The Riley Institute

Named for former U.S. Secretary of Education and former South Carolina Governor Dick Riley, the Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, broadening student and community perspectives on critical issues, hosting expert speakers, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change.

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The Riley Institute was founded in 1999 at Furman University with the dual objectives of advancing social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond and providing unmatched opportunities for Furman students.

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Broadening perspectives around pressing contemporary policy issues, the Riley Institute hosts expert speakers and scholars on the university’s campus as well as across South Carolina. Hundreds of expert speakers have spoken at Riley Institute events since its founding in 1999.

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The Riley Institute’s Center for Diversity Strategies recognizes excellence in diversity leadership and equips leaders and community stakeholders with the tools needed to harness the power of diversity in their organizations and communities, drive positive change, and enhance the economic and civic vitality of South Carolina.

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The Institute’s research consultancy promotes evidence-informed practices and policies and supports entities that serve children and families across the state. It provides external research and evaluation services, serves as an evaluation partner, and helps organizations build strategic learning skills.

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The Riley Institute’s Center for Education Policy and Leadership supports and recognizes highly effective and innovative approaches to public education, from afterschool and summer learning to public school Montessori, that drive better and more equitable outcomes for all the people of South Carolina and beyond.

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For students wanting to become thought leaders, learning from one of the 20th Century’s top presidential cabinet members is not a bad place to start. The Riley Institute cultivates leaders among students and broadens perspectives about issues critical to progress in South Carolina and beyond.

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Public Education Blog

Evidence Matters | Teacher Retention: The Power of Belief

January 29, 2024 In our most recent series, we examined the numbers underlying the national teacher shortage. While most can agree that this shortage is something that needs to be addressed, there has historically been...

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Evidence Matters | Coming Up Short: Reframing the Teaching Profession

November 30, 2023 In the first two posts of our Coming Up Short series, we focused on understanding the numbers behind the teacher shortage, as well as the “why” behind those numbers. In our final...

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Evidence Matters | Coming Up Short: Understanding the “Why” Behind the Teacher Shortage

November 16, 2023 As we discussed in our last post, understanding the numbers behind the teacher shortage—particularly when it comes to shortages in certain subject areas or geographic regions—is an important first step in addressing...

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Latest Riley Institute News

WYFF 4: Furman University names new South Carolina class of leaders for education fellowship

February 8, 2024  The SCALE fellowship empowers South Carolina's after-school leaders with research-based practices in a enriching ten-month program. Learn more about SCALE in a segment produced by WYYF 4. Watch the video from WYFF...

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Twenty-two Fellows Selected for 2024 South Carolina Afterschool Leaders Empowered (SCALE) Fellowship

FOR INFORMATION: Claudia Winkler Director of Marketing and Communications The Riley Institute at Furman University 864.294.3368; Claudia.winkler@furman.edu   January 29, 2024 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Twenty-two Fellows Selected for 2024 South Carolina Afterschool Leaders Empowered...

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Forty-eight Midlands Leaders Join Diversity Leaders Initiative

FOR INFORMATION: Claudia Winkler Director of Marketing and Communications The Riley Institute at Furman University 864.294.3368; Claudia.winkler@furman.edu   January 24, 2024 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FORTY-EIGHT MIDLANDS LEADERS JOIN DIVERSITY LEADERS INITIATIVE An award-winning program...

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