Inquiry Magazine Northwestern School of Education and Social Policy

FAll 2014

New Faculty

Jolie Matthews

Jolie Matthews earned her PhD at Stanford University, where she studied learning sciences and technology design. Her research examines learning and norms in online communities.

Terri Sabol

Terri Sabol, who has a PhD from the University of Virginia, has been a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. Her research focuses on improving early childhood education.

Shirin Vossoughi

Shirin Vossoughi, who was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and the San Francisco Exploratorium, earned her PhD at University of California-Los Angeles. She uses ethnographic methods to study literacy learning and educational rights.


Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Administration for Children and Families, “CareerAdvance: A Dual-Generation Program’s Effects on Families and Children,” $496,956.

Cynthia Coburn, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, “Scaling Up Digital Media,” $150,000.

Mesmin Destin, American Psychological Association, “The Cognitive and Self-Regulatory Costs of Switching between Distinct Identities,” $1,000.

Kemi Jona, Hewlett-Packard Company and International Society for Technology in Education, “Project Access,” $100,000; Jona and Reed Stevens, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, “FUSE,” $376,824.

Steven McGee, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, “Northwestern University Leadership Academy for Science Improvement,” $49,999.

Douglas Medin, Air Force Office of Scientific Research and New School, “The Mutual Influence of Sacred Values and Social Responsibilities in Governance and Conflict Management,” $115,068.

Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, “Extension of Programming for High School Students in Project Excite, $50,000.

Diane Schanzenbach, Department of Agriculture and Purdue University, “Credit Access and Supermarket Consumption amongst the Liquidity Constrained,” $17,500; Spencer Foundation, “School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement,” $305,468.

Reed Stevens, Joan Ganz Cooney Center for Educational Media and Research, Inc. and Bezos Family Foundation, “Learning across Networked and Emergent Spaces,” $22,669.

Uri Wilensky, National Science Foundation, “A Low-Cost Integrated Agent-Based Modeling and Physical Computing Platform,” $96,188; Sanford Goldberg and Wilensky, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, “What Do We Know?” $175,000.


Cynthia Coburn was named chair of educational change at the Universidad Diego Portales in Santiago, Chile.

Fay Lomax Cook was selected by the National Science Foundation to head its Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences.

Tim Dohrer was named to the advisory board for the Charmm’d Foundation, which focuses on social-emotional learning.

David Figlio gave the Leonid Hurwicz Lecture at the Warsaw International Economic Meeting in Poland.

Claudia Haase became a faculty associate at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research.

Larry Hedges received the American Education Research Association Presidential Citation for research excellence.

Michael Horn and Reed Stevens won second place at the Games+ Learning+Society conference for their Turn Up the Heat energy game. Horn also won two best paper awards at the Interaction Design and Children conference in Denmark, one with Uri Wilensky.

Carol Lee received the Dogon Award from the DuSable Museum in Chicago.

Dan McAdams was chosen to be a master lecturer for the American Psychological Association’s 2015 convention.

James Spillane was keynote speaker at the International Learning Leadership Conference in Barcelona and the International Congress for School Effectiveness in Indonesia. He was also a featured speaker at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin.

New Center to Study Education Leaders’ Use of Research

James Spillane and Cynthia Coburn

The Institute of Education Sciences awarded nearly $5 million to SESP, along with the University of Colorado and Harvard University, to create a new national center that will study how educational leaders— including school district supervisors and principals—use research when making decisions.

The new National Center for Research in Policy and Practice, which is the first of its kind, will also study what can be done to make research findings more useful and relevant for education leaders.

“There’s not much research on how educational leaders actually use research and the social and organizational conditions that enable or constrain this. We see the Center as an opportunity to bring greater research to the national discussion of research use,” says professor Cynthia Coburn, who is leading the project for Northwestern with professor James Spillane.

Michael Novak Wins Golden Apple Award

Adjunct Instructor Michael Novak Wins Golden Apple Award

A college instructor rarely wins a teaching award for middle school, but it happened to Michael Novak, an eighth-grade teacher and an adjunct faculty member for the School of Education and Social Policy (SESP).

Novak is one of 10 Chicago-area teachers to win the 2014 Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence, selected from more than 620 nominees. He teaches mathematics and science at Park View School in Morton Grove, Illinois, and has been a member of the SESP community since 2004. At SESP, Novak has co-taught classes in learning sciences and science methods and also collaborates on research projects with professor Brian Reiser.


David Figlio, Jonathan Guryan, K. Karbownick and J. Roth (2014), “The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children’s Cognitive Development,” American Economic Review.

Claudia Haase (2014), “Emotion Regulation in Intimate Relationships,” ISSBD Bulletin; M. Wirth, Haase, S. Villeneuve, J. Vogel and W. J. Jagust (2014), “Neuroprotective Pathways,” Neurobiology of Aging; R. W. Levenson, V. E. Sturm and Haase (2014), “Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms in Neurodegenerative Disease,” Annual Review of Clinical Psychology.

E. Manczak, C. Zapata-Gietl and Dan McAdams (2014) “Regulatory Focus in the Life Story,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; K. S. Cox and McAdams (2014), “Making Meaning during High and Low Point Life Story Episodes Predicts Emotion Regulation Two Years Later,” Journal of Research in Personality.

David Rapp, S. R. Hinze, K. Kohlhepp and R. A. Ryskin (2014), “Reducing Reliance on Inaccurate Information,” Memory & Cognition; Rapp, Hinze, Slaten and Horton (2014), “Amazing Stories,” Discourse Processes.

E. Manczak, C. Zapata-Gietl and Dan McAdams (2014), “Regulatory Focus in the Life Story,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology; B. Jones and McAdams (2013), “Becoming Generative,” Journal of Adult Development; McAdams (2013), “Life Authorship,” Emerging Adulthood.

Kimberly Scott (2014), “A Multilevel Analysis of Problem-Based Learning Design Characteristics,” Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem- Based Learning.

James Spillane and M. Hopkins (2013), “Organizing for Instruction in Education Systems and School Organizations,” Journal of Curriculum Studies; Spillane and L. M. Anderson (2013), “Administration des Ecoles, Respect des Normes Gouvernementales et Obligation de Résultats à Forts Enjeux,” Education et Sociétiés.