American Institutes for Research Welcomes New Fellows Focused on Equity in Education and Public Safety

Fellows Bring Expertise in Urban Education and Justice to AIR Equity Initiative

Arlington, Va. – The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is welcoming two nationally renowned scholars as Institute Fellows who will bring their decades of diverse research and policy experience to the AIR Equity Initiative.

The new Fellows are:

  • Odis Johnson Jr., a professor of social policy and STEM equity at Johns Hopkins University and executive director of the Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools. His work focuses on the intersections of social policy, data science and race; and
  • H. Richard (Rich) Milner IV, a professor of education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, immediate past President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and researcher and author on issues of urban education.

In their roles as Institute Fellows, Milner and Johnson will consult on research projects, offer informed perspectives on timely issues, and nurture the growth and development of the next generation of social scientists through mentorships with AIR’s Pipeline Partnership Program fellows and other institution staff. Their contributions will support the AIR Equity Initiative, a five-year, $100+ million investment in research, technical assistance, and partnerships to address the underlying causes of systemic inequities and increase opportunities for people and communities.

“Dr. Milner and Dr. Johnson are prolific scholars who bring a wealth of knowledge in education, policing, the school-to-prison pipeline, and research methods,” said Rashawn Ray, AIR vice president and executive director of the AIR Equity Initiative. “It is an honor to have them join AIR in our journey toward mitigating the harmful effects of segregation by race and place.”   

About the Fellows

Odis Johnson Jr. is a Bloomberg-distinguished professor of social policy and STEM equity at Johns Hopkins University, where he is the executive director of the Hopkins Center for Safe and Healthy Schools, and current designer of the data transparency and accountability infrastructure for Hopkins’ new university police department. Johnson directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) institute in critical quantitative, computational, and mixed methodologies, and serves as co-editor of Sociology of Education, a journal of the American Sociological Association. Johnson’s work at the intersections of social policy, data science, and race has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Joyce Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and NSF. A noted voice for justice and equity, Johnson was mentioned in more than 400 news media outlets in 2022. He will provide methodological guidance and expertise to the AIR Equity Initiative’s work focused on justice in public safety and policing.

H. Richard (Rich) Milner IV is a professor of education in the department of teaching and learning at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. The immediate past president of AERA, Milner has extensive research, teaching and policy experience with a focus on teacher effectiveness in urban schools. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and has won numerous awards for his research and academic leadership. Milner’s work has appeared in numerous journals, and he has authored or edited eight books, including The Race Card: Leading the Fight for Truth in America’s Schools, published in 2023. Milner will advise AIR researchers and technical assistance staff working on advancing equity in education.

About AIR

Established in 1946, with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, the American Institutes for Research® (AIR®) is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education and the workforce. AIR's work is driven by its mission to generate and use rigorous evidence that contributes to a better, more equitable world. With headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, AIR has offices across the U.S. and abroad. For more information, visit

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