James P. Spillane
Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change
Professor, Human Development and Social Policy
Professor, Learning Sciences
Faculty Associate, Institute for Policy Research
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Phone: (847) 467-5577
James P. Spillane is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor in Learning and Organizational Change at the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. He is also professor of Human Development and Social Policy, professor of Learning Sciences, professor of Management and Organizations, and faculty associate at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. Spillane has published extensively on issues of education policy, policy implementation, school reform, and school leadership. His work explores the policy implementation process at the state, district, school, and classroom levels, focusing on intergovernmental and policy-practice relations. He also studies organizational leadership and change, conceptualizing organizational leadership as a distributed practice. Recent projects include studies of relations between organizational infrastructure and instructional advice-seeking in schools and the socialization of new school principals. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Institute of Education Sciences, Spencer Foundation, Sherwood Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York. He has authored several books including Standards Deviation: How Local Schools Misunderstand Policy (Harvard University Press, 2004), Distributed Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2006), Distributed Leadership in Practice (Teachers College Press, 2011) Diagnosis and Design for School Improvement (Teachers College Press, 2011), and numerous journal articles and book chapters. In 2013 he was awarded the Ver Steeg Research Fellowship at Northwestern University.
Curriculum VitaeView James Spillane's CV.
WebsitesDistributed Leadership Study
Principal Policy and Practice Research
Awards/Honors2013 - Ver Steeg Research Fellowship
2006 - Outstanding Professor Award, SESP
|1993||PhD, Curriculum, Teaching and Education Policy||Michigan State University|
|1984||BA, Education and Geography||St. Patrick's College, National University of Ireland|
Selected PublicationsSpillane, J. P., & Hopkins, M. (In Press/Under Review). Organizing for instruction in education systems and school organizations: How the subject matters. Journal of Curriculum Studies.
Spillane, J. P., Kim, C. M., & Frank, K. A. (2012). Instructional advice and information seeking behavior in elementary schools: Exploring tie formation as a building block in social capital development. American Educational Research Journal, 49(6): 1112-1145.
Spillane, J. P. (2012). Data in practice: Conceptualizing the data-based decision-making phenomena. American Journal of Education, 118(2): 113-141.
Spillane, J. P., & Kim, C. M. (2012). An exploratory analysis of formal school leaders’ positioning in instructional advice and information networks in elementary schools. American Journal of Education, 119(1): 73-102.
Spillane, J.P., Parise, L.M. & Sherer, J.Z. (2011). Organizational Routines as Coupling Mechanisms: Policy, School Administration, and the Technical Core. American Educational Research Journal: 48(3): 586-620.
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Spillane, J. P., & Healey, K. (2010). Conceptualizing school leadership and management from a distributed perspective. The Elementary School Journal, 111(2): 253-281.
Spillane, J.P., Pareja, A., Dorner, L., Barnes, C., May, H., Huff, J. Camburn, E. (2010). Mixing methods in randomized controlled trials (RCTs): Validation, contextualization, triangulation, and control. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability.
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Spillane, J.P. and Zuberi, A. (2009). Designing and piloting a leadership daily practice log: Using logs to study the practice of leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly: 375-423.
( Download )
Spillane, J.P. and Diamond, J. (2007). Distributed Leadership in Practice. Teachers College Press.
Spillane, J.P. (2006). Distributed Leadership. Jossey-Bass.
Selected PresentationsSpillane, J.P. (March, 2010). Policy in Practice: Instruction and the School Administrative Infrastructure. Plenary opening session at the National Association of Research on Science Teaching . Philadelphia, PA.
Spillane, J.P. (March, 2010). Education Policy and Classroom Practice: Rethinking School Administration. Annual Lecture in Leadership at the London Centre for Leadership on Learning at the Institute of Education, University of London. London, United Kingdom.
Spillane, J.P. (November, 2008). The Practice of Leading and Managing: Taking a Distributed Perspective. University of Pennsylvania, School of Education. Philadelphia, PA.
