News Details | 21-Jul-2009

US President Barack Obama’s first education advisor receives NTU Honorary Degree

Professor Linda Darling-Hammond, the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University, will be receiving the Degree of Doctor of Education (Honoris Causa) from President of the Republic of Singapore and Chancellor of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Mr S R Nathan, in a ceremony to be held on 23 July 2009 at the Nanyang Auditorium, NTU. The honorary degree is conferred in recognition of Professor Linda Darling-Hammond’s contributions to education in Singapore and her role as a leading expert and influential scholar in the field of education.

Professor Darling-Hammond’s relationship with NTU first started when she was invited, as a leading teacher education expert, to be a member of National Institute of Education (NIE)’s 2007 International Advisory Panel (IAP). As a panel member, Professor Darling-Hammond continually emphasised the importance of teachers engaging in research in the classrooms as she felt that these teachers will play an instrumental role in helping to develop a culture of inquiry and reflection in schools. The IAP recommendations were instrumental in the shaping of NIE’s “3:3:3 Roadmap” which outlines the institute’s key strategic directions from 2007 to 2012. 

Professor Darling-Hammond has been cited as one of the 10 most influential scholars affecting educational policy in the United States. Her appointment to head President Barack Obama’s education transition team is a testament to her strong influence in education and teaching. She also served on many of the US’s national advisory boards, including the White House Advisory Panel’s Resource Group for National Education Goals, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the National Foundation for the Improvement of Education.

Prior to her appointment at Stanford University in the School of Education, Professor Darling-Hammond held the William F. Russell professorship in the Foundations of Education at Teachers College (TC), Columbia University. She was also the Co-Director of the National Centre for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) at TC and was president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) from 1995 to 1996. 

Professor Darling-Hammond has been very involved in encouraging schools in the U.S. to focus more effectively on learning and to develop standards for teaching. When she chaired New York State’s Council on Curriculum and Assessment, her team fashioned a comprehensive school reform plan that developed learning standards and curriculum frameworks for more challenging learning goals linked to professional development for teachers and greater equity for students.

At Stanford University, she has served as the faculty sponsor for the Stanford Teacher Education Program and has launched the School Redesign Network and the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute.  Her work focused on issues of school restructuring, teacher education and educational equity. Another worthy highlight is her contribution as executive director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, whose 1996 report provided a blueprint for transforming education to guarantee all children access to high quality teaching. The report resulted in policy changes affecting teaching and schooling at all government levels and to then-ongoing reforms for teacher preparation.

A prolific researcher, Professor Darling-Hammond’s work has strongly influenced both policy and practice in the US.  She has more than 200 journal articles, book chapters and monographs and has edited or authored some 13 books. 

She has received many awards, the most recent being the “Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award” conferred by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) at its annual meeting 2009. Professor Darling-Hammond also received the Outstanding Book Award from the National Staff Development Council for her book “Teaching as the Learning Profession” in 2000.

Professor Darling-Hammond received her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude (highest honours) from Yale University and subsequently obtained her doctorate in urban education, with the highest distinction, from Temple University. Among her honorary doctorate degrees include from the University of Connecticut, the University of Redlands, the University of Oslo, Cleveland State University, the University of Toronto, the Claremont Graduate School and the Temple University.

About NTU Honorary Degrees

The Doctor of Education degree is one of the five honorary degrees conferred by NTU. The other honorary degrees are Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Science, Doctor of Engineering and Doctor of Letters. Honorary degrees are awarded to distinguished individuals who have achieved pre-eminence in their field of profession, or who have made significant contributions to their country, the society or in international relations. Honorary degrees are also conferred on individuals who have made important contributions to the University. Honourees affirm and dignify the University’s achievements and standing.

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