Bridget Long
Campus & Community

Long to step down as Ed School dean

Economist will return to teaching and research

4 min read

Bridget Terry Long, A.M. ’97, Ph.D. ’00, announced on Thursday that she will step down as dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education at the end of the 2023-24 academic year.

Long’s leadership service to the Ed School spans 10 years — four as academic dean and six as dean. A renowned scholar of the economics of higher education, she will remain on the School’s faculty following a sabbatical next year.

In Long’s message to the Ed School community, she said, “It is with a deep sense of gratitude and admiration for this remarkable community that I write today to share the news that I have decided to step down as Dean at the end of this academic year. This decision was not an easy one, but I believe this is the right time for me to embark on my next chapter — and the school is well-positioned to embark on its own next chapter, too.”

In his message to the School community, Interim President Alan Garber praised Long for her steadfast leadership.

“Since her appointment in 2018, and throughout her earlier tenure as academic dean, Bridget has served HGSE with distinction, guided always by an unwavering commitment to the School’s mission of preparing leaders and innovators who expand opportunities and improve outcomes for learners everywhere,” Garber said. “I am deeply grateful for her leadership.”

Garber added that he will share information about the search for a new dean in the coming weeks.

“Her insights into the factors that influence educational opportunity and student success in higher education have helped us advance a central aspect of Harvard’s mission.”

Alan Garber, interim president

Long led the Ed School through the pandemic, as schools, teachers, and administrators sought new methods of teaching and learning. Under her leadership, the Ed School redesigned its master’s degree program, including through the creation of the Foundations curriculum, and opened doors to new students by creating an online master’s degree program that has served as a model for the University. She also launched the Social Impact and Lifelong Learning unit, which integrates alumni relations, career services, and professional education into a single hub to provide professional development.

Recognizing the importance of external engagement, Long oversaw the launch of Education Now, a webinar series and newsletter in which experts discuss challenges in the field, and refined the Askwith Education Forum. She created the Dean’s Education Fellows, an initiative that matched Ed School grads with school districts around the country to provide support during the COVID crisis. She also launched the Principals’ Network, a space for leaders to cultivate relationships and share resources and knowledge with leading faculty.

“Beyond her service to the School, Bridget has been an invaluable partner to her fellow deans and to me,” Garber said. “Her insights into the factors that influence educational opportunity and student success in higher education have helped us advance a central aspect of Harvard’s mission.”

Long joined the Ed School faculty in 2000 and has devoted much of her research and scholarship to improving educational opportunities. Her research has examined the effectiveness of financial aid policies and support programs on educational attainment. She has been the recipient of various research awards, including from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Science Foundation. She is also a recipient of the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award from the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Long is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a member of the National Academy of Education, and a fellow of the International Academy of Education. She was also appointed to the National Board for Education Sciences, having served as vice chair and chair.

In her note to the community, Long expressed enthusiasm for the next chapter of her career.

“I look forward with excitement to how the school will continue to grow and advance its mission over the next 10 years as it confronts the many new questions, and new challenges, that are at the forefront of our field and our society. I’ll be vigorously addressing those challenges myself, as I return to active scholarship, using my expertise, research, and voice to address some of the larger debates about higher education that are now unfolding.”