Centers & Institutes

Centers & Institutes for Research and Service

Through its centers and institutes, the GSE advances research and informs best practices in education. The impact of our work is significant, from better learning in our local communities to research-based educational policymaking on national and global levels.

Center for Literacy Development

The Center for Literacy Development is committed to improving literacy support systems and providing a professional learning network of literacy leaders and teachers. The center’s network membership services include professional development to improve teacher quality and school leadership, with conferencers, literacy coaching in schools, and the Rutgers Reading Club, an After School Intervention Program. The Center includes the National Writing Project.

The National Writing Project (NWP) is a professional development network that serves teachers of writing at all grade levels and subjects. Its mission is to improve student achievement by improving the teaching of writing and improving learning in the nation’s schools. The NWP at Rutgers collaborates with schools to develop multiyear partnerships and to design a sequence of support services meeting the individual needs of partner districts.

The Director of the Center for Literacy Development is Lesley Mandel Morrow, Ph.D.

National Institute for Early Education Research

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) is dedicated to improving early childhood education and care for all children through research. The project is headed by Dr. W. Steven Barnett and counts many distinguished GSE faculty members as participants.

Proof Comprehension Research Group

The Proof Comprehension Research Group is a collective of academics whose research focuses on the reading and presentation of mathematical proofs, as performed by university students and mathematicians. Their research interests include assessing the reading comprehension of mathematical proofs, comparing the ways in which expert and novices read proofs, and evaluating the extent to which certain variations in the presentation of proofs (e.g. type of content, medium, organization of information) affect comprehension. The group is led by Professors Keith Weber and Juan Pablo Mejía Ramos.

Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning

The Robert B. Davis Institute for Learning has worked with a variety of partners over extended periods of time to create conditions for learning environments that optimize students’ understanding of the mathematics they are learning.  Carolyn A. Maher, Distinguished Professor of mathematics education and the Director of the Institute, working with small staff and a growing network of Research Associates, has been national leader in the field.  Maher’s team has established a successful track record in conducting collaborative research and teacher development projects, increasing knowledge in the field and bringing it into the classroom.  At the heart of the Davis Institute approach is the idea that a focus on deep understanding in mathematical problem solving is the key to increasing mathematics achievement.  Research has shown that children have powerful mathematical ideas and ways of reasoning that develop over time.  The Davis Institute’s unique video collection includes over 4,500 hours of longitudinal and cross-sectional video data on children’s learning and reasoning. This video collection is unique and can serve as an important tool for teacher learning.

Rutgers Initiative for Education & Justice

Rutgers Initiative for Education & Justice is a consortium of scholars, practitioners, and community members who work at the intersection of public education and criminal justice. We seek to address a crisis in American public institutions, in which it has become all too easy for youth to slip from k-12 schooling into the criminal justice system, and all too difficult for them to escape its life-long consequences. Through research, programming, and advocacy, we seek pathways for at-risk and formerly incarcerated youth to reengage in high school, college, and beyond. We believe that every person, without exception, is entitled to an education that prepares him or her to develop as a whole civic person who can act with autonomy, deliberation, and empathy. We also believe that all citizens benefit individually and collectively from a just and fair society. To meet these goals, we believe that public education and justice institutions must work effectively together.

Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions

The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged.

Rutgers Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, & Justice

Samuel Dewitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, & Justice is a national center under the direction of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair in Education and Distinguished Professor, Marybeth Gasman and will focus on issues of leadership, equity, and justice within the context of higher education. The Institute will bring together researchers, practitioners, and community members to work toward the common goals of diversifying leadership, enhancing equity, and fostering justice for all. The Proctor Institute is named in honor of the late Samuel DeWitt Proctor, the first African American faculty member at the Graduate School of Education and the first to have an endowed professorship named after him.

Center for Effective School Practices

The Center for Effective School Practices (CESP) is an equity-focused unit of the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University dedicated to excellence and integrity in research and evaluation. Rutgers CESP regularly engages in and mediates collaborations among public and private school districts in the tri-state area, institutions of higher education, local, state, and federal government agencies, community organizations, and industry partners to generate and implement practitioner-relevant best-practices in education.

CESP is strongly committed to connecting a broad range of education stakeholders with the best available research evidence to inform sound education policy and practice decisions needed to support the delivery of quality education to all students while closing persistent achievement gaps. To this end, CESP supports active collaborative structures such as professional learning communities and researcher-practitioner partnerships, in addition to translating and disseminating evidence-based guidelines and delivering professional development opportunities. CESP is supported by a robust team of experienced researchers and evaluators with a strong commitment to building the capacity of educators and policymakers to develop and deliver high-quality evidence-based instruction, curriculum, programs, and policy initiatives with significant potential to improve learning for all students while directly addressing existing inequities and systemic bias in education.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and State and Federal Departments of Education, CESP develops and executes innovative and impactful projects on educational initiatives in addition to serving as internal and external evaluators on large-scale research projects. A current focus of CESP’s work is on scalable mechanisms for improving equity and access to robust computer science education across the K-12 continuum. We work to build the capacity of educators through sustained, inquiry-driven computer science professional learning at the high school level and are implementing and assessing a technical assistance framework for the middle school level, as well as exploring the added-benefit of teacher participation in the research-practice partnership collaborative structure. We are also working as evaluators on a number of pre- and post-doctoral training initiatives and working as research partners on an exploration of the use of research-evidence in policy ecosystems.

For more information, please contact Cindy Blitz, Ph.D., the Executive Director of Rutgers CESP and Research Professor at the Graduate School of Education, by phone at (732) 564-9100 x21 or by email at

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