Saint Louis University’s dean of the School of Education has received a nearly $1 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation to support the development of a new research center in the SLU School of Education.

The $962,000 grant will help the research center conduct applied research and disseminate results to education stakeholders across the state, officials said.

“We want Missouri’s education leaders and key lawmakers to have access to every resource available when making key policy decisions,” Gary Ritter, dean of the School of Education, said in a statement. “This proposal was inspired by a similar program I founded at the University of Arkansas that has been very successful.”

The new research center at SLU will be known as SLU PRiME (Policy Research in Missouri Education) Center. It will serve as a resource for state lawmakers, educators, administrators and other educational leaders.

SLU PRiME will launch in early spring and will publish annual “report cards” for schools and districts across Missouri, produce reports that compare Missouri to the rest of the nation in areas like student outcomes and teacher pay, among other things.

The center received initial seed funding from SLU’s big ideas challenge — a multi-year competition that offers increasing levels of investment for projects, officials said.

“Dr. Ritter and his team’s Big Idea for education policy in Missouri falls in line with one of our commitments as a university — to generate research focused on addressing societal challenges,” Ken Olliff, vice president for research at SLU, said in a statement. “We look forward to seeing the changes this project will inspire for educational progress in our region and state.”

SLU PRiME will be staffed by two full-time researchers and students workers. Faculty from the School of Education and the Chaifetz School of Business also will conduct research at the center.

St. Louis Business Journal