Dr. Lawson is Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership, and also Professor of Social Welfare. This joint appointment reflects his interests in partnerships among schools, families, community agencies, neighborhood organizations, governments, businesses, and higher education institutions. Partnerships formed to meet the needs of vulnerable populations and their communities and ones involving laypersons’ leadership and expertise, comprise a special priority. These interests span nearly 40 years of teaching, research, consultation, and service in 5 universities in the United States and Canada.
Lawson regularly serves as a consultant, trainer, evaluator, and capacity-builder for schools, community health and social service agencies, child welfare organizations, universities, and state departments of education. Thanks to support from governments and charitable foundations, he and his colleagues have been able to develop and evaluate timely innovations such as school-linked health and social services integrated with school improvement, school-based and –linked parent and family resource centers, youth-led social services, youth-led school-community partnerships, and P-16 partnerships and planning councils.
Lawson is a Leadership Associate in the National Network for Educational Renewal (founded by John Goodlad). He has served on the International Advisory Board for the Dutch National Institute for Education and Youth Care. He currently serves on the National Advisory Board for the US National Center for Mental Health in Schools. His international experience includes work in Indonesia, Brazil, Iran, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Denmark, England, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Romania, and Canada.
Lawson’s recent grant-related research and development efforts include a family-centered obesity prevention and early intervention program for preschool children and their families; an innovative community school model for school and district turnaround; and a complex policy innovation and evaluation initiative for New York’s consistently, under-performing schools and districts.
In 2013 Lawson was honored by the National School Development Association with a national cooperative leadership award. This award recognized Hal’s research-oriented, consultative services to local school districts.