Spillane, J.P. (October, 2008). Leading and Managing Our Schools: Taking a Distributed Perspective. University College Cork, National University of Ireland. Cork, Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Spillane, J.P. (October, 2008). Engaging Practice: School Leadership & Management From a Distributed Perspective. Solution Tree International Summit on School Leadership. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Spillane, J.P., Hunt, B. & Healy, K. (September, 2008). Managing and Leading Elementary Schools: Attending to the Formal and Informal Organization. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the European Educational Research Association. Gottenburg, Sweden.
Spillane. J.P. (September, 2008). Classroom Instruction, School Administrative Practice, and Government Policy: Taking a Distributed Perspective. Institute of Education, University of London, England. London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Spillane, J.P. (March, 2008). Using Qualitative Methodologies and Mixed-Method Analysis Techniques to Study Change in Principal Expertise: The Promises and the Problems. Paper presented at AERA annual conference. New York, NY.
Spillane, J.P. & Hunt, B. (March, 2008). School Principals’ Work Practice: Days of Their Lives. Paper presented at American Educational Research Association Conference. New York, NY.
ProjectsDistributed Leadership Study
Learning Leadership Study
Principal Policy and Practice Study
Research InterestsPolicy implementation; educational policy; organizational change; school leadership; relations between policy and teachers' and administrators' practice.
|HDSP 401||Proseminar in Human Development and Social Policy This course aims to introduce graduate students to core theoretical and empirical work in human development and social policy. It is designed to offer first-year students in the Doctoral Program in Human Development and Social Policy (HDSP) an in-depth overview of the intellectual foundations of the program and introduce students to the programs of research of HDSP faculty. HDSP focuses on lifespan development and the life course from multiple perspectives, emphasizing the influence of historical periods, the timing of events, changing roles, and how individuals shape their own pathways in addition to being influenced by individuals around them, by social institutions, and by public policy. HDSP is a multidisciplinary program bringing to bear anthropology, biology, education, economics, political science, psychobiology, psychology, social epidemiology, sociology, and other disciplines to understand human development and policy. HDSP focuses on those contexts that are essential in shaping life trajectories and opportunities—families, neighborhoods, schools, the workplace, and the realm of local, state, federal, and international policies. Students will examine the entailments of taking human development and social policy frameworks to examine social phenomena. They will also consider what makes a human development and social policy framework unique in the study of key social policy issues. Students will also consider the core disciplinary perspectives that inform research in HDSP. Each week students will consider the entailments of a particular disciplinary perspective (e.g., economics, sociology) in framing research in human development and social policy. A central part of this work will involve discussing with core HDSP faculty their research as framed from a particular disciplinary perspective. Our goal in this class is to develop students’ ability to think about pressing social issues (e.g., inequality) from a multi-disciplinary perspective that attends both to human development and social policy.|
|HDSP 435||Advanced Qualitative Methods This course in advanced qualitative research is designed for students who have taken an introductory graduate course in qualitative research methods and are in the process of analyzing qualitative data for their trial research, dissertation, or some other research project. The course will focus chiefly on: a) Analyzing qualitative data to develop and justify assertions. b) Epistemological underpinnings of various qualitative approaches. c) Issues of reliability, validity, and making generalizations. The course will be conducted as a seminar with class work organized around prescribed readings on a particular issue as well as data and other materials from researchers’ and students’ qualitative studies.|
|HDSP 451||Topics: Advanced Qualitative Methods This new graduate seminar will introduce theories of institutional persistence and change in the context of public, private, and nonprofit settings. The course is organized as a seminar and will blend foundational studies in institutional theory with contemporary work, from sociology, organization sciences, education and nonprofit studies. An overarching theme of the course addresses how new practices and organizational forms spread (diffusion), how they stick (institutionalization) and how they take the form that they do (emergence). Topics covered will include accountability and performance; organizational learning; contemporary debates about social mechanisms, and micro-foundations of institutional theory. Ideally, this course will provide a platform for students to develop and advance their own research projects, in the form of a research proposal, for beginning doctoral students, or an empirical analysis for more advanced students.|
