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Charles Glenn named School of Education dean ad interim

Internationally recognized scholar has taught at SED for 15 years

Charles Glenn. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Charles Glenn, a School of Education professor and chair of the department of administration, training, and policy, has been named SED dean ad interim. Glenn (GRS’87), a member of the school’s faculty for nearly 15 years, had previously served for two decades as a senior administrator at the Massachusetts Department of Education.

“Charles Glenn is a well-known scholar and highly respected academic leader in the School of Education,” says BU President Robert Brown. “His thoughtful leadership style is well-suited to moving the school through the period of self-study that will lead to identifying the next permanent dean.”

Brown announced the appointment July 6 in an e-mail to SED faculty and staff. “I know he will serve the school and Boston University well during this period of transition,” he wrote. Glenn replaces Douglas Sears, who was appointed SED dean ad interim in 2001 and became full dean in 2003. On July 1 Sears began serving as associate provost and assistant to the president for outreach and special initiatives.

For more than 10 years, Glenn has been department chair; he is also a Fellow in the University Professors Program, teaching courses in education history and comparative policy. He was director of urban education and equity efforts for the commonwealth’s Department of Education, where he oversaw the administration of more than $500 million in state funds for magnet schools and desegregation, from 1970 to 1991. He was also responsible for the nation’s first bilingual education mandates.

Glenn is the author of nine books, including the historical study The Myth of the Common School (1988), Choice of Schools in Six Nations (1989), Educational Freedom in Eastern Europe (1994), Educating Immigrant Children: Schools and Language Minorities in Twelve Nations (1996), and The Ambiguous Embrace: Government and Faith-Based Schools and Social Agencies (2000). He has written several hundred articles, book chapters, and monographs on education policy.  

With Jan De Groof, in 2002 he published Finding the Right Balance: Freedom, Autonomy, and Accountability in Education, a two-volume study of educational freedom in 26 countries. Balancing Freedom, Autonomy, and Accountability in Education (2004), a substantially revised and expanded three-volume version, covers 40 countries. A fourth volume, with a dozen additional countries, is in preparation for a 2007 publication.

Glenn is currently writing the second volume (North America) of the historical overview Schools Between State and Civil Society: Educational Policy Since Antiquity, to be published by ISI Press.  

Active in educational policy debates in the United States and Europe, Glenn is vice president of OIDEL, the Geneva based international organization promoting educational freedom, a member of the boards of the European Association for Education Law and Policy and the Council for American Private Education, and on the technical scientific committee of the Italian Instituto nazionale di documentazione per l’innovazione e la ricerca educativa. He has been a consultant to the Russian and Chinese education authorities, as well as to states and major cities across the United States, and an expert witness in federal court cases on school finance, desegregation, and bilingual education.

Glenn earned a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in education from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in religion and modern culture from Boston University.