330 Wulling Hall
56 Plesant St SE
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2016, educational policy and administration (CIDE)
M.Ed., University of Minnesota, 2001, second languages and cultures education
B.A., Luther College, 1997, anthropology and philosophy
Areas of Interest
Comparative and International Education
Inequalities, Equity and Education
Gender and Development
Schooling in East Africa
Pedagogies, Practices and Curricula
My research examines how schooling can support equity and well-being, as well as reinscribe existing inequities, in both international and domestic contexts. My recent research explores the interplay of education and women’s empowerment as developed at one all-girls’ secondary school in Tanzania and lived by seven women who attended it. This is a longitudinal, ethnographic exploration of the rationales and production of curricula, pedagogies and practices that draw on global, national and local notions of empowerment and education. Additionally, through employing a life history approach, my study illuminates the tensions, vulnerabilities, feats and aspirations in these young women’s lives while examining the roles that schooling has played, or not played, in their pursuit of increased well-being and security, thus underscoring the significance of emotional and social learning through schooling. This work has drawn on my work as a co-PI, together with Joan DeJaeghere, on our study entitled, “Girls learning to negotiate adolescence, gender relations and material needs” as well as my previous work serving as the lead qualitative fellow for the Learn, Earn and Save Initiative in East Africa, an evaluation and learning project headed by Dr. DeJaeghere and Dr. Chapman and supported by the MasterCard Foundation. As a practitioner, I have worked at the nexus of education, gender and development with institutions such as CARE, Miske Witt and Associates, UNGEI and USAID. I previously worked as an English language teacher and coordinator in diverse high school settings, ranging from rural Tanzania to urban Minneapolis, and am currently working with teacher candidates on issues of equity and pedagogy.
- University of Minnesota International Thesis Research Grant (2015)
- MasterCard Foundation Fellowship (Learn, Earn and Save Initiative for Youth Livelihoods in East Africa Fellow, 2011-2015)
- Bush Foundation Fellowship (Teacher Education Redesign Initiative Project Fellow, 2014-2015)
- Comparative and International Education Society
- American Anthropological Society
- Gender and Education Association
Wangsness Willemsen, L. & Ndesamburo Kwayu, A. (2016). Peers, sexual agency and relationships in Tanzania. In J. DeJaeghere, J. Josic & K. S. McCleary (Eds.), Education and youth agency: Qualitative case studies in global contexts (pp. 173-191.) Basel, Switzerland: Springer International.
DeJaeghere, J., Wiger, N. P., & Wangsness Willemsen, L. (2016). Broadening educational outcomes: Social relations, skills development, and employability for youth. Comparative Education Review, 60(3), 457-479.
Wangsness Willemsen, L. (2016). Embodying empowerment: Gender, schooling, relationships and life history in Tanzania. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation.) Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.
Willemsen, L. W., & DeJaeghere, J. (2015). Learning to negotiate sexual relationships: A girls’ school in Tanzania as a restrictive and agentic site. Gender and Education, 27(2), 183-197.
Monkman, K. & Willemsen, L. (2015). CARE Cambodia: Patsy Collins Trust Fund Initiative Final Evaluation Report for CARE USA. Saint Paul, MN: Miske Witt & Associates.
Willemsen, L. W., Krause, B., Jaafar, A. and Pellowski Wiger, N., with Chapman, D. & DeJaeghere, J. (2014). The MasterCard Foundation Learn, Earn, and Save Initiative: Year 3 synthesis report for Parka. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development.
Miske, S., with Vavrus, F., Wilkinson, M. & Willemsen, L. (2013). Exploring the Gendered Dimensions of Teaching and Learning. Background paper for United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative’s contribution for Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2013/2014. New York, NY: United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative.
Willemsen, L., Krause, B., Timiri, H., Weiss, T., & Nkhoma, M., with Chapman, D., DeJaeghere, J., & Pellowski Wiger, N. (2013). The MasterCard Foundation Learn, Earn, and Save Initiative: Synthesis report for Parka Year 2 Findings. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development.
Willemsen, L., Krause, B., & Weiss, T., with Chapman, D., DeJaeghere, J., & Pellowski Wiger, N. (2012). The MasterCard Foundation Learn, Earn, and Save Initiative: Synthesis report for Parka. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development.
Monkman, K. & Wangsness Willemsen, L. (2016, March). Community survival in northeast Cambodia: Educating girls as a strategic element of CARE’s work. Paper presented at Comparative and International Education Society, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Nkhoma, M. N. & Wangsness Willemsen, L. (2015, March). Learning and practicing care in a Tanzanian secondary school. Paper presented at Comparative and International Education Society Conference, Washington, DC.
Wangsness Willemsen, L. (2014, October). Life history as a methodology for CIE: Possibilities, tensions and an example from Tanzania. Paper presented at Comparative and International Education Society Regional Conference, Bloomington, Indiana.
Wangsness Willemsen, L. & Nikoi, A. (2014, March) Enacting intrinsic empowerment. Paper presented at Comparative and International Education Society, Toronto, Ontario.
Nikoi, A., Kahuria, A., Johnstone, C., Eschenbacher, H., & Willemsen, L. (2012, June). Toward a model of experiential, field-based and supportive learning in formal and non-formal education programs in East Africa. Paper presented at International Interdisciplinary Conference, Nairobi, Kenya.
Wangsness Willemsen, L. & DeJaeghere, J. (2013, April). Tanzanian girls negotiating transactional sex, adolescent desire and material needs. Paper presented at Gender and Education Conference, London, UK.
Wangsness Willemsen, L., Nikoi, A., & DeJaeghere, J. (2013, March). The role of peer and adult relationships in empowering youth in education. Paper presented at Comparative International Education Society, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Cakici, H., Pellowski Wiger, N. & Willemsen, L. (2012, October). Multi-cultural data collection and analysis in a dynamic and complex environment. Paper presented at American Evaluation Association, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Updated November 1, 2016