social identifiers (e.g., learning differences, race, income, language, ethnicity, sexual orientation) that privilege some students and marginalize others. Moving forward, our work will address the needs of students with learning differences, particularly those who experience additional adversity because of their race and/or socioeconomic status. Core to our strategy is the belief that all students deserve to experience learning that builds four key attributes:

  • A sense of belonging through acceptance, connection, support and empathy in their learning environment;
  • Mastery through engagement with rigorous content, demonstration of understanding it, and critical reflection on new material;
  • Agency through their capacity and habit to form and act on intentions; and
  • Purpose through understanding of personal values and their relationship to learning and to long-term goals.

As Oak expands our strategy to include a more purposeful focus on the intersection of learning differences, race, and socioeconomic status, we hope to address the following research question:
1. How can Oak’s grantmaking address racial and other biases and inequitable structures and practice within school communities that disproportionately discriminate against students of color and other marginalised groups?
a. What does structural racism look like in a classroom, school and systems level? What does ableism look like in a classroom, school and systems level?
b. At what rates are students of color disciplined, and how does it compare to white counterparts? At what rates are students of color in special education disciplined, and how does it compare to white counterparts in special education?
c. How do educators, parents and young people understand inequitable structures and practices?
d. How do inequitable structures and practice within school communities affect life outcomes for students?
e. What works? How can racial and other biases be eliminated within a classroom, school and system?

Summer Melt
Partner: Ascendium

At Ascendium, we could benefit from some research to support our summer melt work. Our current work in this space is a project called Text Steps, a partnership with 13 K-12 districts across the state of Wisconsin. We welcome the opportunity to work with a research fellow to better leverage state data systems and national data sets, as well as relevant literature to inform our future work. We would like to explore two main questions: (1) what are the summer melt concerns for rural school districts; and (2) how are postsecondary institutions addressing summer melt? We will use this information to shape our future grantmaking efforts and would welcome the opportunity to share this research with other postsecondary education funders. We have not yet begun preliminary research in this area.

Expected Outcomes

SREE and GFE intend for the Fellows program to have several meaningful outcomes. It will make research findings more accessible to users, will help find gaps and needs in educational research that funders need, will provide a valuable opportunity for SREE student members to use their training, and will allow those just starting in the field to make important connections that will help them in their career. The briefs will be jointly housed on SREE’s website as well as on the GFE website to reach divergent audiences.

The Data Impact Group:

The Grantmakers for Education (GFE) Data Impact Group’s mission is to increase the power of data by enabling organizations to collect, interpret, value and act on educational data from cradle to career. GFE impact groups are organized to achieve measurable impacts and provide value to the broader GFE community. This partnership with SREE is one way the Group seeks to support other GFE members. Current Group members include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Helios Education Foundation, KnowledgeWorks, The Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Trellis Foundation. To learn more or to join the Data Impact Group, please find more information here.

* If the membership fee poses a financial hardship, please contact Ellen Weiss at [email protected]