Dr. Sharon Ryan Convenes Top Early Childhood Experts at AERA Research Conference

Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) faculty organized and led the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference “Advancing Knowledge and Building Capacity for Early Childhood Research: Creating Synergies Among Segregated Scholarly Communities” in Washington, D.C. this July.

Dr. Sharon Ryan, Professor at the GSE, co-chaired the conference with Beth Graue, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Felice Levine, AERA executive director; and Kathy Nakagawa, Arizona State University and vice president of AERA Division E.

The conference gathered leading researchers from various scholarly communities that address early childhood issues with the aim of examining the state of early childhood research, identifying critical issues requiring research attention, and discussing approaches to innovative collaborations.

The GSE is a leader in early childhood research. In addition to Dr. Sharon Ryan, Dr. W. Steven Barnett and Dr. Stephanie M. Curenton of the GSE’s National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)were among conference participants.

“Policymakers are investing significant funds into programs for young children with the aim of leveling the playing field and making sure all children succeed academically,” noted Dr. Ryan. “However, too often policy researchers and researchers focused on practice have not worked together.”

The conference led to the identification of new interdisciplinary lines of research required by the field and recommendations for preparing a diverse cadre of researchers able to carry out the research.


AERA will hold a symposium on the topic during their Annual Meeting in April 2016. Click hereto learn about the GSE’s participation in previous AERA Annual Meetings.