SREE, in collaboration with Grantmakers for Education’s Data Impact Group, is pleased to introduce the SREE Summer Fellows Program. The purpose of this program is to connect educational researchers with philanthropic organizations seeking research information without having the time or expertise to access it, and in doing so advance the use of high-quality education research.

Program Overview

SREE Summer Fellows will be tasked with conducting a literature review on a selected topic and creating a 1-2 page brief in plain language on that topic that can be used by foundations, practitioners, and other users in the community, as well as a more technical review for other researchers. The Grantmakers for Education’s Data Impact Group has identified 4 broad topics of interest outlined below. As part of the application, the Fellow should propose an aspect of the topic on which to focus his/her summer literature review. The Fellow will work virtually and under the supervision of his/her graduate student advisor.

Fellows will commit to:

The Fellow’s graduate advisor must commit to:

In return, Fellows will receive:

The advisor will receive a $2000 honorarium at the end of the project.

One Fellow will be selected during this application round. SREE and GFE expect to announce a second SREE Summer Fellowship opportunity on May 1, with a different research focus.

How to Apply
The fellowship is open to current 2019 SREE student members.* To apply, submit 1) your CV; 2) writing sample; 3) one page statement indicating the topic (from the options below) on which you would like to work, how you would approach working on your selected topic, how you would refine the research questions and scope, your relevant experience, and why you would like to be a Fellow; and 4) a brief statement, signed by your faculty advisor, indicating his/her willingness to serve as your advisor on this project during the summer. Please note that this is not a letter of recommendation, but rather a letter of intent to serve as your advisor on the project. Send all materials to

Applications for the initial fellowship are due April 21 at 11:59 PM PDT.  

Interviews for semi-finalists will take place April 29-May 2, 2019.


2019 Summer Fellow Topics

Competency-based Learning
There has been a growing interest from schools, districts and higher education institutions in moving toward more personalized and competency (or mastery) based learning. Competency-based learning prioritizes: students advancing on mastery of content, not seat time; explicit, measurable, and transferable learning objectives; flexible and meaningful types of assessment; and student ownership of learning. How does a foundation know which practices are most effective for supporting student achievement and overall student success? What’s known about the effectiveness of early adopters of competency-based education (e.g., Southern New Hampshire University)? How might a foundation contribute to growing the evidence base around districts and/or higher education institutions making a systemic shift toward personalized competency-based learning as described above?

Cross-agency Data Collaboration
As state and local governments grapple with smaller budgets, policymakers have increasingly relied on return-on-investment determinations to guide their decision making. All too often, however, state and other agencies focus their research solely on data available within a single agency, despite the important benefits that programs housed in a different agency may contribute to their mission (i.e., education benefits to single parents receiving TANF benefits or reduction in recidivism rate among incarcerated youth). How has cross-agency collaboration changed over the past 10-15 years, and what impact has increased cross-agency data sharing had on education outcomes for specific subpopulations?

Education Policy Advocacy
Education foundations often support advocacy organizations that aim to inform and/or influence decision-makers at various levels of government (e.g., federal, state, governing boards). These advocates pursue many different tactics: hosting convenings, writing op-eds, organizing congressional testimony, writing letters, producing policy analysis, and more. How does a Foundation know that it’s selected the most effective advocacy organization? What does the existing literature tell us about the most effective tactics for achieving policy wins? How might a Foundation support evidence-building to add to the existing body of knowledge?

Quality Postsecondary Credentials
We are proposing a landscape review of approaches made by field practitioners (i.e., geographic-specific: grantmakers, research centers, chamber of commerce, institutions of higher education) to define and rate the quality of postsecondary credentials. This research body of work will synthesize definitions, trends, best practices and lessons learned in outlining quality of credentialing and licensing, particularly as it pertains to career and technical education, with an eye to equipping the most vulnerable, non-traditional learner who aspires toward self-sufficiency. Stackability of credentials within the region’s ecosystem is a key component for supporting these students. What are the variety of ways practitioners define quality certification/credentials? Where are there similarities and differences between definitions? And how does this fare with the outcome of pathways (and futures) rendered by the certificate/licensed student? How might education foundations take the research findings into consideration when constructing their own strategy in investing in career credentialing and pathways?

Expected Outcomes
SREE and GFE intend for the Fellows program to have several meaningful outcomes. It will make research findings more accessible to users, will help find gaps and needs in educational research that funders need, will provide a valuable opportunity for SREE student members to use their training, and will allow those just starting in the field to make important connections that will help them in their career. The briefs will be jointly housed on SREE’s website as well as on the GFE website to reach divergent audiences.


The Data Impact Group:
The Grantmakers for Education (GFE) Data Impact Group’s mission is to increase the power of data by enabling organizations to collect, interpret, value and act on educational data from cradle to career. GFE impact groups are organized to achieve measurable impacts and provide value to the broader GFE community. This partnership with SREE is one way the Group seeks to support other GFE members. Current Group members include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Helios Education Foundation, KnowledgeWorks, The Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Trellis Foundation. To learn more or to join the Data Impact Group, please find more information here.

* If the membership fee poses a financial hardship, please contact Ellen Weiss at

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