Alec Gershberg

Senior Lecturer | Sociology & Urban Studies

Dr. Gershberg is a specialist in social & education policy, political economy, accountability, governance, and systems thinking. He is particularly interested in how governments design, adopt and implement policies and reform processes to improve education quality.

He has worked in Latin America, East and South Asia, Eastern & Western Europe, North Africa & the Middle East, North America, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

At Penn, he teaches courses in Systems Thinking in Comparative Education, Education and Social Policy in Latin America, Public Finance and Public Policy, and Urban Studies.

He has been a frequent consultant to the World Bank, the U.K. Department for International Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, UNESCO, and The Urban Institute.

He has been a Visiting Fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California and Visiting Professor at the Stanford University School of Education, the Open University of Catalunya (UOC), and El Colégio de Mexico. Most recently, he was chosen to lead a five-year research project on the political economy of education reform for the RISE program working with country research teams in Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.

He has been Senior Education Economist at the World Bank and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He spent the 2010-2011 academic year in Barcelona at the UOC’sInternet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), where he is currently a Research Associate in e-learning—work he continues as a founding member of the University of the Future Network.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Regional Science Department. Prior to returning to Penn, he spent 25 years as a faculty member in the Public and Urban Policy Program at The New School–the last five years as Chair. The New School recently appointed him Professor Emeritus.