December 10-11, 2015 Washington, DC
Starting at 8:45am EST Washington Hilton Hotel

Commissioners' Welcome


Thomas Brock




Tom joined IES in 2013 as the Commissioner for NCER. Prior to joining IES, Tom served as director of the Young Adults and Postsecondary Education Division at MDRC. He led MDRC's higher education projects, which focused primarily on finding ways to increase academic achievement, persistence, and completion among low-income college students. Moreover, under the auspices of the IES-funded National Center for Postsecondary Research, Tom oversaw evaluations of learning communities and summer enrichment programs for students in need of developmental education. Tom 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, Tom 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. Tom 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.

Related Sessions

  • Thursday, December 10, 2015 10:00 AM International Ballroom Center
    Meeting with NCER Grantees

Thomas Brock


Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the 2015 Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Principal Investigators Meeting! This year’s theme, Collaborations to Bridge High-Quality Education Research and Practice, reflects the importance of bringing together people with diverse interests and perspectives to design and execute high-quality, scientific research that leads to improved student outcomes. Our Co-Chairs for the meeting – Jorge Gonzalez from the University of Houston, Patricia Snyder from the University of Florida, and Kara Carpenter from Teachley, LLC – are Principal Investigators (PIs) on projects supported by the National Center for Education Research (NCER),the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER), and the IES Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, respectively. They have done an excellent job in helping to select the theme, plan sessions, and identify speakers.

The overall purpose of this meeting is to strengthen our collective work by fostering discussion and renewing or building connections among the nearly 800 PIs and training fellows currently supported by IES. The specific objectives of this meeting are to:

  • Discuss IES and the U.S. Department of Education priorities and programs;
  • Address challenges and solutions in the field of education research and practice;
  • Spotlight new research findings and methodological approaches from IES-funded projects;
  • Offer professional development on a range of substantive and methodological topics;
  • Provide time for PIs to meet with their NCER and NCSER program officers and other researchers working on similar problems or issues; and
  • Foster connections between IES fellows and others who may be seeking new research or career opportunities, and individuals who want to build new partnerships or fill open positions.

We have received feedback from a number of grantees on the PI Meeting over the last few years, which we have taken into consideration as we developed this year’s agenda. Most important, the meeting will extend over two days to provide sufficient time for presentations, interaction, and discussion. There will be panel sessions focused on research findings, roundtables on critical education topics, IES technical assistance sessions, poster sessions, and time for program officer and networking meetings. The logistics contractor for this meeting, Manhattan Strategy Group, has developed this website to include links to presentation materials (slides, handouts, etc.) and other resources. There are also instructions for downloading a mobile app for use during the meeting.

We are looking forward to a great meeting. See you in December!

Best wishes,

Thomas Brock, Commissioner & Joan McLaughlin, Commissioner