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 (by courtesy) 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.
Awards/Honors2013 - Ver Steeg Research Fellowship
2013 - Elected to the National Academy of Education
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., Harris, A., Jones, M., & Mertz, K. (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Opportunities and challenges for taking a distributed perspective: Novice school principals' emerging sense of their new position. British Educational Research Journal.
Spillane, J. P., Hopkins, M., & Sweet, T. (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Inter and intra school instructional networks: Information flow and knowledge production in education systems. American Journal of Education.
Spillane, J. P. (2015). Leadership and learning: Conceptualizing relations between school administrative practice and instructional practice. Societies, 5, : 277-294.
Spillane, J. P., & Lee, L. C. (2014). Novice school principals' sense of ultimate responsibility: Problems of practice in transitioning to the principal's office. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(3): 431-465.
Hopkins, M., Spillane, J. P. (2014). Schoolhouse teacher educators: Structuring beginning teachers' opportunities to learn about instruction. Journal of Teacher Education, 65(4): 327-339.
Spillane, J. P., & Anderson, L. M. (2014). The architecture of anticipation at the intersection of individual, organization, & institution: Novices' emerging understandings of the principal position. Teachers College Record, 116(7): 1-42.
Spillane, J. P., & Hopkins, M. (2013). Organizing for instruction in education systems and school organizations: How the subject matters. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45(6): 721-747.
Hopkins, M., Spillane, J. P., Jakopovic, P., & Heaton, R. M. (2013). Infrastructure redesign and instructional reform in mathematics: Formal structure and teacher leadership. Elementary School Journal, 114(2): 200-224.
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.
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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. (June, 2015). Leading and Managing Instruction in Education Organizations and Systems: Leadership in 3-D. Keynote address given at Redesigning Pedagogy Conference, National Institute of Education. Singapore.
Spillane, J. P. (May, 2015). Liderazgo Distribuido. Presentation given at Diego Portales University. Santiago, Chile.
Spillane, J. P. (February, 2015). Leading and managing instructional improvement: A distributed leadership perspective. Workshop given for the Australian Council of Educational Leaders. Australia.
Spillane, J. P. (February, 2015). Designing educational infrastructures for collaboration: The real challenge of instructional innovation. Presentation given at the Queensland Principals' Conference. Brisbane, Australia.
Spillane, J. P. (February, 2015). Leading and managing instructional innovation in education organizations and systems: Leadership in 3-D. Presentation given at the Queensland Principals' conference. Brisbane, Australia.
Spillane, J. P. (July, 2014). Diagnosing and Designing Organizational Infrastructure: Using a Distributed Perspective. Presentation given at the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, Jones Graduate School of Management, Rice University. Houston, TX.
Spillane, J. P. (May, 2014). Policy & Practice: Implementation, Infrastructure, & Instruction. Presentation given at the Curry Research Lectureship Series, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA.
Spillane, J. P. (March, 2014). Leading & Managing Instruction in Education Organizations and Systems: A Distributed Perspective. Presentation given at the Conference for the Development of Pedagogical Leadership in the “Décolâge!” Community. Ministry of Education and CERI/OECD. Belgium.
Spillane, J. P. (March, 2014). Government Policy, School Administration, & Teaching: Policy Implementation and Infrastructure. Presentation given at Belgian Association of Educational Researchers Seminar, Fondation Universitaire. Brussels.
Spillane, J. P. (February, 2014). Researching & Developing Organizational Leadership (and Management): The Entailments of a Distributed Perspective. Master Class on Leadership at the Royal College of Surgeons. Dublin, Ireland.
Spillane, J. P. (February, 2014). Leadership in 3-D: Diagnosis and Design from a Distributed Perspective. Leadership Symposum 2014: Leadership and Trust: Challenges and Opportunities for Professional Practice. Presentation given at the National University of Ireland. Maynooth.
