In memoriam: National education giant Marshall S. (Mike) Smith led WCER from 1980–86

May 17, 2023

By WCER Communications


Marshall S. (Mike) Smith, a giant in American education and social policy for over six decades who led the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) from 1980 to 1986, died May 1 at his home in Palo Alto, California. He was 85.

Smith served in key education positions under the administrations of four U.S. presidents — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — and he held academic positions at Harvard University, UW–Madison, and Stanford University. In all his university-based roles, he actively championed efforts to increase diversity in university faculty, to connect research more closely with practice and policy, and to improve the quality of education research overall.

He was an elected member of the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, past chairman of the Board of the American…

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