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How Parents, Peers, and Teachers Shape Skills and Inspire Aspirations

4:00 – 5:15 PM ET | WEBINAR



Ronald F. Ferguson, Ph.D.

Ronald F. Ferguson, Ph.D.

President and CEO, The Basics, Inc.
Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School


Leslie B. Vosshall, Ph.D.

Robin Chemers Neustein Professor
Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior
The Rockefeller University

Helping children succeed in school and thrive in life have always been of concern to parents and educators. Over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 global pandemic has severely impacted the amount of time students have been able to spend in the classroom, leading to even greater concern about how they will fare in the future. Ronald F. Ferguson, Ph.D., is an MIT-trained economist whose teaching, research, and social entrepreneurship across almost four decades at the Harvard Kennedy School have covered topics ranging from state and local economic development to school leadership, teaching, and parenting. His talk will draw upon his extensive research and consulting, including his Tripod Project for School Improvement, dedicated to raising achievement for all students while reducing the Black/White achievement gap, as well as his 2019 book with coauthor and journalist Tatsha Robertson, The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children. Dr. Ferguson will compare and contrast what parents and teachers do to foster children’s life success, including helping to anticipate and manage both positive and negative peer dynamics.

Dr. Ferguson’s research has also produced The Basics, an initiative that he launched as faculty director of Harvard’s Achievement Gap Initiative. The Basics mobilizes communities in support of healthy infant and toddler learning and brain development. After serving as a full-time faculty member at Harvard from 1983 to 2014, Dr. Ferguson shifted to an adjunct role in 2014 and remains a faculty associate at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. He grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a doctorate from MIT, both in economics.