At the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), we advance knowledge through rigorous research that improves policy and practice. Committed to the ideals of equity and justice, our research is relevant, timely, and contributes to the goal of social progress through education.

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GSEHD faculty and researchers address the real-world challenges in education through their work. Sample research projects include:

Educational Equity and School Improvement Research Interest Group (RIG)

This cross-disciplinary group of faculty is committed to cutting-edge research and innovation to tackle the complex challenges inherent in school improvement efforts in the U.S. Balancing rigorous education research with policy and practice expertise, as well as an intense commitment to participatory approaches, this team of faculty works in close partnership with communities and schools to examine and address effectively a wide variety of critical education issues. The work is grounded in an overarching focus on equity in education, an endeavor that requires a fundamental focus on school improvement. The cross-disciplinary group of faculty recognizes the urgent need to address these issues from a variety of disciplinary lenses, and uses research, policy and practice expertise in collaboration with educational partners to leverage local community strengths, address problems of local practice to create new knowledge for the field. The improvement sciences inform this work, and the expertise of the local education community is central to defining, wrestling with and iteratively tackling these problems of practice.

Researchers look to link educators, professionals, community leaders, families and youth to processes and resources to address issues of equity in educational policy, process, and outcomes. The RIG addresses a diverse range of research areas related to school improvement with particular focus on: equity factors, academic achievement, educational wellbeing, school performance, and graduation rates within economically disadvantaged communities and communities predominantly of color. The RIG aims to advance improvements in educational wellness and success through its commitments to improved student wellbeing and outcomes, teacher wellbeing, and institutional wellness.

The Educational Equity and School Improvement (EESI) Research Interest Group, organized in 2017, is quickly growing in interest amongst the Graduate School of Education and Human Development research faculty, the university and throughout the education community. Under the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Tuckwiller and Dr. Rebecca Thessin, EESI offers research, policy, resources, translation, and capacity building to improve educational outcomes. The group collaborates with coalitions of teachers, support staff, principals, superintendents, state education agencies, and community agencies to help them determine how to best support positive educational outcomes for students, iterative and relentless improvement, and equitable opportunities to learn for all students.

Unlocking Futures: An Online Master’s Program in Secondary Transition Services For Students with High Needs Disabilities

Special education is a field that is significantly threatened by teacher shortages, according to the Teacher Shortage Area Nationwide Listing from the federal government. To address this shortage, Dr. Carol Kochhar-Bryant is leading the launch of a new online master’s program that will train teachers working with high-needs disabled students to transition into adulthood-- a program started with support from a $1.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Students with acute brain injury and autism have been identified as high-need target populations by the U.S. Department of Education and most state education agencies. This program is one of a few in the United States and is the first to combine transition services with a focus on acute brain injury and autism. The degree will prepare educators to align the secondary general education curriculum with community-based learning and transition services and to promote the success of all students by nurturing and sustaining school cultures and instructional programs.

Structural and Behavioral Barriers to Student Success

In 2013, the George Washington University released six papers to increase the understanding of how student behaviors and decisions can affect educational success. Written by an interdisciplinary group of researchers from around the country, including the George Washington University, the papers examine the impacts of students’ responses to the financial aid system, to information about college and to classroom and institutional processes. The project was commissioned by GSEHD and supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education (CRCRE)

The GW Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education (CRCRE) aims to enhance research, as well as to provide opportunities for growth and development to a diverse population including persons with disabilities. Currently, the CRCRE is part of two US Department of Education funded National Technical Assistance Centers (the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center and the VR Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities). GW CRCRE is also a partner with the University of Richmond/Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) on a research project examining VR Return on Investment. The Center is also partnering on a demonstration project with Virginia DARS as part of their Career Pathways Grant. The CRCRE has also provided training and technical assistance through contracts with State VR agencies in MD, VA and DC.

The Collaboratory: A Center for Jewish Education

The Collaboratory: A Center for Jewish Education at GW will enhance an already robust network of partnerships and assets to further advance the field of Jewish education and address modern challenges faced by the global Jewish community. The Collaboratory is comprised of three key branches: The Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE) for research, the graduate programs in Israel Education and Experiential Jewish Education for academics, and the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership for public engagement.

Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE)

CASJE (Collaborative for Applied Studies in Jewish Education) is an alliance of researchers, practitioners, and philanthropic leaders dedicated to improving the quality of knowledge that can be used to guide the work of Jewish education. CASJE works with partners who see the value of research-informed evidence to address pressing challenges in Jewish communal life. Founded at Stanford University, CASJE’s programmatic home has been in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University since 2016. CASJE’s work is guided by an Advisory Board that includes Jewish educational leaders with a deep understanding of the diverse arenas in which Jewish education happens today and scholars of education from Boston College, Brandeis University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and Vanderbilt University.

CASJE's core operations are supported by generous grants from the Jim Joseph Foundation and Crown Family Philanthropies.

The Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership

The Mayberg Center was created to advance community-based scholarship in the field of Jewish education and leadership, particularly in the arenas of pedagogy, identity, and literacy. The Center will convene academics and practitioners in critical conversations about the Jewish future, catalyze research and provide graduate level training for Jewish educators and certificate program opportunities for professionals working in Jewish non-profits.

Working Papers

The GSEHD Working Paper series provides an outlet for sharing high-quality research manuscripts written by GSEHD faculty and doctoral students.


SO YOU SAY OUR WORK IS ESSENTIAL: Essential Workers and the Potential for Transformational Learning and Change in the Wake of COVID 19 Social and Economic Disruption, by Ellen Scully-Russ, Maria Cseh, Lily Hakimi, Jerry Phillips, Henriette Lundgren, and DJ Ralston


Re-Imagining Higher Education Worldwide After COVID-19, a GW University Seminar Fund report by Kyle Long, Bernhard Streitwieser, and Ashley Fisher


Let's Stop Calling It "Hebrew School" - Rationales, Goals, and Practices of Hebrew Education in Part-Time Jewish Schools, a GSEHD collaboration with the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE)


On the Journey: Concepts That Support a Study of the Professional Trajectories of Jewish Educators, a GSEHD collaboration with the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE)


Reorienting the Roles of District Leaders: How Do Principal Supervisors Coach Principals to Lead Improvement? by Rebecca Thessin, Tamilah Richardson, and Coleen Reyes

DCPS Goes Global:Research on the District of Columbia Public Schools Study Abroad Program, 2017 Cohort by Laura Engel, Heidi Gibson, Clark Boothby, and Jessica Fundalinski


Four Point Leadership: The Necessary Bridge Between Policy and Educational Equity by Scott Joftus

Going Global: Impacts of 2016 District of Columbia Public Schools Study Abroad Program by Laura Engel, Jessica Fundalinski, and Heidi Gibson


Higher Education's Response to the European Refugee Crisis: Challenges, Strategies, and Opportunities by Bernhard Streitwieser, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, and Hans de Wit

The Tennessee Achievement School District: Race, History, and the Dilemma of Public Engagement by Joshua Glazer and Cori Egan

Research in the News