Research and teaching interests
My scholarship both reflects and informs my understanding of the relationships among individual, institutional and global contexts and teaching and learning. My early work focused on conducting classroom-based action research with teachers as a form of professional development. My research then shifted to the examination of interactions among educators' professional decisions and choices and the institutional and social contexts within which those decisions are made. I have studied women principals through these lenses and completed a ten-year longitudinal study of college students' life and career choices. I have also explored the role of teaching and teacher education in the context of the liberal arts setting. I was recently awarded a four-year grant, the Eldridge Fellowship, to integrate my emerging work with urban teacher leaders (initially funded by the Ford Foundation through the Consortium for Excellence in Teacher Education) with my Swarthmore courses and seminars.
In the past 10 years, my interests have come to include the impact of local, national and global contexts on education. A Fulbright award to England in 1989 provided me with a beginning comparative perspective for these ideas; subsequent work in Indonesia in 2005 and 2006 and trips to China and South Africa have allowed me to examine these issues within a more global framework. I also explore the advantages and dilemmas inherent in using qualitative research methods, in particular ethnography, life history, and classroom based action research as a way of bringing previously unheard voices and frameworks of
meaning making into the field.
Most of my courses are interdisciplinary, drawing on work in the fields of Psychology, Sociology and History. In courses and seminars such as Comparative Education, Adolescence, Gender and Education, and Social and
Cultural Perspectives in Education my goal is to help students examine the interactions among individuals, institutions, and social contexts. I am interested in exploring - and having students explore - the role of schools as social institutions that can both contribute to and simultaneously challenge existing
social constructs and power relationships.
Garrod, Andrew, Smulyan, Lisa, Powers, Sally, and Kilkenny, Robert. Adolescent Portraits: Identity, Relationships and Challenges. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 2011, 2007, 2005, 2002, 1999, 1995, 1992.
Smulyan, Lisa (2007) 'The power of a teacher': Teacher education for social justice. In C. Bjork, D Johnston, and H. Ross (eds.) Taking Teaching Seriously. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers
Schultz, K. and Smulyan, L. (2007) Listening as translation: Reflections on professional development work in a cross-cultural setting. Learning Inquiry, 1(2).
Skelton, Christine, Francis, Becky, and Smulyan, Lisa (eds.) (2006). Handbook of Gender and Education. London: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Smulyan, Lisa. (2004) Redefining self and success: Becoming teachers and doctors. Gender and Education. 16(2).
Smulyan, Lisa. (2004) Choosing to teach: Resisting a gendered identity. Teachers College Record. (106)3.
Smulyan, Lisa. Balancing Acts: Women Principals at Work. State University of New York Press. (2000).
Oja, Sharon N. and Smulyan, Lisa. Collaborative Action Research: A Developmental Process. London: Falmer Press, 1989.
EDUC 014 Introduction to Education
EDUC 016 Supervision of Student Teachers
EDUC 017 Curriculum and Methods
EDUC 023 Adolescence
EDUC 061 Gender and Education
EDUC 064 Comparative Education
EDUC 065 Educational Research for Social Change
EDUC 131 Social and Cultural Perspectives in Education (seminar)