Three faculty members at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have been elected to the American Educational Research Association (AERA) for the 2008 term. Lorraine M. McDonnell, professor of political science, was voted president-elect, and Cynthia Hudley, professor of education, and Richard Mayer, professor of psychology and education, were elected divisional vice presidents.
"I am especially honored to have been voted AERA president-elect because it is the first time the members have selected someone from outside a school or department of education," said McDonnell. "It signals that AERA is an intellectually diverse organization open to a variety of theories and methods for understanding schooling and its impact on society."
Founded in 1916 and based in Washington, D.C., AERA has over 25,000 members and is the largest academic professional society in the world. The organization seeks to advance knowledge about education, encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and to promote the use of research to improve education. As the national interdisciplinary research society in education, AERA publishes six peer-reviewed journals and research and methodology books central to the field.
"Leading this prominent international organization is a testament to Professor McDonnell's lifetime work in the politics of educational policy and her leadership in both the academy and the profession at large," said Melvin Oliver, dean of social sciences at UCSB.
McDonnell holds three degrees in political science, including a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and master's and doctorate degrees from Stanford University. Before joining the faculty at UCSB, she served as a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation where she led research projects on the implementation of state and federal education policies, the political role of teacher unions, and the design of educational accountability systems.
McDonnell, who was appointed a national associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003, is a member of the Advisory Committee for the National Research Council's Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. She was a member of the NRC's Board on Testing and Assessment for seven years, and has served as a member of six NRC committees related to education, including those addressing testing, students with disabilities, and adult literacy. She also served as co-chair of the NRC committee on the redesign of the United States naturalization test.