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 & 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?
“Essay on Challenges Facing the Guided-Pathways Model for Restructuring Two-Year Colleges” Inside Higher Ed (June 23, 2016).
“Vocational Education and the New World of Work,” The Hedgehog Review (Spring, 2016).
“A Conversation with Mike Rose on Writing, Parts 1 & 2,” Kenyon Review online, November 2 & 9, 2015.
“School Reform Fails the Test,” The American Scholar. (Winter, 2015).
Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education (New York: New Press, 2012; paperback edition, 2015).
“Character Education: A Cautionary Note,” Essays on Character and Opportunity, Brookings Institution (October 22, 2014).
The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker (New York: Viking, 2004, Penguin Paperback, 2005). Tenth Anniversary Edition with a new preface, 2014.
Why School?: Reclaiming Education For All of Us (New York: New Press, 2009; Revised edition, 2014).
“Is Teacher Education a Disaster?” The Answer Sheet, in The Washington Post. (January 13, 2014).
“What’s Right–and Very Wrong–with the Teacher Education Debate,” The Answer Sheet, in The Washington Post. (December 16, 2013).
“Why Educating The Educators Is Complex,” The Answer Sheet, in The Washington Post. (December 5, 2013).
“The Inner Life of the Poor,” Dissent. (Summer, 2013).
Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1995), paperback (New York: Penguin, 1996). Reprinted with a new preface, 2006.