Thomas W. Brock joined the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in January 2013 as the Commissioner of the National Center for Education Research (NCER). On January 3, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. delegated the duties of IES director to Dr. Brock, effective January 14, 2017. Over his career, Dr. Brock has gained a national reputation in education research for conducting rigorous evaluations using mixed methods to understand and inform efforts to improve education and employment outcomes for low-income youth and adults.
In his four years as NCER Commissioner, Dr. Brock has deepened IES' commitment to supporting rigorous, relevant research and providing training and learning opportunities to strengthen the education sciences field. He has overseen the expansion of partnerships between researchers and practitioners and policymakers to help ensure that education research is addressing the most pressing challenges in the field. This has included the awarding of low-cost short-duration evaluation grants to states and schools districts, and funding to build and grow researcher-practitioners partnerships. He also worked with NCER staff to launch new research networks on the transition from preschool to elementary school, and on college completion.
Prior to being named NCER commissioner, Dr. Brock spent 13 years with MDRC, an education and social policy research organization. Among the positions he held at MDRC, Dr. Brock led the Young Adults and Postsecondary Education Division, overseeing projects focused on finding ways to increase academic achievement, persistence, and completion among low-income college students. As part of the IES-funded National Center for Postsecondary Research, Dr. Brock also oversaw evaluations of learning communities and summer enrichment programs for postsecondary students in need of developmental education. Dr. Brock also worked as evaluation officer for the Wallace Foundation (a philanthropic organization) and has written or co-authored numerous publications on postsecondary education and welfare reform.
Dr. 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.