Michael L. López, PhD
Education and Child Development NORC, University of Chicago
Dr. Michael López is Vice President for Education and Child Development at NORC at the University of Chicago, where he provides strategic oversight and direction for the growing portfolio of early childhood research at NORC. Dr. López is a nationally recognized expert on early childhood research, with a particular emphasis on low-income or culturally and linguistically diverse populations. He has over 25 years of experience conducting applied policy research in the areas of early childhood care and education, children's socioemotional development, health and mental health, racial and ethnic disparities, cultural and linguistic diversity, and appropriate assessments for cultural and linguistically diverse dual language learners.
Prior to joining NORC, López worked as a principal associate at Abt Associates where he conducted and disseminated early childhood research spanning topics such as Head Start, state preschool, child care, and childhood obesity. Among his achievements, López has co-led the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, a 5-year, $5 million national center to conduct and disseminate research, informing Administration for Children and Families programs and policies supporting low-income Hispanic children and families. He also has served as co-principal investigator on the National Study of the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) program, where he oversaw the design and implementation of a nationally representative study describing the characteristics of children and families enrolled in MSHS, as well as program practices and services.
Earlier in his career, Dr. López directed the Child Outcomes Research and Evaluation team in the Administration for Children and Families, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1991 to 2005, where he developed and directed large-scale, national evaluation studies of federal programs—including the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey and the National Head Start Impact Study, the largest, nationally representative, randomized study examining the impact of Head Start on children's school readiness—among others.
Throughout his career, Dr. López has established numerous strategic, interdisciplinary, collaborative partnerships and leveraged coalitions with key Federal and non-Federal entities that share a common emphasis on early childhood and child and family well-being. Across the past 20 years, he also has worked to expand mentoring opportunities for early career scholars, and to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the next generation of researchers, including, but not limited to his role overseeing two mentoring and professional development programs within ACF: the Head Start Graduate Student Research Scholars and Society for Research in Child Development Policy Research Fellowship programs.
Dr. López has written numerous peer-reviewed research articles, reports, and briefs on issues related to early childhood, Head Start, early care and education utilization, and cultural and linguistic diversity issues, including the psychometrics of language, literacy, and classroom observational measures for young dual language learners. He earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and earned his master's degree and PhD in child clinical psychology at Michigan State University. Dr. López currently serves as a board member of the HighScope Educational Research Foundation and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute Executive Leadership Board. He is also a member of the advisory committee supporting the PNC Grow Up Great early childhood initiative.