- Ph.D., Education, UCLA, 1981
Awards, Honors, Fellowships
Member, National Academy of Education
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
The Grawemeyer Award in Education
Commonwealth Club of California Medal in Non-Fiction for “Exceptional Literary Achievement”
Distinguished Teaching Award, UCLA campus-wide
The Spencer Foundation Mentor Program Award
American Educational Research Association Presidential Citation
James R. Squire Award for Outstanding Service from the National Council of Teachers of English
Exemplar Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication
American Educational Research Association Distinguished Lectureship
Distinguished Research Award from the National Council of Research in Language and Literacy
The Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize from the Modern Language Association for Outstanding Research Publication in the Teaching of English Language & Literature
The Conference on College Composition and Communication Outstanding Book Award
Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Academy of Education
National Council of Teachers of English Promising Research Award
Teaching and Research Interests
I am generally interested in thinking and learning and the various methods we use to study, foster, and write about them. This interest plays out in seven different, but not unrelated, ways:
- The study of the factors -- cognitive, linguistic, socio-historical, and cultural -- that enhance or limit people's engagement with written language.
- The study of effective teaching, primarily from a cognitive or socio-cognitive perspective.
- The development of pedagogies and materials to enhance critical reading and writing, particularly at the secondary and post-secondary level, and particularly with "underprepared" or "at risk" populations.
- The educational histories of "non-traditional" college students and the current opportunities or barriers they encounter.
- The study of the cognition involved in various kinds of work, especially the skilled trades -- the problem-solving, trouble-shooting, "informal" reasoning of novice and expert carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, electricians, etc. -- and the interrelation of cognition, skill, and identity.
- I'm interested in helping graduate students become more reflective about the uses of writing in social research: understanding writing as methodology, its relation to the conceptualization of their projects, and the effects various rhetorical choices have on their readers.
- I'm interested in ways to bridge or combine modes of inquiry. How can we in principled ways rethink the barriers that often exist among disciplines, among methodologies, and among scholarly and non-scholarly languages? What sorts of institutional niches, courses, and opportunities can facilitate this rethinking? What does it mean to be systematic and rigorous when one moves outside of the tradition of a discipline or a scholarly mode of communication? How do we bridge the significant rhetorical and political gap between disciplinary inquiry and the public conversation about educational issues?
- "Character Education Is Not Enough to Help Poor Kids," The Christian Science Monitor. (January 13, 2013).
- Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education (New York: New Press, 2012).
- "Ground Zero in the Land of Opportunity," Truthdig. (December 12, 2012).
- "Rethinking Remedial Education and the Academic-Vocational Divide," Mind, Culture, and Activity. (February 2012).
- "What College Can Mean to the Other America," The Chronicle of Higher Education, (September 11, 2011).
- "Making Sparks Fly," American Scholar, (Summer 2011).
- "Untangling the Post-Secondary Education Debate," Education Week, (June 8, 2011).
- "The Mismeasure of Teaching and Learning: How Contemporary School Reform Fails the Test," Dissent, (Spring 2011).
- Why School?: Reclaiming Education For All of Us (New York: New Press, 2009).
- An Open Language: Selected Writing on Literacy, Learning, and Opportunity (Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martins Press, 2006).
- Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1995), paperback (New York: Penguin, 1996). Reprinted with a new preface, 2006.
- The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker (New York: Viking, 2004, Penguin Paperback, 2005).