Columbia's Claude Steele Named Dean of Stanford's School of Education

Steele was a member of the Stanford faculty from 1991 to 2009, when he assumed the position as chief academic officer at Columbia.

Claude Steele (Google)

Bloomberg is reporting that Claude Steele, Columbia University's provost, is returning to Stanford University as dean of the School of Education. Steele, 65, is a psychologist and spent 18 years at Stanford, where he was director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, before leaving for Columbia.

Oliver Staley reports that the Stanford position is a chance for Steele to help shape education policy “at this critical time in our nation’s history,” Steele said in the email. “It is an important time to be rejoining that vital mission,” Steele said. “Nothing less than this rare opportunity to do so at such a strong school of education could have lured me away from my current position at Columbia.”

According to Stanford News, Stanford Provost John Etchemendy, who served as co-chair of the search committee, praised Steele's academic and administrative credentials. "Claude was the enthusiastic recommendation of the Search Committee. He brings to the position an extraordinary combination of academic excellence and administrative experience," Etchemendy said. "We are confident that under Claude's leadership, our already wonderful School of Education will achieve new levels of excellence."

"Claude Steele is an outstanding choice as the next dean for the School of Education. He is among the most distinguished social scientists of his generation," said professor Eamonn Callan, co-chair of the search committee and associate dean of student affairs in the School of Education. "He has a brilliant record of educational leadership and an abiding interest in improving America's schools."

Steele is recognized as a leader in the field of social psychology and for his commitment to the systematic application of social science to problems of major societal significance. His research focuses on the psychological experience of the individual and, particularly, on the experience of threats to the self and the consequences of those threats. His early work considered the self-image threat, self-affirmation and its role in self-regulation, the academic underachievement of minority students, and the role of alcohol and drug use in self-regulation processes and social behavior.

While at Stanford, he further developed the theory of stereotype threat, designating a common process through which people from different groups, being threatened by different stereotypes, can have quite different experiences in the same situation. The theory has also been used to understand group differences in performance, ranging from the intellectual to the athletic.

He has published articles in numerous scholarly journals, including the American Psychologist, the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. His recent book, Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do, was published in 2010.

Steele has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is a member of the Board of the Social Science Research Council and of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Board of Directors.

Read more at Bloomberg.