RON AVI ASTOR
Ron Avi Astor is a professor with joint appointments in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and the USC Rossier School of Education. His work examines the role of the physical, social-organizational and cultural contexts in schools related to different kinds of school violence (e.g., sexual harassment, bullying, school fights, emotional abuse, weapon use, teacher/child violence). Astor’s studies have included tens of thousands of schools and millions of students, teachers, parents and administrators. Over the past 25 years, findings from these studies have been published in more than 180 scholarly manuscripts. This work has documented the ecological influences of the family, community, school and culture on different forms of school violence. Astor has also developed a school mapping and local monitoring procedure that can be used with students and teachers to generate “grassroots” solutions to safety problems. He continues to conduct studies on the epidemiology of school violence in different cultures, the effects of stereotyping on the approval of violence across development in different cultures and democracy-oriented intervention studies that promote student and teacher participation to achieve school safety. Currently, Astor is applying knowledge gained from these prior studies to improve school climate in military-connected schools. For the past nine years Astor has been leading efforts in DoDEA partnership funded consortia including 145 public military connected schools to improve school climate, reduce violence and substance use, and increase the celebration of military families and culture in public schools. The results show positive effects for all students attending those schools. The findings of these studies have been widely cited in the international media. The research has garnered numerous international awards and recognition. These efforts have been published in six guides designed to help school professionals and parents during the school improvement process. These are being used in universities and school districts to train civilian educators and support staff. The consortium has also developed ways to refine welcoming practices and use phone applications to provide resources to military families through the Welconnect app (Welconnect.org). Professor Astor is on the scientific advisory board of MCEC, was a lead convener of the Educating the Educator White House Summit with Jill Biden, and leader of the American Educational Research Association’s efforts to educate professors in schools of Education nationally. He is a member of the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association.