The Urban Education Institute is committed to fostering greater equity and excellence in public education.
The mission of the Urban Education Institute is to produce knowledge to create reliably excellent urban schooling.

The Urban Education Institute is committed to bridging the worlds of education research and practice in a way that contributes meaningful new knowledge on what matters most for school improvement and student success to educators and education policymakers nationwide.

Our Organization

The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute represents a model for how higher education can engage in the systemic improvement of preK–12th grade schooling.

The Urban Education Institute generates new knowledge on what it takes to produce equitable and excellent preK-12 schooling through a combination of rigorous applied research, a cutting-edge teacher residency program, an award-winning public charter school, and the ongoing development of innovative tools for schools nationwide. No other education institution in the country joins these domains of work and expertise under one roof and within a university community. UEI is uniquely positioned to close the gaps between education research and practice in a way that improves the quality of schools and student outcomes nationwide.

 

Our People

The Urban Education Institute is staffed by over 450 dedicated researchers, school leaders, teachers, thought leaders, and other practitioners committed to equity and excellence in urban education.

 

UEI Senior Management Team

Sara Ray Stoelinga

Sara Liston Spurlark Director
University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Clinical Professor
University of Chicago Committee on Education
Elaine Allensworth

Elaine Allensworth

Lewis-Sebring Director
University of Chicago Consortium on School Research

Todd Barnett

Director of Partnerships, Family and Community Engagement
University of Chicago Charter School
Jeanette Bartley

Jeanette Bartley

Co-Director
University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program Staff

Dayna Dion

Senior Director of National and Global Engagement
Urban Education Institute

Charna Epstein

Chief Operating Officer
University of Chicago Urban Education Institute

Tanika Island

CEO
University of Chicago Charter School
Bill Kennedy

Bill Kennedy

Co-Director
University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program

Elliot Ransom

Co-CEO
UChicago Impact

Alex Seeskin

Chief Strategy Officer
University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Director of The To&Through Project

Chuck Swirsky

Director of Development
University of Chicago Urban Education Institute

Maggie Walsh

Co-CEO
UChicago Impact

Jerrold Washington

Chief Academic Officer
University of Chicago Charter School

UEI Council Members

Heather Anichini

President and CEO
The Chicago Public Education Fund

Jim Crown

President
Henry Crown and Company
Chair
UEI Council

Arne Duncan

Managing Partner
Emerson Collective

Steve Kersten

President
WaterSaver Faucet Company

Charles A. Lewis

The Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation

Robin Steans

Trustee
Steans Family Foundation

Steve Strandberg

Managing Director and Co-founder
WestBridge Ventures

Beth Swanson

Vice President of Strategy and Programs
The Joyce Foundation

Our Partners

The Urban Education Institute represents a model for how the higher education community can engage in the systemic improvement of preK-12 schooling. UEI operates a public, preK-12 school that is uniquely situated next to the University of Chicago, one of the most preeminent research institutions in the world. This enables UEI to partner with a broad range of University of Chicago organizations and faculty members and bring a wealth of interdisciplinary knowledge to bear on improving preK-12 public schooling, for students on the South Side of Chicago and nationwide.

 

Collegiate Scholars Program

The University of Chicago Collegiate Scholars Program was founded in 2003 as a three-year program that aims to prepare talented Chicago Public Schools students in grades 10-12 for admission to and success at the nation’s top colleges and universities. Each year, students from the UChicago Charter School take part in this program that sets the stage for successful college and career futures.

Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies

UEI’s Urban Teacher Education Program partners with the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies to grant degrees to teachers committed to teaching and helping students in urban areas. Since 1890, the Graham School has dedicated itself to curating and disseminating the University of Chicago’s rich knowledge for a broader set of learners in innovative ways.

Harris School

The Harris Public Policy faculty and students bring an exacting, data-driven perspective to a full spectrum of policy issues. Senior UEI researchers and faculty at the Harris School have a close working relationship, teaching, learning, and researching with each other.

Institute for Education Services Program

The University of Chicago's Institute for Education Services (IES) program is part of an exciting, education sciences environment at the University of Chicago in which a diverse community of students, faculty, and practitioners—led by researchers at UEI—are collaborating to design and conduct research and practices relevant to solving urgent national problems in education.  

Neighborhood Schools Program

The Neighborhood Schools Program (NSP) was founded in 1976 by the University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement. Its mission is to engage the community in impactful ways, mostly by facilitating partnerships between University of Chicago students and schools on Chicago’s South Side. Each year, 50 University of Chicago undergraduates tutor students attending the UChicago Charter School that UEI operates.

Network for College Success

The University of Chicago’s Network for College Success (NCS) envisions Chicago neighborhood high schools that continuously cultivate collaboration, powerful learning, and a culture of high achievement to prepare all students for college and career success. Together, UEI and NCS launched the To&Through Project, which integrates research, data, and professional learning to help more students get to and through high school and college and aims to significantly increase the percentage of Chicago Public Schools freshmen who graduate from high school and go on to earn a college degree.

 

School of Social Service Administration

For over 100 years, the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA) has used social research and community data to inform the care and counseling of the most vulnerable members of society. Faculty from SSA and researchers at UEI work closely together, teaching and researching promising new approaches to public schooling.

Taking the Next Step

UEI staff members who are alumni of the University of Chicago regularly take part in the Taking the Next Step event, a one-day conference that enables second- and third-year University of Chicago undergraduate students to explore post-graduation career options. 

The Arts Incubator

Each year, students from the UChicago Charter School that UEI operates participate in arts activities centered at the Arts Incubator. Envisioned by artist Theaster Gates, the Arts Incubator is a space for artist residencies, arts education, community-based art projects, as well as exhibitions, performances, and talks. 

The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

The University of Chicago Charter School that UEI operates and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools have developed a productive partnership dedicated to providing enrichment and community engagement opportunities for their students. Founded by the renowned educator John Dewey in 1896, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools are dedicated to creating and nurturing the habits of expansive thinking and complex problem-solving. 

UChicago Careers in Education Professions

Launched in 2012, the UChicago Careers in Education Professions program seeks to continue the University's legacy as a "teacher of teachers" and support students and alumni who are considering careers in education. UEI hosts excursions for students to provide them with a look at the work, people, and opportunities within UEI and the broader education community.

UChicago Safety and Security Department

The Department of Safety & Security is dedicated to promoting a safe and secure environment in which knowledge may be freely and rigorously pursued. Members of the University Police provide security at the UChicago Charter School and also participate in leadership conversations at the schools.

UChicago Science of Learning Center

The UChicago Science of Learning Center (UChicago SLC) brings researchers and practitioners together with the ambition of supporting robust, lifelong learning for all students. Several UEI experts and leaders took part in the development of the Science of Learning Center and serve on its advisory board. UEI leaders also regularly participate in UChicago SLC seminars and discussions. 

University of Chicago Medicine

The University of Chicago Medicine, one of the nation's leading academic medical institutions, has been at the forefront of medical care since 1927 when it first opened to patients. Students from the UChicago Charter School that UEI operates participated in a research pilot with the University of Chicago Medical Center, during which they learned about nutrition and their daily food intake.

University of Chicago Public Policy Department

The University of Chicago Public Policy Department trains students to recognize that public issues are not neatly contained within traditional disciplinary boundaries and that analysts possessing a broad range of social scientific understanding, quantitative expertise, and communication skills are well placed to contribute to improved public policies. UEI works closely with faculty and students from the department to refine and improve research and practice in the urban education space.