Education Economics and "Achivement Gap" Scholar to Speak at GRCC August 1 - Community Invited to Attend

Dr. Ronald Ferguson, Professor of Education and Public Policy, and faculty co-chair and director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, will speak on the campus of Grand Rapids Community College on Monday, August 1, during a two-day visit to the Grand Rapids community.

Ferguson, in town to meet with Grand Rapids Public Schools, will speak about "Excellence with equity: a social movement for the 21st century."  The lecture will be held at 7:00PM in GRCC’s Applied Technology Center Auditorium (room 168) and is open to the public.

“The ground-breaking findings that have come from Dr. Ferguson and his colleagues have made an impact across the U.S., and are so relevant right here, right now, in our own community,” said Dr. Gilda Gely, GRCC Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.  “This is information the residents of West Michigan need to hear, from local funders, policy makers and business leaders—particularly those interested in workforce development—to teachers, administrators and, certainly, parents.”
Ferguson, Senior Lecturer in Education and Public Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Kennedy School, is also an economist and Senior Research Associate at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. He holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and PhD from MIT, both in economics and has taught at Harvard since 1983. His research and writing for the past decade have focused on racial achievement gaps, appearing in a variety of publications. His most recent book is Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap, published by Harvard Education Press.

The Achievement Gap Initiative is a university-wide effort established by the Harvard Graduate School of Education to focus on eliminating achievement gaps through academic research, public education, and innovative outreach activities.

Ferguson will also speak at the Grand Rapids Public Schools Institute on August 2.

“We’re very pleased to be welcoming Dr. Ferguson to Grand Rapids,” said Senita Lenear, Grand Rapids Public Schools board president. “His work is at the forefront of research around closing the achievement gap, one of the most pressing issues in public education today.”

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. The Training Solutions department trained over 8,100 students in specialized training programs in 2009-10. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.  

Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) is Michigan’s third largest public school district and the second largest employer in the City of Grand Rapids, serving more than 19,000 students with 3,500 employees, including 1,600 dedicated teachers. The School of Health, Science and Technology located at Central High School campus is the region’s premier specialty high school focused on preparing students for college and career pathways in the wide-ranging health care industry. Located just a few blocks from

“Medical Mile,” HST is partnered with some of the top health care institutions, medical providers, and colleges/universities in the area. For more information please visit