Christina Paxson, dean of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and senior editor of the Future of Children, has been selected to serve as the next president of Brown University. The Corporation of Brown University voted on her appointment in a special session on March 2, 2012.
Paxson began her academic career at Princeton University in 1986, becoming assistant professor of economics and public affairs in 1987. She became a full professor in 1997 and was named the Hughes-Rogers Professor of Economics and Public Affairs in 2007. In 2009, she was appointed dean of the Woodrow Wilson School.
Initially working on international economic problems of labor supply, mobility, savings, inequality, and aging, Paxson focused increasingly on the relationship of economic factors to health and welfare over the life course, particularly on the health and welfare of children. In 2000, she founded the Center for Health and Wellbeing, an interdisciplinary research center in the Woodrow Wilson School. The center established multidisciplinary graduate and undergraduate certificate programs in health and health policy. She served as the center’s director until 2009.
In addition, Chris Paxson has been a senior editor at the Future of Children since the journal came from the Packard Foundation to Princeton University and the Brookings Institution in 2004. Paxson has made substantial contributions to the journal as a senior editor and as an issue editor for volumes on Childhood Obesity and Preventing Child Maltreatment.
The idea to bring the Future of Children from Packard to Princeton arose when Paxson and other leaders at Princeton wanted to begin a discussion about community health, which they felt had been hampered by Princeton’s lack of a medical school, said Cecilia Rouse, professor of economic and public affairs at Princeton and senior editor of the Future of Children. (http://www.browndailyherald.com/mobile/paxson-s-economics-cover-broad-range-of-disciplines-1.2711218)
Ron Haskins, senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and Future of Children senior editor, said that Princeton/Brookings won the national competition to work on the Future of Children largely due to Paxson, who wrote an excellent proposal. In the crowded field of economics, Paxson has often stood out for her strong interest in issues of children’s health, Haskins added.
Sara McLanahan, a Princeton professor of sociology and public affairs and Editor-in-Chief of the Future of Children said Paxson’s research elucidates the long-term negative effects of poor childhood health and the way health disparities at early stages continue to widen. She added that Paxson’s determination and humility made her an effective collaborator.
As McLanahan notes in the Providence Journal, Paxson has the ability to “persuade people to go along with her because they trust her. They know she’s really trying to promote the common good as opposed to herself… [She] has a rare combination of great intelligence and humility.” (www.providencejournal.com)
“She’s just so smart, talented — a calm leader with vision,” Cecilia Rouse adds. “It was just a matter of time until someone saw that, and she moved on.”
To read Future of Children volumes Childhood Obesity and Preventing Child Maltreatment, both of which were edited by Christina Paxson, go to: http://www.futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/journals/.