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SESP Leadership

Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy is dean of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy and the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Education and Social Policy.   

Dean Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy

A member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Brayboy’s research focuses on intersecting knowledge systems that illuminate the ways that institutional structures both hinder and enable the success of underserved students, staff, and faculty. An anthropologist by training, Brayboy is also concerned about the ways that culture and cultural practices can serve to support Indigenous students and communities.


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A Message from Dean Brayboy

Welcome to the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern. Our School is often referred to as SESP (or Ses-Pea), and our students and alumni know it is a place where SESP Love is grown, nurtured, and enacted. But what does SESP Love really mean?
When I posed this question to students, they told me it means that the School cares for them; it is a School where students are “seen” for being unique, and it is a place where they belong. SESP students are ambitious, committed to change, unbelievably smart and focused, and they care for one another. They know SESP is a place where we honor the past, including our academic and cultural genealogies, seek to engage the now with precision and care, and work toward helping set the stage for the future. SESP is bursting with possibilities. In other words, SESP totally rocks!
The world’s first and only school of education AND social policy, we’re committed to creating the conditions for peoples, places, and institutions to thrive. We are learning scientists and economists. We are scholars of human development and sociologists. Political scientists, cognitive scientists, and anthropologists. We are computer scientists, teacher educators, organizational theorists, and scholars of higher education.
Drawing from these interdisciplinary fields and disciplines, we focus on learning, teaching, and human development across the lifespan and at different scales. It is a place of intense teaching and learning and of deep collegiality.
What do we study? The people we care about and how to care for each other. We examine systems and the places where we live, love, and work. Faculty and graduate student research considers broad scale issues like how the survivors of gun violence manage schooling, the stresses and possibilities of young people in the 21st-century, and what those stressors mean for learning.
We explore the impact of mass tutoring on school achievement and ways to engage place as a pedagogical partner. Our researchers think seriously about emotions and connection between life partners and parents and children, and we are interested in how we might build large scale curricular items for teachers, school districts, and states.
The common thread is the interest in teaching, learning, and human development across scales and lifespan. Our research is theoretical and policy- and practice-oriented. It focuses on ensuring that places, peoples, and communities can be both self-determining and the best version of themselves.
I’m proud of SESP. I’m proud of our students. And our staff. Our faculty are extraordinary scholars, teachers, and analysts. Importantly, the people of SESP are phenomenal human beings. This is #SESPLove.