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PROVIDENCE – To honor retiring Brown University President Ruth J. Simmons, the Board of Overseers of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University (AISR) announced the establishment of the “Ruth J. Simmons Scholarship in Urban Education Policy” at its recent annual meeting. 

“Through President Simmons’s inspiration and enlightened leadership…and by her active participation in the Institute’s work, she affirmed Brown’s commitment to improving public education and translating educational research into effective practice,” notes the board’s resolution originating the scholarship.  Furthermore, it notes that it will be awarded to a graduate student “who demonstrates the potential to personify President Simmons’s…abiding commitment to educational equity and social justice.“

The permanent scholarship will be awarded annually to a Brown University graduate student in the Education Department’s Master's in Urban Education Policy (UEP) program.  President Simmons, who served as chair of AISR’s Board of Overseers since her installation as university president in 2001, urged AISR and the university’s Education Department to collaborate on a graduate program in the study of urban public education.  The UEP program launched in the summer of 2006 and has since conferred degrees on 75 graduates.

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Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) Board of Overseers and senior staff gathered following the unanimous resolution to establish the Ruth J. Simmons Scholarship in Urban Education Policy (UEP).

The tightly focused, 12-month academic curriculum, integrated with a nine-month internship, is designed to impart a set of core skills and competencies necessary for successful careers in urban education policy. The UEP program also provides a solid foundation for those anticipating advanced study in areas related to urban education policy.

“President Simmons has exemplified a steadfast pledge to create better futures for public school students in our most underserved communities,” said Warren Simmons, executive director of the Annenberg Institute.  “Her vision and guidance have motivated us to strive for the transformation of traditional school districts into ‘smart education systems’ that develop and integrate high-quality learning opportunities in all areas of students’ lives.  We honor her for her remarkable contribution and impact on the next generation of education reformers.”

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University is a national education policy research and reform support organization that focuses on improving conditions and outcomes for all students in urban K-12 public schools, especially those attended by traditionally underserved children.  Founded in 1993 with support from the Annenberg Foundation, AISR’s participation in the UEP program, from contributing to curriculum development to teaching to intern placement, gives UEP graduate students a unique opportunity to connect to the world of “practice” as they develop core skills via academic course work.

“As a key initiative under President Simmons’s Plan for Academic Enrichment, the UEP program has established its prominence both on campus and in the larger education reform community,” said Brown Education Department Chair Kenneth K. Wong, founding director of the UEP program, and the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor in Urban Education Policy, a chair endowed by AISR in 2005.  “Graduates of the program are now leading urban school initiatives around the country.  We have created a unique national network of change agents and policy analysts.  The Ruth J. Simmons Scholarship will ensure a lasting legacy of President Simmons’s vision in education reform.”