UW-Madison School of Education - Alumni News

School of Education Alumni News

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Busk gift backs named professorship in Dept. of Educational Psychology

July 14, 2015

UW-Madison alumna Patricia Busk and her husband, Michael, earlier this year committed to giving $250,000 to the School of Education’s No. 1-ranked Department of Educational Psychology to support a named professorship.

Patricia Busk earned her Ph.D. in Quantitative Methods from the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology in 1976. Today, she is an award-winning professor with the University of San Francisco’s School of Education, where Busk chairs the Learning and Instruction Department.

Busks and David Kaplan
David Kaplan (left) poses for a photo with Patricia
Busk and her husband, Michael, during the School
of Education's April reception at the American
Educational Research Association's Annual
Meeting. This year's AERA meeting was in Chicago.
UW-Madison’s David Kaplan, the chair of the Department of Educational Psychology, was named the first Patricia Busk Professor of Quantitative Methods. Kaplan assumed this named professorship on July 1 and will hold the post for the next five years.

“The Patricia and Michael Busk Professorship is an inspiring gift,” says School of Education Dean Julie Underwood. “Patricia is a faculty member herself and recognizes the prestige and support contained within an endowed professorship.  As the first Busk Professor, David Kaplan is a great symbol of a scholar and university leader.”

Kaplan is a leading expert on large-scale educational assessments whose highly regarded work on quantitative methods has led to several significant awards over the past year.

In August 2014, Kaplan had his latest book published: “Bayesian Statistics for the Social Sciences.” In October, he received a Humboldt Research Award, which will allow him to spend mid-August 2015 to August 2016 working on the development and application of Bayesian statistical methods for large-scale educational assessments with colleagues at the German Institute for International Educational Research in Frankfurt. And in March, Kaplan was elected to membership in the prestigious National Academy of Education.

“David Kaplan is an outstanding appointment as the first holder of the Patricia Busk Professorship in Quantitative Methods,” says Busk, a former member of the School of Education’s Board of Visitors. “His teaching, research and service epitomize the exceptional quantitative professors with whom I studied while pursuing my doctoral degree at the university –- and the professors who have dedicated themselves with such distinction to UW-Madison since that time. These are the mentors whose guidance, encouragement, and example infused my own teaching, service and research for the last 40 years.”

Speaking of the value of a named professorship for the Department of Educational Psychology, Kaplan says it’s a signal to those off campus that there are donors to the department who value the high quality of work it’s conducting.

“I’m grateful to the Busks for their support of the Quantitative Methods program,” says Kaplan, who was elected to the Busk Professorship post in a vote from his department peers. “It helps convey the quality of our program to the outside world.”
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