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330 Wulling Hall
86 Pleasant Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-3377

Undergraduate Studies:
612-624-3640
ugolpd@umn.edu

Graduate Studies:
612-624-1006
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Seashore

Karen Seashore

Regents professor; Director of undergraduate studies; Robert Holmes Beck Chair of Ideas in Education


Ph.D., Columbia University, 1975, sociology
B.A., Swarthmore College, 1967, history

Org Leadership, Policy & Dev
310D WullH
86 Pleasant St S E
Tel: 612/626-8971

Areas of Interest

Organizational theory
Planned change
Schools and universities as workplaces
Leadership and administration

Profile

My primary research interests focus on school improvement and school reform, although I do some teaching and advising in all areas of educational policy and administration. My main area of expertise includes improvement in K-12 leadership and policy over the last 30 years, particularly in urban secondary schools. I also conduct research on organizational changes within higher education, with particular attention to faculty roles, and on international comparative policy in educational reform. My interest in evaluation is a long-standing, and has emphasized in the assessment of large-scale educational programs and policies.

As a sociologist, I tend to look at educational reform through the lens of organizational theory, with an emphasis on the interaction between culture and structure. One of the most intriguing issues sociologists currently grapple with is the implication of chaos theory for socially constructed groups. For those of us who are empirical in our orientation, it's difficult to accept that we can explain certain dynamics, but can't create the environment to make things happen with a large degree of predictability.

My research in higher education is influenced not only by theory, but also by my experience in administration (I have served as department chair, associate dean, and director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement). As a self-confessed faculty governance junky, I consider my work on college and university committees to be a form of participant observation!

I work with both the department's undergraduate leadership minor and with graduate students. I like to look for challenges to the way I approach research and teaching on a regular basis, and a lot of these come from students. I particularly enjoy the face-to-face interaction with doctoral students, and helping them refine their areas of research.

I love working in a collaborative and intellectually lively environment that marries public service and scholarly research in a meaningful way. The Department and the University provide me with wonderful and ever-changing opportunities that ensure that I will never be bored with my job as a professor.

View Setting the Stage presentation.

"In this presentation, Dr. Karen Seashore Louis from the Advancement of Teaching and Learning department of the University of Minnesota summarizes her own and others' research in three areas: professional community for teachers, organizational learning in schools, and the development of trust among all stakeholders. Her presentation shows the relationship between these three arenas using case studies of real schools. Seashore Louis emphasizes the important role of teacher and administrator leadership in creating synergy among these three elements in order to promote high-quality instruction and student learning." Posted on the Teachers Working Conditions website.

Research

  • National study linking leadership at state, district, and school levels to student learning
  • Study of professional and ethical values in graduate school
  • Study of academic-industry relations in science

Professional Affiliations

Selected Publications

  1. Lee, M., Louis, K. S. & Anderson, S. (2012). Local education authorities and student learning: The effects of policies and practices. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 23(2), 133-158.

  2. Louis, K. S. & Velzen, B. van (2012). Educational Policy in an international context: Political culture and its effects. New York: Palgrave/McMillan.

  3. Earl, L. & Louis, K. S. (2012). Data use: Where to from Here? In K. Schildkamp, M. Lin, & L. Earl (Eds.), Data driven decision making in education: Challenges and opportunities (pp. 193-204). Dordrecht, NL: Springer.

  4. Louis, K. S. (2012). Conducting research on leadership and change in education. In C. Conrad & R. Serlin (Eds.), Handbook on research in education (pp. 429-448). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

  5. Louis, K. S. (2012). Learning communities in learning schools: Developing the social capacity for change. In C. Day (Ed.), International handbook of teacher and school development (pp. 477-492). Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

  6. Louis, K. S. & Robinson, V. (2012). External mandates and instructional leadership: principals as mediating agents. Journal of Educational Administration, 50(5), 629-665.

  7. Leithwood, K. & Louis, K. S. (2011). Linking leadership to student learning: Empirical insights. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

  8. Louis, K. S. (2010). The role of professional community for teachers in service learning programs. In S. Root (Ed.) Growing to greatness. St. Paul: National Youth Service Leadership Council. Retreived from http://www.nylc.org/sites/nylc.org/files/G2G2010_0.pdf.

