Milton Chen, PhD
Executive Director and Senior Fellow
Milton Chen is senior fellow and executive director, emeritus at the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF), a nonprofit operating foundation in the San Francisco Bay Area that utilizes its multimedia website, Edutopia.org, and documentary films to communicate a new vision for twenty-first-century schools. Dr. Chen has served as executive director of GLEF for twelve years. During his tenure, GLEF and Edutopia greatly expanded their editorial publishing efforts, including the award-winning Edutopia magazine. Edutopia.org is known as a destination website for educators and others interested in educational innovation and has won numerous honors, including the 2009 Webby People’s Voice Award for best education website.
Dr. Chen’s career has spanned four decades at the intersection of pre-K–12 education, media, and technology. Prior to joining GLEF in 1998, he served for ten years as the founding director of the KQED Center for Education (PBS) in San Francisco. In the 1970s, he was director of research at Sesame Workshop in New York, helping develop Sesame Street, the Electric Company, and 3-2-1 Contact. From 1985 to 1987, Dr. Chen was an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where he taught and conducted research on educational technology. During 2007–08, he was one of thirty-five Fulbright New Century Scholars conducting research on access and diversity issues in higher education and K–12.
Dr. Chen chairs the advisory council for the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania and has been appointed to the National Park System advisory board. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Panasonic Foundation in New Jersey; ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career; and the San Francisco School Alliance.
Dr. Chen’s work has been honored with the Elmo Award from Sesame Workshop and the Fred Rogers Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and by the Congressional Black Caucus and two science centers in the Bay Area—the Exploratorium and the Lawrence Hall of Science. He is the author of more than thirty books, chapters, and articles on educational media. Dr. Chen’s book, Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in Our Schools (Jossey-Bass, 2010), is based on his work at Edutopia.
Dr. Chen received an AB degree in social studies from Harvard College. He also holds MA and PhD degrees in communication research from Stanford University.