Rabbi David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, awarded Ron A. Astor, Ph.D., with the Doctor of Jewish Communal Service at Graduation Ceremonies in Los Angeles on Monday, May 17, 2010 at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles (3077 University Avenue, Los Angeles). Astor was honored for 25 years of scholarly distinction as an alumnus of HUC-JIR.
Astor is the Thor Professor in Urban Social Development at the University of Southern California in Social Work and the Rossier School of Education. His work examines the role of the social-organization and cultural contexts in schools related to different types of school violence. A portion of his work focuses on large scale nationally representative school violence studies in Israel.
Along with his Israeli partners, Astor works with the Israeli Ministry of Education on national violence prevention strategies. Aspects of his work are currently being used in all 3000 schools in Israel. These were the first set of national representative studies of Jewish children or Arab children on issues of school violence victimization and perpetration. Over 50 countries attended a 2008 UNESCO sponsored conference in Portugal where research and strategies from Israeli schools were highlighted. Several countries are replicating this work due to its success. Findings from his studies have been published in more than 100 scholarly manuscripts across diverse fields. His research has won multiple awards from the American Educational Research Association including Best Book and Best Research Article (twice). He has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar, a H.F. Guggenheim Dissertation Fellow, William T. Grant Foundation Award recipient, and a National Academy of Education/Spencer Fellow.