Melissa Roderick

Senior Director, Consortium
Hermon Dunlap Smith Professor, School of Social Service Administration

Melissa Roderick is the Hermon Dunlap Smith Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a senior director at the UChicago Consortium. Roderick is an expert in urban school reform, high school reform, high-stakes testing, minority adolescent development, and school transitions. Her work has focused attention on the transition to high school as a critical point in students’ school careers and her new work examines the transition to college among Chicago Public School (CPS) students. In prior work, she led a multi-year evaluation of Chicago's initiative to end social promotion and has conducted research on school dropout, grade retention, and the effects of summer programs. Roderick is an expert in mixing qualitative and quantitative methods in evaluation. Her new study focuses on understanding the relationship between students' high school careers and preparation, their college selection choices and their post-secondary outcomes through linked quantitative and qualitative research. In this joint project with CPS, Roderick is assisting CPS in tracking successive cohorts of Chicago students and building new indicators through analysis of high school transcripts and surveys of students and teachers to assess the preparation of CPS graduates for college. She is concurrently leading a qualitative study that is following over 100 juniors from three Chicago high schools from the eleventh grade to two years after graduation and examining differences in the educational demands of their classroom environments through a linked study of high school and college classrooms. From 2001 to 2003, Roderick joined the administration of CPS to establish a new Department of Planning and Development. At SSA, Roderick is the faculty director of a new program in community schools and youth development. She is a founding board member and currently serves as the chair of the board of North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School. Roderick has a PhD from the Committee on Public Policy from Harvard University, a master's degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and an AB from Bowdoin College.