Head shot of Ruth Lopez Turley
  • Director, Houston Education Research Consortium
  • Associate Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research
  • Professor of Sociology, Rice University
  • Founder, National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships
  • Kinder Fellow
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Ruth N. López Turley is a professor of sociology at Rice University. She founded the Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC), a research-practice partnership between Rice University and several Houston area school districts, including the Houston Independent School District. HERC aims to improve the connection between education researchers and decision makers for the purpose of closing achievement gaps and improving outcomes for students. HERC has received funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Houston Endowment, Inc., and the Kinder Foundation

Turley also founded the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP), which supports and develops partnerships between research institutions and education agencies throughout the country. NNERPP has received funding from the William T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Turley has served in various elected and appointed positions in local, state, and national levels. Nationally, she has served in leadership positions in the American Sociological Association (ASA), the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE), and the National Research Council of the National Academies, as well as the editorial boards of Sociology of Education and Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Locally, she has served as a Mayor’s Appointee in the Harvey Relief Fund Advisory Board, tasked with disseminating $100M, and is also serving on the Texas State Board of Education’s Long-Range Plan for Public Education Steering Committee.

Turley completed her undergraduate work at Stanford University (1996) and received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University (2001), where she was a doctoral fellow at the Kennedy School of Government’s Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality and Social Policy. Prior to coming to Rice, she was an assistant and associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she was a faculty affiliate of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), the Interdisciplinary Training Program in Education Sciences (ITP), and the Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP). In 2004, she was a National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellow. 

Turley received numerous teaching and mentoring awards at the University of Wisconsin, including an Exceptional Professor Award, Award for Excellence in Teaching, several Honored Instructor Awards, and the Dr. Brenda Pfaehler Award of Excellence. At Rice University, she received a George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching. 

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