Ethan W. Ris is a Ph.D. candidate at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. A graduate of Brown University, he worked as a high school guidance counselor before coming to the GSE. He first earned an M.A. in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies before beginning his doctoral work. In between his degrees, he worked as an education researcher at the Stupski Foundation in San Francisco. Since 2008, he has also been the treasurer of a small charitable foundation that sponsors summer enrichment programs for low-income middle and high school students.
Ethan is a historian of education policy. His dissertation research focuses on the effect of reform-oriented philanthropy on American undergraduate education in the first half of the 20th century. Using archival methods, he shows how early foundations’ efforts to impose efficiency-minded reforms on colleges and universities fell short, before they embraced the ethos of student development and institutional autonomy by the mid-century. His research, funded by competitive grants from the GSE and Stanford’s Vice Provost for Graduate Education, has been published in History of Education and The Journal of Educational Controversy, and he is a co-author of a forthcoming book on the role of broad-access colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area. His editorial writing has appeared in the Washington Post and the San Jose Mercury News.