Princeton Professor Cecilia Rouse Named Dean of Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Cecilia Rouse. Photo by Jon Roemer courtesy of the Princeton University Office of Communications.

Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton University faculty member specializing in the economics of education, has been selected to serve as the new dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Rouse, who served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2009 to 2011, has worked at Princeton University for two decades. and is the founding director of the Woodrow Wilson School’s education research section. She is a senior editor of The Future of Children, a policy journal published by the Wilson School and the Brookings Institution, and serves on the editorial board of American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

“It is a great pleasure to announce the appointment of Cecilia Rouse as the dean of the Woodrow Wilson School,” Princeton University President Shirley M. Tilghman said in a written statement about the appointment. “Her scholarly distinction in the fields of labor economics and education policy, coupled with her extensive experience in Washington, epitomize the best of the school’s tradition of applying rigorous social science research to inform public policy. She is also highly regarded as a dedicated teacher and mentor to her students. I look forward to working with her as she builds upon the great strengths of the school.”

Rouse said  her goal will be to “elevate even further” the school’s stature and impact in the policy arena.

“It should be the go-to place for anyone interested in dynamic, insightful, timely domestic and international policy analysis and dialog, and where a diverse set of undergraduate and graduate students are trained to become the policy leaders of the future,” she said.

Rouse joined the Princeton faculty in 1992 after earning her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. That same year, she joined the Woodrow Wilson School’s industrial relations section, which functions as a research bureau, a reference library and the sponsor of research seminars. She later served as director of the section.

In 1998 and 1999, she worked in the White House at the National Economic Council.  In 2001, she started the education research section, an interdisciplinary unit within the industrial relations section and the Wilson School that promotes the use of research in education decision-making.

Rouse’s primary research interests are in labor economics, with a focus on the economics of education. She is the author of papers on topics including the economic benefit of community college attendance, the existence of sex discrimination in symphony orchestras, the consequences of Milwaukee’s private school voucher program on student achievement, the effect of student loan debt on career choices of college graduates, and the impact of computer-assisted instruction on students’ performance in reading and mathematics.

While most of Rouse’s scholarly work has focused on domestic policy issues, she spent the year following receipt of her undergraduate degree from Harvard University studying at L’Universite de Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal.   She has also researched poverty in Sri Lanka and labor unions in South Africa.

Rouse will succeed Christina Paxson, who resigned in June after three years as dean of the Wilson School to become president of Brown University. Anne Case, the Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, has been serving as interim dean.

The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs was founded at Princeton in 1930 as a small, interdisciplinary program at the undergraduate level. A graduate professional program was added in 1948 and was significantly expanded in 1961. The school has become a major international center for advanced training and research in public affairs. Its graduates include leaders in domestic and international government positions as well as leaders of private, nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations.