Ispa-Landa Named Associate Professor

Ispa-Landa Named Associate Professor

Simone Ispa-Landa, associate professor of human development and social policySimone Ispa-Landa, associate professor of human development and social policy

Northwestern University education sociologist Simone Ispa-Landa received tenure and was promoted to associate professor of human development and social policy in the School of Education and Social Policy beginning Sept. 1, 2019.

Ispa-Landa researches race, gender, and discipline. In 2018, she began investigating racial inequities in school discipline, supported by a five-year William T. Grant Foundation grant.

Schools often adopt a new disciplinary policy without removing or considering the impacts of existing ones. “Most schools with restorative justice programs keep exclusionary school punishments like suspensions as an option,” she says. “But scholars haven’t yet explored how students are directed into these very different disciplinary channels.”

Ispa-Landa is exploring how these disparate methods affect students of different races, how school staff decides between multiple options, and what type is punishment is developmentally appropriate for a teenager.

“Simone shows how well-meaning programs can have unintended consequences and looks for ways to accomplish the goals of those programs,” said David Figlio, dean of the School of Education and Social Policy. “She exemplifies the Northwestern direction of reaching across disciplines to find actionable solutions to the world's most challenging problems.”

In addition to uncovering racial and gender inequality in schooling, Ispa-Landa researches criminal records, stigma, and employment. She has previously studied the everyday experiences of Black students in an urban-to-suburban busing program and the leadership styles of principals who are white women and women of color.  

As a 2018-19 fellow with the Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship program, Ispa Landa published opinion pieces based on her work in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report and other publications.

Ispa-Landa recently received a William T. Grant Scholar Mentoring grant to support junior researchers of color. In 2018, she received the Northwestern Women’s Center 30th Anniversary Gender Equity in Action Faculty Award in 2018.

She is a board member of the Sociology of Education Association and on the editorial board of the journal Gender & Society. Ispa-Landa received her PhD in sociology from Harvard University, where she was mentored by prominent sociologists Orlando Patterson, Christopher Winship, William Julius Wilson, and Robert Sampson.

In addition to the William T. Grant Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Spencer Foundation have provided funding for her work.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 10/2/19