Key Professional Appointments

Faculty Athletics Representative for the Big Ten Office of the Chancellor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011 - present

Associate Dean for Academic Programs College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011 - present

Associate Professor Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2009 - present

Assistant Professor Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003 - 2009

Assistant Professor Educational Leadership & Policy, State University of New York-Buffalo, 2001 - 2002

Assistant Professor History, Millikin University, 2000 - 2001

Teaching Assistant Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1998 - 1999


Ph.D., Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2001

M.A., Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1998

B.A., Liberal Arts and Sciences/ History, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1995

Awards, Honors, Associations

Vice President Division F (History), 2017-2019 American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2016 - 2016

CIC Academic Leadership Fellow—ALP (2010-2011). Committee on Institutional Cooperation, 2010 - 2011

Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students, 2004 - 2011 Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students, 2003 - 2011

Difference Makers in Our Community Award eBlack Champaign-Urbana Campus Community Project, 2010 - 2010

Dean's Fellow, College of Education Dean's Cabinet, 2010 - 2010

Distinguished Scholar Award College of Education, 2009 - 2009

Participating Historian on the Brief of Historians as Amicus Curiae for the Supreme Court Parents and Meredith (2007) case NAACP Legal Defense Fund, 2007 - 2008

Black Graduate Student Association Faculty of the Year Award Black Graduate Student Association, 2007 - 2007

Outstanding Reviewer Award and Recognition for American Educational Research Association Journals AERA, 2006 - 2006

Research & Service

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am an historian of education in the department of Educational Policy Studies. My research interests pertain to the educational history of African Americans in the 19th and 20th century.


Span, C., & Rivers, I. (2012) “Reassessing the Achievement Gap: An Intergenerational Comparison of African American Student Achievement before and after Compensatory Education and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Teachers College Record Online 114 (6), 13-14,.  link >

Span, C. (2009) From cotton field to schoolhouse: African American education in Mississippi, 1862-1875.. University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, NC  link >

Danns, D., & Span, C. (2008) “A Brief History of Schools in the United States.”. 21st Century Education Sage Publication: New York

Span, C. (2003) Knowledge is light, knowledge is power: African American education in antebellum America. Surmounting all odds: Education, opportunity, and society in the new millennium Information Age: Greenwich, CT

Johnson, L., & Span, C. (2002) Historical perspectives on cultural empowerment, activism, and urban school reform Urban Education 37 (5)

Span, C. (2002) "I must learn now or not at all": Social and cultural capital in the earliest educational initiatives of Mississippi ex-slaves, 1862-1869 Journal of African American History 87 (3), 196-205

Span, C. (2002) Alternative pedagogy: The rise of the private Black academy in early postbellum Mississippi, 1862-1870. Chartered schools: Two hundred years of independent academies in the United States Routledge Falmer: New York

Span, C. (2002) Educational and social reforms for African American juvenile delinquents in 19th century New York City and Philadelphia Journal of Negro Education 71, 108-117


Secretary, Division F (AERA) (2012-2014) AERA-Division F (History), AERA, 2012 - 2014

Co-Editor History of Education Quarterly, 2006 - 2013

Editorial Board, American Educational Research Journal-Social and Institutional Editorial Board, American Educational Research Journal-Social and Institutional Analysis, American Educational Research Journal, 2009 - 2012

Board Member Don Moyers' Boys and Girls Club, 2009 - 2010


Identity and Difference in Edu Focuses on the role of identity in schooling and the way in which identity is socially constructed. Examine how power and privilege impact equity and opportunities based on socially constructed identities such as race, social class, gender, sexual identity, language, (dis)ability, and nationalism. Explore asset-based frameworks that are identity affirming and counter deficit-based perspectives. This course is designed for students interested in reflecting on their own experiences as learners by critically examining their socially constructed identities and "ways of knowing" and the societal implications of these experiences. It is also for those considering careers in teaching, and anyone interested in reflecting on how issues of inclusion, exclusion, power, and privilege play out in education. (Graduate candidates may take this course or approved graduate-level College of Education Educational Policy Studies Foundations Requirement course; undergraduates may take this or program-approved equivalent coursework).This course satisfies the General Education Criteria for:UIUC: US Minority Culture(s)

History of American Education Development of American education in relation to political, social, and cultural developments; attention to the influence of movements in the cultural environment upon evolving conceptions of educational theory and practice. Course Information: 2 or 4 undergraduate hours. 2 or 4 graduate hours.

Christopher Span

Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Education Administration



130A Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

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