The Board and staff of the Spencer Foundation are pleased to announce the appointment of Diana E. Hess as Senior Vice President. Dr. Hess is currently Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests include Curriculum and Instruction in Social Studies, Education Policy, and Law.

In her new role, Hess will serve as a partner to Foundation President Michael McPherson in shaping Spencer's strategic directions, in guiding the organization's and the staff's work, and in representing the Foundation in its interactions with its partners, clients, and friends. "We are thrilled that Diana will be joining us," says McPherson. "She brings many exceptional qualities to Spencer. Of particular importance given our future directions are her open-minded, searching and rigorous approach to inquiry on educational problems and her passionate commitment to working to see to it that research matters for making education better."

Throughout its 40 year history the Spencer Foundation has been dedicated to the encouragement and support of high-quality and independent critical inquiry into educational issues and ideas. Recently it has also given focused attention to building deeper and more constructive relationships among the research community, communities of policy and practice, and the broader public. Along with her important work in helping to shape Spencer's research agenda, we expect that Professor Hess, as a scholar whose work grows directly out of rich practical experience, will play a central role in shaping and facilitating the Foundation's work in strengthening these efforts at communications and networking. “This is a wonderful opportunity to work on important challenges facing education that have long been of interest to me,” says Hess. “In particular, I look forward to working with my new colleagues and the research community on how to ensure that the important work of educational researchers is central to the practice of teachers and has a greater impact on their students.”

In her role at Spencer, Professor Hess will also continue to focus on her research about the nature and impact of deliberations of controversial political and legal issues in secondary school classes. She will remain an active participant in scholarly and practice communities, particularly in civic/democratic education and social studies.

According to Harry Brighouse, Senior Advisor to the Spencer Foundation and Hess' colleague at the University of Wisconsin, "Diana is a first rate leader who has earned tremendous respect from her fellow academics and who fosters excellence in the people she works with and who work for her. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone as skilled as she is in facilitating fruitful dialogue among people with widely differing views, and also from very different disciplinary standpoints. Her knowledge of not only her own field but also others is palpable to anyone who knows her, as is her intellectual generosity."

Please join us in congratulating Professor Hess as we prepare for her arrival at the Foundation in the Fall of 2011.