|LRN_SCI 402||Social Dimensions of Teaching and Learning This is an introductory course on the social dimensions of cognition and learning for graduate students. Its purpose is to introduce students to some core constructs and some theorizing about the social dimensions of human learning and cognition – children and adults – both in formal and informal learning settings. It provides a selective overview of some of the key debates in the field enabling students to identify particular areas for more focused study. The course is divided into two sections. The first section surveys the landscape and introduces students to some core theorizing on the social dimensions of cognition and learning. We will focus on four broad and sometimes overlapping attempts to theorize the social – situated cognition, socio-cultural activity theory, distributed cognition, and a sociological perspective. Our primary goal here is not to find the one best theory of the social but rather to examine the particulars of different theories, compare and contrast their theorizing, analyze how they define (or fail to do so) key constructs, and consider the implications of these theories for empirical research on human cognition and learning. The second section of the course engages students with selected empirical work on children and adult learning in formal and informal settings. Our goal here is to interrogate these studies in light of the theoretical work we considered in the first part of the course. Specifically, we want to begin to understand how researchers operationalize constructs and theories about the social dimensions of human cognition and learning (or fail to do so) in order that we can learn how we can approach empirical studies of the social dimensions of human cognition and learning. A central goal of this course is to learn how to ask research questions about the role of social contexts in learning and cognition, how to conceptualize and frame such research investigations, how to operationalize key constructs for research purposes and how to interrogate the extant literature in an informed manner. By the end of the course students should have an appreciation for key constructs and core theories in the social dimensions of human cognition and learning.|
|LRN_SCI 451||Topics: Advanced Qualitative Methods This course in advanced qualitative research is designed for students who have taken an introductory graduate course in qualitative research methods and are in the process of analyzing qualitative data for their trial research, dissertation, or some other research project. The course will focus chiefly on: a) Analyzing qualitative data to develop and justify assertions. b) Epistemological underpinnings of various qualitative approaches. c) Issues of reliability, validity, and making generalizations. The course will be conducted as a seminar with class work organized around prescribed readings on a particular issue as well as data and other materials from researchers’ and students’ qualitative studies.|
|2005 - 2008||
Institute for Education Sciences, Education Systems and Broad Reform Review Panel
Grant Review Panel
|2005 - 2008||
National Academy of Sciences
Board on Science Education
|2005 - 2008||Institute for Education Sciences, Education Systems and Broad Reform Review Panel|
Spencer Foundation, NSF
Reviewed for the Spencer Foundation
|2005 - 2006||
National Academy of Sciences
Board on Science Education
|2006 - Present||
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
|2006 - Present||Steering Committee for the Consortium for Chicago School Research|
|2006 - Present||
Spencer Large Grants Program
|2006 - Present||
Education Development Center
|2008 - Present||
Spencer Foundation, NSF
Grant Review Panel Participation
|2008||Sociology of Education, Educational Researcher, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Journal of Research on Science Teaching, Science Education, Journal of School Leadership, Teaching and Teacher Education||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2006||Leadership Model for Improving Adolescent Literacy, Florida State University||Advisory Board Member|
|2006||Journal of School Leadership||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2006||Journal of Research on Science Teaching||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2006||Educational Researcher||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2006||Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2005||Spencer Large Grants Program||Reviewer|
|2005||Science Education||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2005||Journal of Research on Science Teaching||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2005||Educational Researcher||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2005||Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis||Manuscript Reviewer|
|2006||School Leadership and Management||Member|
|2006||Leadership & Policy in Schools||Member|
|2006||Journal of Research on Science Teaching||Member|
|2005||Journal of School Leadership||Member|
|2005||Irish Educational Studies||Member|
|2005||Cognition and Instruction||Member|
Last Updated: 2013-09-30 16:10:25