IES Director John Q. Easton announced that Thomas W. Brock, nationally known for conducting rigorous evaluations and using mixed methods to understand community college reforms and other programs, has been named Commissioner of the National Center for Education Research, effective January 14, 2013.
"I am pleased to have Tom join the IES senior leadership team as the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Research," Easton said. "His breadth of research knowledge and experience in the postsecondary realm will serve IES well as we continue to advance and support top-notch research aimed at finding solutions to important education problems. The other Center commissioners and I look forward to working closely with Tom."
From 2004 until being named NCER Commissioner, Brock served as director of the Young Adults and Postsecondary Education Division at MDRC, leading MDRC's higher education projects focused primarily on finding ways to increase academic achievement, persistence, and completion among low-income college students. Some of these projects included Opening Doors, an evaluation of instructional reforms, enhanced student services, and scholarship programs at community colleges; Achieving the Dream, a national initiative to help community colleges make better use of data to improve instruction and services; and Completion by Design, an initiative to increase community college graduation rates by creating greater structure and support for students.
Also, under the auspices of the IES-funded National Center for Postsecondary Research, Brock oversaw evaluations of learning communities and summer enrichment programs for students in need of developmental education. Brock also served in various other capacities at MDRC—including research associate, management associate, special assistant for operations and development, and senior research associate—leading and directing implementation research on welfare reform and anti-poverty programs. Before joining MDRC, Brock served as an evaluation officer at the Wallace Foundation, where he managed a portfolio of research and evaluation grants in education, youth services, and the arts, in addition to developing survey instruments and research protocols. Brock has written or co-authored numerous journal articles and publications on postsecondary education.
Brock holds a B.A. in anthropology from Pitzer College, a master's degree in public administration from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The National Center for Education Research (NCER), one of the four centers within the Institute of Education Sciences, supports rigorous research that contributes to the solution of significant education problems in our country.
Through its research programs and the national research and development centers, NCER supports research activities to improve the quality of education and thereby, increase student academic achievement, reduce the achievement gap between high-performing and low-performing students, and increase access to and completion of postsecondary education. NCER also funds predoctoral and postdoctoral research training programs to invest in the training and development of the next generation of education researchers.
NCER research programs are designed to produce research that is scientifically rigorous and relevant to the needs of education practitioners and decisionmakers. NCER research programs address education programs, practices, and policies in reading and writing, mathematics and science education, teacher quality, education leadership, education policy and finance, cognition and student learning, high school reform, and postsecondary education. Within these programs of research, investigators are identifying existing education programs, practices, and policies that may impact student outcomes; developing new education interventions (e.g., curricula, teacher professional development programs); evaluating the efficacy of fully developed programs or practices; evaluating the effectiveness of specific interventions taken to scale; and developing and validating assessments. Through these activities, NCER is advancing understanding of teaching, learning, and education systems in order to improve the quality of education for all students.