UIC learning scientist elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Susan Goldman
Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the UIC Learning Sciences Research Institute and distinguished professor of liberal arts and sciences, psychology and education. Photo: Jenny Fontaine

University of Illinois at Chicago learning scientist Susan R. Goldman has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and research centers.

Goldman, co-director of the UIC Learning Sciences Research Institute and distinguished professor of liberal arts and sciences, psychology and education, is one of more than 200 new members to join the group that includes world leaders in academia, business, government and public affairs.

Goldman, who was recognized for more than three decades of influential research on subject matter learning, instruction, assessment, and roles for technology, particularly in literacy and mathematics, is joined in the academy’s 2019 new member cohort by accomplished individuals from various disciplines, including former First Lady Michelle Obama, author Jonathan Franzen, poet and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander, and Purdue University president and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Her work has focused on helping educators and education researchers understand the learning process and the creation of curriculum, teaching and technological innovations that foster improved learning for children and adults.

From algebra to literacy, Goldman’s research seeks to build high-quality strategies that prepare students to meet challenges in college, the workplace and life. Much of her work also centers on creating professional development resources for teachers.

“My work has benefited enormously from the many collaborations I’ve been part of,” Goldman said. “These have involved university-based researchers and students in multiple disciplines, educational practitioners and their students. These have been richly rewarding learning experiences for me.”

Funded by a $2.5 million grant by the James S. McDonnell Foundation, she is principal investigator for a current project that focuses on instruction and classroom discussion that promotes critical inquiry, deep reading and reasoning on the part of students in science, mathematics and literature/literary reading.

As a research and development partner in a $10 million math literacy project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Goldman co-led a team of UIC experts that collaborated on the redesign and testing of the Connected Mathematics Project, a widely used middle school mathematics curriculum.

Backed by a $19.2 million Department of Education grant, she led a multi-institution research team in the design, development and implementation of the Project READI instructional approach to reading for understanding in science, history and literature. The work impacted students in middle school and high school, as well as their teachers.

In 2001, Goldman came from Vanderbilt University to UIC, where she later co-founded the Learning Sciences Research Institute, an interdisciplinary center that seeks to identify and find solutions for critical challenges in education, literacy, mathematics, science and the social sciences.

She is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association. She was honored for her outstanding research with the Society for Text and Discourse’s 2017 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.

Goldman will be inducted with the new class during a ceremony in October 2019 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Founded by John Adams, John Hancock, James Bowdoin and others in 1780, the academy is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing the nation and the world.

Earlier notable inductees include Benjamin Franklin (elected 1781) and Alexander Hamilton (1791) in the 18th century; Ralph Waldo Emerson (1864), Maria Mitchell (1848) and Charles Darwin (1874) in the 19th century; Albert Einstein (1924), Robert Frost (1931), Margaret Mead (1948), Milton Friedman (1959) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1966) in the 20th century; and more recently, Antonin Scalia (2003), Michael Bloomberg (2007), John Lithgow (2010), Judy Woodruff (2012) and Bryan Stevenson (2014).