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Education Policy Fellowship Program

The Role of Data and Research

in Influencing Policy

November 6, 2017
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Kellogg Center, MSU


This Seminar will focus on the increasing role that data plays in the policymaking process. We will learn about the MDE’s Top 10 in Ten Years initiative and the state’s ESSA plan. In particular, we will hear about the role that data will play in making state policy decisions around this initiative. We will also examine the role and research agenda of Michigan State University’s Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) and the strategic partnerships that have been established with the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Education in support of this effort. The Fellows will discuss the types of data and research that EPIC and the Education Policy Center at MSU are working on and how you see this effort impacting Michigan’s policymaking process. During the second part of the session, we will begin to explore EPFP Learning Teams and the intended outcomes of these sessions.

Resource Person:

Katharine O. Strunk, Ph.D.
Professor and Erickson Distinguished Chair
Department of Educational Administration
Michigan State University

Katharine O. Strunk is a professor of education policy and the Clifford E. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Education. She is also co-director of the Michigan State University Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) and an associate editor of the journal Education Finance and Policy. Strunk’s research is focused on three areas under the broad umbrella of K-12 education governance: teachers’ unions and the collective bargaining agreements they negotiate with school districts, teacher evaluation and compensation, and accountability policies. Rooted in the fields of economics and public policy, Strunk’s work centers on structures that are central to district operations and policy and the ways these structures affect policymakers’ decisions and outcomes. Her recent work includes studying teacher labor market responses to policy reforms in Michigan, teacher and school accountability and support policies in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and portfolio management reforms in LA, Denver and New Orleans. Follow her @KatharineStrunk

Venessa Keesler, Ph.D.
Deputy Superintendent, Educator, Student, and School Supports
Michigan Department of Education

Venessa A. Keesler, Ph.D. is the Deputy Superintendent, Division of Educator, Student, and School Supports at the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). This Division includes offices and programs that oversee state content standards and assessment, school improvement and innovation, budget operations, state and federal programs, systems integration, professional preparation services (teacher certification), educator talent, and services for the state’s lowest performing schools. Venessa previously served as Director of the Office of Evaluation, Strategic Research, and Accountability at the MDE and as a classroom teacher in Massachusetts, teaching seventh-grade social studies. Venessa holds a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in measurement and quantitative methods from Michigan State University.

Resource Materials