May 21 2009
3:30pm - 5:00pm,
Cynthia E. Coburn, Assistant Professor of education at Berkeley, uses the tools of organizational sociology to understand the relationship between instructional policy and teachers' classroom practices in urban schools. She has studied these issues in the context of state and national reading policy, attempts to scale-up innovative school reform programs, and district-wide professional development initiatives. Current projects include a study of the role of school leaders in mediating between reading policy and teachers' classroom practice. The study brings an analysis of power, authority, and knowledge into scholarship on teachers' interpretation of instructional policy. She also co-directs a cross-case study of innovative efforts to reconfigure the relationship between research and practice for school improvement. As part of that project, she studies an effort to redesign school districts to foster evidence-based practice and decision making. Finally, she is engaged in a study of the role of teachers' social networks in the scale-up of ambitious mathematics curricula in two urban districts. Coburn was the recipient of a Spencer Foundation national dissertation fellowship in 1999, won the 2002 Award for Outstanding Dissertation from Division L (policy and politics) of the American Educational Research Associations, and received the 2006 Palmer O. Johnson Award for outstanding publication from the American Educational Research Association for her research on non-system actors and reading policy. Recent work has been published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, Sociology of Education, and Educational Policy. At Berkeley, she teaches Ph.D. students in POME and school and district leaders in the Leadership for Educational Equity Doctoral Program (LEEP).