Ronald F. Ferguson

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy
Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
Office Address
Taubman-474
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 103
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Contact
Phone: 617-495-1104
Fax: 617-496-9053
Email: ronald_ferguson@Harvard.Edu
Assistant
Jocelyn Friedlander (617-496-9154)
Ronald Ferguson

Profile

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. 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

Spring

  • SUP-470 Strategies and Policies for Narrowing Racial Achievement Gaps

Research

For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Research Papers/Reports
    • Ferguson, Ronald F., with Sarah F. Phillips, Jacob F. S. Rowley, and Jocelyn W. Friedlander. "The Influence of Teaching Beyond Standardized Test Scores: Engagement, Mindsets, and Agency." The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, October, 2015.
    • Ferguson, Ronald, Jason Snipes, Farhana Hossain, and Michelle S. Manno. "Developing Positive Young Adults: Lessons from Two Decades of YouthBuild Programs." MDRC Research Report, May 2015.

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