  9. Leithwood, K., Louis, K. S., Wahlstrom, K., Anderson, S., Mascall, B., & Gordon, M. (2010). How successful leadership influences student learning: A second installment of a longer story. In A. Hargreaves, D. Hopkins, M. Fullan, & A. Lieberman (Eds.), International handbook of educational change (2nd ed., pp. 611-630). New York: Springer.

  10. Louis, K. S. (2010). Better schools through better knowledge? New understanding, new uncertainty. In A. Hargreaves, D. Hopkins, M. Fullan, & A. Lieberman (Eds.), International handbook of educational change (2nd ed., pp. 3-28). New York: Springer.

  11. Dexter, S., Louis, K. S., & Anderson, R. (2010). The role of expertise in teamed instructional leadership. Journal of School Leadership, 19(4), 445-464.

  12. Louis, K. S., Thomas, E., & Anderson, S. (2010). How do states influence leadership in small districts? Educational Policy and Leadership, 9(3), 328–366.

  13. Louis, K. S., Dretzke, B. & Wahlstrom, K. (2010). How does leadership affect student achievement? Results from a national U.S. Survey. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 21(3), 315-336.

  14. Kruse, S. D., & Louis, K. S. (2009). Building strong school cultures: A guide to leading change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

  15. Louis, K. S., Gordon, M., Meath, J., & Thomas, E. (2009). The roots of difference in educational policy: A three-state analysis. In B. Cooper & B. Fusarelli (Eds.), The rising state (pp. 156-173). Albany: SUNY Press.

  16. Louis, K. S., Mayrowetz, D., Smiley, M., & Murphy, J. (2009). The role of sensemaking and trust in developing distributed leadership. In A. Harris (Ed.), Distributed leadership: Different perspectives. (Vol. 7, pp. 157-180). Netherlands: Spinger. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-9737-9

  17. Gordon, M., & Louis, K. S. (2009). Linking parent and community involvement with student achievement: Comparing principal and teacher perceptions of stakeholder influence. American Journal of Education, 116(1), 1-32.

  18. Murphy, J., Mayrowetz, D., Smylie, M., & Louis, K. S. (2009). The role of the principal in fostering the development of distributed leadership. School Leadership and Management, 29(2), 181-214.

  19. Louis, K. S. (2009). Leadership and change in schools: Personal reflections over the last 30 years [10th anniversary special edition]. Journal of Educational Change, 10(2), 129-140.

  20. Wahlstrom, K., & Louis, K. S. (2008). How teachers perceive principal leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(4), 498-445.

  21. Louis, K. S., Thomas, E., Gordon, M., & Febey, K. (2008). Does state leadership matter? An analysis of three states. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(4), 562-592.

  22. Simsek, H., & Louis, K. S. (2008). Teacher unions, new unionism, and shifting cultural metaphors. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 31, 93-114.

  23. Louis, K. S. (2008). Learning to support school improvement: Next steps for research on district practice. American Journal of Education, 114, 681-690.

  24. Smylie, M., Mayrowetz, D., Murphy, J., & Louis, K. S. (2008). Trust and the development of distributed leadership. Journal of School Leadership, 17(4), 469-503.

  25. Louis, K. S., Holdsworth, J., Anderson, M., & Campbell, E. (2008). Everyday ethics in research: Translating authorship guidelines into practice in the bench sciences. Journal of Higher Education, 79(1), 88-112.

  26. Mayrowetz, D., Murphy, J., Louis, K. S., & Smylie, M. A. (2008). Conceptualizing distributed leadership as a school reform: Revisiting job redesign theory. In K. Leithwood (Ed.), Distributed leadership according to the evidence (pp. 167-196). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

  27. Febey, K., & Louis, K. S. (2008). Perspectives on policy cultures in three states. In B. Cooper, L. Fusarelli, & J. Cibulka (Eds.), Handbook of education politics and policy (pp. 52-72). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

  28. Louis, K. S. (2008). Creating and sustaining professional communities. In R. Coles & A. Blankenstein (Eds.), Sustaining learning communities (pp. 41-57). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

  29. Louis, K. S., Anderson, M., & Campbell, E. (2007). Becoming a scientist: The effects of workgroup size and climate. Journal of Higher Education, 78(3), 311-330.

  30. Mayrowetz, D., Murphy, J., Louis, K. S., & Smylie, M. (2007). Distributed leadership as work redesign: Retrofitting the job characteristics model. Educational Policy and Leadership, 6(1), 69-103.

  31. Louis, K. S. (2007). Trust and improvement in schools. Journal of Educational Change, 6(1), 1-24.

  32. Stoll, L., & Louis, K. S. (Eds.). (2007). Professional learning communities: Divergence, depth and dilemmas. London/New York: Open University Press/McGraw Hill.

  33. Louis, K. S. (2007). Managing complex change: Bringing meso-politics back in. In M. Wallace, M. Fertig, & E. Schnelling (Eds.), Managing change in the public services (pp. 97-115). Oxford: Blackwell.

  34. Kruse, S., & Louis, K. S. (2007). Building professional community from the top-down: A reflective case study. In L. Stoll & K. S. Louis (Eds.), Professional learning communities: Divergence, detail and dilemmas. London: Open University Press.

  35. Vogeli, C., Yucel, R., Bendavid, A., Jones, L., Anderson, M., Louis, K. S., & Campbell, E. (2006). Data withholding and the next generation of scientists: Results of a national survey. Academic Medicine, 81, 128-136.

  36. Louis, K.S. (2006). Change over time? An introduction? A reflection? Education Administration Quarterly, 42(1), 165-173.

  37. Louis, K. S., & Gordon, M. (2006). Aligning student support with achievement goals: The secondary principal's guide. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

  38. Louis, K. S. (2006). Organizing for school change. London and New York: Taylor and Francis.

  39. Louis, K. S. (2006). Changing the culture of schools: Professional community, organizational learning and trust. Journal of School Leadership, 16(4), 477-489.

  40. Clarkson, L., & Louis, K. S. (2006). Leadership for curriculum change: Schools engaged in "closing the gap." In A. Danzig, K. Borman, B. Jones, & W. Wright (Eds.), Professional development for learner centered leadership: Policy, research, and practice (pp. 11-130). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Selected Presentations

  1. Louis, K. S. & Felber-Smith, A. (2012, November). Leadership and teachers professional culture. Presentation at the University Council for Educational Administration, Denver, CO.

  2. Louis, K. S. & Demerath, P. W. (2012, September). Turnaround St. Paul:  Perspectives from the feedback and assessment team. Presentation to the Evaluation Roundtable, St. Paul Public Schools.

  3. Louis, K. S. & Lee, M. S. (2012, April). Defining and measuring a strong school culture linked to student learning. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, BC.

  4. Louis, K.S. (2012, February). Global governance and the international research agenda:  A perspective from the “soft” science of education. Presentation at the Addressing Global Challenges Through International Research conference, University of Minnesota.

  5. Louis, K.S. (2012, February 7). How districts support effective leadership practice. UCEA/Wallace Foundation Webinar available at http://ucea.org/home/2012/2/7/view-the-latest-webinar-how-school-districts-support-effecti.html.

  6. Louis, K. S. (2012, January). Educational policy leadership in the U.S. and Europe: How do political systems create innovation and reform? Presentation at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Malmo, Sweden.

  7. Louis, K. S. & Felber-Smith, A. (2012, January). Communities and schools: What is the problem? Presentation at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Malmo, Sweden.

  8. Louis, K. S. (2011, November). What do districts have to do with it? (With apologies to Tina). Invited pre-session presentation at the University Council for Educational Administration.

  9. Louis, K. S. & Lee, M. S. (2011, November). Fostering organizational learning: The need to focus on school culture and context that matter. Presentation at the University Council for Educational Administration.

  10. Louis, K. S. (2011, November). Thinking about districts in ways that might make a difference. Invited presentation to the AERA conference on District Roles in Accountability, Rochester, NY.

  11. Louis, K. S. (2011, June). Learning from leadership: Research findings with implications for school boards and districts. Webinar presentation for the National Association of State Boards of Education.

  12. Louis, K. S. (2011, June). Cultures and improvement: Sharing what we know from the U.S. and Netherlands. Invited presentation to the staff of the Algemeen Pedagogisch Studiecentrum, Utrecht, Netherlands.

  13. Louis, K. S. & Robinson, V. (2011, April). Principals and accountability policy: Mediating roles. Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

  14. Louis, K. S., Lee, M., & Anderson, S. (2011, April). Do district data use policies have an impact on schools? Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

  15. Louis, K. S. (2011, February). Policy leadership in education: Applying a cultural lens to legislative and parliamentary systems. Invited presentation to the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Auckland.

  16. Louis, K. S. (2011, February). Integrative leadership in education: Lessons from the Learning from Leadership study. Invited presentation to the education faculty at the University of Auckland.

  17. Louis, K. S. (2011, January). Policy leadership in education: Applying a cultural lens to legislative and parliamentary systems. Invited presentation to the Distinguished Faculty, University of Minnesota.

  18. Louis, K. S., Thomas, E. & Anderson, S. (2011, January). The impact of external mandates on instructional leadership: Principals as mediating agents. Presentation at the International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Cyprus.

  19. Louis, K. S. (2010, December). Integrative leadership in education: Lessons from the Learning from Leadership study. Distinguished lecture, National Staff Development Conference, Atlanta, GA.

  20. Louis, K. S. (2010, November). Strong cultures and school improvement: Norwegian educational reforms. Presentation at the Utdannings Directorat Conference on School Reform, Oslo, Norway.

  21. Louis, K. S. & Lee, M. (2010, October). Do district reform policies have an impact on schools? Local education authorities and student learning. Presentation at the annual meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration, New Orleans, LA.

  22. Louis, K .S. (2010, September). Strong cultures and school improvement: What do we know from Research? Keynote presentation at the annual Midwest Intructional Leadership Consortium, Rochester, MN.

  23. Louis, K. S. & Wahlstrom, K. (2010, September). Learning from Leadership: Research Findings and Practice Implications. Invitational Webinar for the American Association of School Administrators.

  24. Louis, K. S. & Wahlstrom, K. (2010, July). Learning from Leadership: Research Findings and Practice Implications. Invitational Webinar for policy makers. Sponsored by the Wallace Foundation.

  25. Louis, K. S. & van Velzen, B. (2010, May). Similar discourse, different results: A comparison of the political cultures of England and the Netherlands. Presentation at the American Educational Research Association, Denver, CO.

  26. Louis, K. S. (2010, March). School culture and school improvement: Implementations for Minnesota secondary schools. Keynote presentation at the Minnesota Association for Secondary School Principals, St. Paul, MN.

  27. Louis, K.S. (2010, March). Evaluation use and complex change: Bringing meso-politics back in. Keynote presentation at the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute annual meeting.

  28. Louis, K. S. (2010, February). Creating successful schools: Some issues to consider in K-12 fundings. Invited presentation to the Senate Education Committee, St. Paul, MN.

  29. Louis, K. S. (2010, January). Political culture and educational accountability in the U.S. and Europe. Presentation at the 23rd International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Kuala Lumpur.

  30. Louis, K. S. (2010, January). School culture and school improvement. Keynote speech at the 23rd International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Kuala Lumpur.

  31. Louis, K. S. (2009, August). Continuous improvement in an age of accountability. Presentation to the Rochester Area Science and Technology Education Consortium.

  32. Louis, K. S. (2009, July). Building school cultures through intensified leadership. Workshop Presentation delivered at the University of St. Louis.

  33. Louis, K. S., Dretzke, B., & Wahlstrom, K. (2009, April). How does leadership affect student achievement? Results from a national survey. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.

  34. Louis, K. S. & Robinson, V. (2009, April). Shared leadership across internal and external boundaries. Presentation to the Center for Integrative Leadership, Carlson School of Management.

  35. Louis, K. S. (2009, March). Creating strong improvement cultures: What works for student achievement. Presentation at the University of Delaware and the Delaware Leadership Academy.

  36. Louis, K. S. (2009). Wallace invited lecture at the annual meeting of the National Staff Development Council, St. Louis, MO.

  37. Louis, K. S. (2009). Supporting leadership for school improvement. Workshop presented at the Kansas Staff Development Association meetings.

  38. Louis, K. S. (2009). District and principal responses to state leadership. Paper delivered at the annual meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration, Anaheim, CA.

  39. Louis, K. S., Kruse, S. D., & Zwicky, C. (2009). Building school cultures through intensified leadership. Workshop presentation at the National Staff Development Council summer meeting, Boston, MA.

  40. Louis, K. S., Ekholm, M., van Velzen, B., (2009). Political cultures in parliamentary systems. International Congress for School Effectiveness and School Improvement, Vancouver, BC.

  41. Updated May 2013


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