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Maxwell School names prominent public policy scholar to Moynihan Chair

Schwartz,-Amy-EllenAmy Ellen Schwartz, an internationally renowned scholar of education policy, public finance, and urban economics, will join the Maxwell School of Syracuse University this fall as Daniel Patrick Moynihan Chair in Public Affairs.   Schwartz, a professor of public policy, education, and economics at New York University, where she also serves as director of the interdisciplinary Institute for Education and Social Policy, will join Maxwell in August 2014 with a joint appointment in the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs and the Department of Economics. She will also be a senior research associate at the School's Center for Policy Research.

For more than two decades, Schwartz has served on the faculty of NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.  She has devoted her celebrated career both to scholarship and to developing the next generation of policy scholars, analysts, and leaders. 

”Amy Schwartz’s path-breaking research on education, public finance, and inequality speaks to some of the most consequential issues facing our communities today,” says Dean James Steinberg.  “Her work places her in the great tradition exemplified by Senator Moynihan, a tradition that lies at the heart of Maxwell’s mission – applying rigorous scholarship to urgent public policy challenges. We’re delighted to welcome her to our remarkable faculty.”

Schwartz’s research concentrates on urban policy, education policy, and public finance; much of her work focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of inequality and the ways in which government can make a difference.  Her current work on K-12 education issues examines the relationship between student performance and housing and neighborhood change; the role of schools and neighborhoods in shaping childhood obesity; the relationship between school nutrition programs and student performance; immigration and mobility in urban schools; and the efficacy of school reforms.  Her research on urban economic development has included work on Business Improvement Districts, housing investment, school choice, and investment in infrastructure, among other issues in public finance.

Schwartz is the author of 42 journal articles, 31 book chapters, and numerous monographs and reports; she is the editor of two books. She has been principal or co-principal investigator on dozens of grants from U.S. government agencies including the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, and National Institutes of Health, as well as from the MacArthur, Spencer, and Rockefeller Foundations.  She is a member of the editorial board for Education Finance and Policy and past president of the American Education Finance Association, the leading academic organization devoted to education policy research.  In addition, she has served as PhD advisor to dozens of students who have gone on to successful careers in academia, business, and government. Schwartz received a PhD, MPhil, and MA in economics from Columbia University.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Maxwell School and feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with such a terrific collection of faculty and students in both economics and public affairs,” says Schwartz.  “Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously asserted ‘Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.’  As an applied policy economist, I see myself as being responsible for uncovering -- or, perhaps, discovering -- those "facts" which will, I expect, lead to better discussions, more informed opinions, better policy and, ultimately, better outcomes.

The Moynihan Chair was endowed in 2007 by the Leon Levy Foundation in honor of the late senator, who was a longtime friend and former faculty member of the Maxwell School.  Moynihan began his academic career at the Maxwell School as a junior faculty member from 1959 to 1961.  He then embarked on a long and storied life in public service, leading ultimately to his 24 years as a U.S. Senator from New York.  During those years, the senator served as a member of the Maxwell School Advisory Board and returned often to guest lecture and otherwise support the School and its students.  Upon his retirement from the Senate in 2001, he rejoined the School as a University Professor, the highest faculty rank at Syracuse University.  He held that post until his death in March 2003. 03/17/14