Ronald Ferguson Photo
Ronald Ferguson
Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy
Office:
79 John F. Kennedy St. Taubman Bldg 474
617-495-1104
617-496-9154

Ronald F. Ferguson is an MIT-trained economist who focuses social science research on economic, social, and educational challenges.  He has been on the faculty at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since 1983, after full time appointments at Brandeis and Brown Universities. In 2014, he co-founded Tripod Education Partners and shifted into an adjunct role at the Kennedy School, where he remains a fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy and faculty director of the university-wide Achievement Gap Initiative (AGI).

During the 1980s and ‘90s Ron focused much his attention on economic and community development. That work culminated in the social science synthesis volume Urban Problems and Community Development (1999), which remains an important text in graduate policy courses.

By the late1980s he had begun to study education and youth development because academic skill disparities were contributing to growing wage disparity. During the 1990s and early 2000s, his writings on the topic appeared in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, and various books and journals. In December 2007, Harvard Education Press published his book Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap. A February 2011 profile of Ron in the New York Times wrote, “there is no one in America who knows more about the gap that Ronald Ferguson.”

Ron’s current focus as AGI director is an initiative entitled the Boston Basics that is spreading to other cities in a Basics National Network. It takes a socio-ecological saturation approach, collaborating with many partners to reach extended families with caregiving advice for infants and toddlers. In addition, Ron is co-authoring a book with journalist Tatsha Robertson on the ways that highly successful people were parented.

Ron holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a PhD from MIT, both in economics. He has been happily married for 38 years and is the father of two adult sons

Courses

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles

Books

Book Chapters

Research Papers/Reports

Transparent Engagement

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School.

Outside Professional Activities For Ronald Ferguson

Ron Ferguson participates in a variety of public policy advising and consulting activities. He is a founding equity partner of Tripod Education Partners, Inc, which provides student and teacher surveys and related services to school districts in the U.S. and abroad. Tripod Education Partners is now home to the Tripod Project for School Improvement, which had been delivered in collaboration with Cambridge Education of Westwood MA fromm 2007 through 2014.  Professor Ferguson is a co-owner (along with Freshpond Education, Inc.) of Tripod Education Partners, Inc, which owns the intellectual property of the Tripod surveys developed over the past decade through work with school districts. 

Contact

Phone: 617-495-1104
Office: 79 John F. Kennedy St. Taubman Bldg 474

Faculty Expertise

Cities & Communities
Education, Training & Labor
Gender, Race & Identity
Poverty, Inequality & Opportunity
Social Policy

HKS Affiliations

Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy St.
Mailbox: 103
Cambridge, MA 02138