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Katherine A. Magnuson will assume leadership of the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on August 19, 2019, when outgoing director Lawrence M. Berger’s term ends.
Magnuson, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Social Work, is a longtime IRP faculty affiliate and member of IRP’s Executive Committee. She served as IRP’s Associate Director of Research and Training, leading the Institute’s Graduate Research Fellows training program and the National Poverty Fellows postdoctoral training program.
Magnuson’s research focuses on the well-being and development of economically disadvantaged children and their families. She examines how disparities in socioeconomic status affect children’s development, and how these effects may be altered by policies and programs, especially early childhood education programs.
Magnuson’s activities include being one of the Principal Investigators of the National Institute of Child Health and Development-supported Baby’s First Years study, a $15 million experimental study testing the causal effects of poverty reduction on child development. She also has worked closely on several major research and policy projects related to childcare with Wisconsin’s Department of Children and Families and other organizations.
Outgoing director Berger remarked, “I am pleased to be leaving IRP in Katherine’s accomplished hands and I look forward to watching her carry the Institute into the 2020s.” Berger will spend the 2019 to 2020 academic year on leave, collaborating with colleagues at the National Institute for Demographic Studies in Paris, France.
Magnuson notes, “I am excited to take the lead at IRP as the Institute, our affiliates, and our partner organizations are busier than ever working on new state and national initiatives. I look forward to continuing IRP’s strong tradition of furthering research on poverty and connecting it to policy in ways that make a positive difference in people’s lives. I am grateful for all of Lonnie’s hard work and leadership over the past 5 years.”
During his term, outgoing IRP Director Lawrence Berger, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Social Work, launched an ambitious agenda that took IRP in new directions, including
- expanding cooperation and collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in a new five-year award that includes researcher-policymaker exchanges that were lauded in the 2020 federal budget;
- instituting an annual summer training program held at Howard University that assists poverty studies grad students of color in preparing a dissertation proposal;
- convening or cosponsoring nine conferences and workshops that advance poverty research and inform policy; and
- securing funding from The JPB Foundation, to support researcher-practitioner collaborations and emerging poverty scholars of color and build IRP’s capacity around translating and disseminating poverty research; and from the Alliance for the American Dream of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Wendy and Eric Schmidt.
The Institute for Research on Poverty was established in 1966 at UW–Madison with funding from the federal government to serve as the nation’s center for the study of the nature, causes, and cures of poverty. It is a nonpartisan research institution dedicated to producing and disseminating rigorous evidence to inform policies and programs to combat poverty, inequality, and their effects in the United States.