Spillane, J. P. (January, 2014). Distributed Leadership. Keynote address at Asia Leadership Summit 2014. University of Malaya. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Spillane, J. P. (January, 2014). The practice of improvement: Designing organizational infrastructures for sustainable school and system improvement. Keynote address given at International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) conference. Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Spillane, J. P. (December, 2013). Leading & Managing Instruction in Education Organizations and Systems: A Distributed Perspective. Keynote address at Learning Leadership Conference, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Barcelona, Spain.
Spillane, J. P. (March, 2013). Distributed Leadership. Closing remarks given at Asia Leadership Roundtable. Shanghai, China (People's Republic).
Spillane, J. P. (March, 2013). Rethinking instructional improvement: A distributed perspective on school leadership and management. Keynote given at the Institute of Educational Leadership at the University of Malaya. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Spillane, J. P. (February, 2013). Policy, School Administration and Teaching: Implementation and Infrastructure. Keynote address at Math and Science Partnership Program (MSP), National Science Foundation. Washington, DC.
Spillane, J. P. (November, 2012). Diagnosis and Design for Instructional Improvement: Formal Structure & School Work Practice. Keynote address at the World Association of Lesson Studies conference. Singapore.
Spillane, J. P. (November, 2012). Infrastructure & Practice: Government Policy, School Administrative Practice, & Teaching. Presentation given at the Institute of Education. Hong Kong.
Spillane, J. P (November, 2012). Distributed Leadership: Re- thinking Instructional Improvement Practice. Keynote address at launching ceremony for the Hong Kong Principals Institute. Hong Kong.
Spillane, J. P. (March, 2012). Leadership and Learning in Asia Pacific: Challenges in Research and Practice. Keynote address at Asia Leadership Roundtable. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Spillane, J. P. (September, 2011). Networking about instruction in schools: Personal, professional, and organizational considerations. Keynote address at the School Leadership Symposium. Zug, Switzerland.
Spillane, J. P. (April, 2011). Leadership practice for improvement: Cultivating a diagnostic & design mindset. Keynote address at New Zealand Principals' Federation Annual Meeting. Wellington, New Zealand.
Spillane, 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. (July, 2009). Distributed leadership: A conceptual tool for diagnosing practice and designing for its improvement. Paper presented at the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, Jones Graduate School of Management. Rice University, Houston, TX.
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.
ProjectsCenter for Interactive Knowledge
Distributed Leadership Study
Fostering Research Use in School Districts Through External Partnerships
Learning Leadership Study
Principal Policy and Practice Study
School System Designs and Redesigns: A Comparative Study
Research InterestsPolicy implementation; educational policy; organizational change; school leadership; relations between policy and teachers' and administrators' practice.
|HDSP 435||Advanced Qualitative Methods Co listed LS 451 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||Educational Policy Design (21) School reform has become a regular fixture in public, professional, and academic deliberations about our nation's schools. In the past couple of decades, educational reform proposals have grown significantly as both state and federal governments have become increasingly interested in developing education policies. This course will provide students with an introduction to key issues in K-12 educational policy. The course is designed to develop students' abilities to examine, analyze and critique education policies, education policy-making, and education policy implementation. Further, students will develop an appreciation for issues relating to policy effects. Given the vastness of the terrain, the course will be grounded in three education policy/reform initiatives that have gained considerable currency over the past decade: (1) Standards and Accountability (2) Teacher Quality& (3) School Choice - Vouchers and Charter Schools|
|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.|
|SESP 391||Advanced Research Methods Overview of research methods that may be used to design and implement the honors thesis. Prerequisites: 210 and 372 recommended.|
|2005 - 2008||Institute for Education Sciences, Education Systems and Broad Reform Review Panel|
|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||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|
|2013 - 2014||Irish Educational Studies||Member|
|2013 - 2014||Educational Researcher||Member|
|2011 - 2014||Cognition and Instruction||Member|
|2011 - 2014||American Educational Research Journal||Member|
|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|
Last Updated: 2016-01-21 15:56:12