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Toward a Vibrant Research Community in Education: Investing in Early-Career Scholars


by Lauren Jones Young — 2008

Background/Context: In 1994, the Spencer Foundation embarked on an ambitious experimental initiative to support the preparation of education researchers. Over the 13-year span of the Research Training Grant (RTG) program, the foundation made multiyear awards to more than a dozen leading institutions in the United States and South Africa. This article introduces the RTG program—its history, goals, and practices—as a context for the four case studies of program implementation that follow.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This article traces the development of the RTG program, situating it in the longstanding commitment of the Spencer Foundation to promote high-quality education research and describing the purposes and practices of the program. The primary strategy of the initiative was to provide block grants to institutions to support individual students engaged in full-time doctoral study focused on research preparation. The recipient institutions were expected to develop research training activities and models that might be institutionalized to benefit all doctoral students they served, and not just those supported directly by RTG funds. The purpose of this article is to provide a sense of the history, conversations, and contexts of the Spencer Foundation’s investments in this strategy to strengthen the educational research community through the preparation of future scholars.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 110 Number 7, 2008, p. 1360-1378
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14944, Date Accessed: 10/24/2017 2:00:07 AM

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About the Author
  • Lauren Young
    Spencer Foundation
    E-mail Author
    LAUREN JONES YOUNG is director of the Spencer Foundation's program on Teaching, Learning, and Instructional Resources. Prior to her appointment at Spencer, Young was associate professor of teacher education and educational administration at Michigan State University, where she also was a senior researcher with the National Center for Research on Teacher Education/Teacher Learning. In addition to two edited books, she has published in major education journals on relationships among school, family, and community, and on issues of race, social class, and social justice in teacher preparation and teaching practices.
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