Courtney Tanenbaum is a principal researcher at AIR and director of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) practice area. She is a graduate of the Institute for Education Leadership’s DC Education Policy Fellowship Program. Since joining AIR in May 2003, she has worked on several research and evaluation studies focused on federal policies and initiatives designed to improve the outcome of disadvantaged students and underrepresented minorities, both in K-12 and higher education.
Currently, Dr. Tanenbaum serves as the principal investigator for the National Study of the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate, through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Under this grant she is responsible for managing the project, writing data-driven issue briefs on issues related to the participation of underrepresented minorities and women of all races and ethnicities in STEM. Most recently she contributed to an issue brief examining graduate student debt levels and one examining gender differences in the early career pathways of new STEM doctoral recipients. She also led a two-day symposium examining the implicit and explicit biases, barriers and challenges underrepresented groups of individuals in STEM encounter along their academic and career pathways, and how institutions of higher education and STEM academic departments can use this research to develop more effective recruitment and retention programs and practices.
Under a previous grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Tanenbaum served as the task lead for the implementation analysis of the national evaluation of the grant program. As task lead, she conducted multiple site visits to institutions of higher education participating in the grant, during which she led interviews with college deans, grant program leadership, faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students. She led the coding and analyses of the data collected during site visits to inform the implementation component of the evaluation.
Dr. Tanenbaum also serves on several studies of federal policy. She serves as a data collection and analysis task lead for the Impact Evaluation of Race to the Top and School Improvement Grant (SIG) programs. In this role, she has contributed to an evaluation brief examining school turnaround policies, practices, and strategies in SIG, the first and second year evaluation reports. She is also lead author on an evaluation brief examining state capacity to support school turnaround.
Dr. Tanenbaum serves as the deputy project director for the Equitable Distribution of Effective Teachers study, for which she assists in the overall management of the project, leads the collection and analysis of data gathered through interviews with officials, and serves as a lead author of the final evaluation report. In addition, she leads the school-level data collection and analysis task for the Early Implementation of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Study. In this role, Dr. Tanenbaum is responsible for producing a policy brief exploring school-level perspectives on the implementation of ESEA flexibility that will be shared with U.S. Department of Education staff to inform future policy making, and for contributing to a key highlights report that will be released to the public.