Nicholas Mader is a Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago. His work focuses on improving outcomes for at-risk youth by guiding policy development and evaluating youth service programs in partnership with city agencies and non-profit providers. His methodological interests are in using rigorous quantitative methods applied to administrative data sets—the same data used by policy makers—that are augmented with data from other agencies, and data actively collected for applied questions. At Chapin Hall, this work focuses on merging student educational performance with out-of-school factors such as family instability, family poverty, criminal activity of friends or family, and exposure to violence, child abuse or neglect.
Dr. Mader is the co-organizer and research head of the Integrated Evaluation Project for Youth Support Service Providers in Chicago, working with a diverse coalition of non-profit providers to broker data linkages with city agencies, develop and apply quantitative methods for measuring impacts, and develop processes for enriching quantitative data to on-the-ground practices at providers sites around Chicago. In previous projects, Nick served as the quantitative lead for the City of Chicago’s Ready to Learn initiative, working with the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services and the Chicago Public Schools to improve targeting of Head Start and state Preschool For All funds to providers serving disadvantaged families. Among other projects focusing on foster care, school discipline, and school health initiatives, Nick is also the Principal Investigator of work funded by the Lumina Foundation to link experiences and resources from early childhood to later-life educational success.
Before coming to Chapin Hall, Dr. Mader collaborated with Professor James Heckman, co-recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economics, on studies of the effectiveness of the General Educational Development (GED) certificate, and also partnered with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research on assessments of school choice and school effectiveness.
Dr. Mader earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. in mathematics and economics from Wesleyan University. He was also a Post-doctoral Scholar at the University of Chicago Department of Economics.
Areas of Expertise
- Quantitative methods
- School systems
- Educational outcomes