Research Biography The primary focus of my scholarship for more than twenty-five years has been on Action Research, with two central emphases. One strand addresses the research form historically and conceptually, aimed at understanding its emergence internationally as a "family" of practices that (often but not always) seeks to challenge existing knowledge forms. My commitments to issues of anti-racist education and economic and social justice (in terms of human rights and dignity) come into play as I work to see how issues such as ethics and the political economy of grassroots knowledge production play out when the agenda of the research is explicitly one of challenging oppression and building stronger communities for change. Puzzling over such issues has led me to examine and employ a wide range of theoretical resources – initial frames of structural and feminist analysis have, I believe, been enhanced through reading of critical race theory and work around issues of globalization. The second emphasis centers on education and the role of teachers, students/children, and communities in social change through action research. In this latter work, I have examined my own teaching, but also that of teachers with whom I have collaborated. The outcomes of this work are not only published works, but also innovative materials for the education of elementary school teachers. These reflect both the self-reflexive nature of the work and also how the "community" dimension comes into play. In this work, I believe that five years of close collaboration with Julian Rappaport and the Community Psychology division on campus (1998-2003) and with a local school have significantly influenced my perspectives on the importance of community in teacher education and research. My scholarship background and graduate teaching are in curriculum work, but this is also a central aspect to my service work. I have been deeply involved with a local school district in collaborative work focused on the K-12 social studies curriculum since 2004. Initially we brought together preservice students with teachers who were charged with rewriting the K-5 units of study. Later we worked to align the whole social studies curriculum around 4 central themes (their choices): historical thinking, problem solving, citizenship, and social justice. Most recently, I worked with small groups of elementary teachers who were doing action research on aspects of their practice in social studies. They have presented this work at the Qualitative Congress and at the state social studies conference. I expect that this work within local schools will continue for some years to come. It plays a vital role in my teaching in the elementary education preservice program, where I teach courses in social studies and diversity. Finally, for me research, teaching, and service (the triad of university life) are interconnected and closely articulated with an activist stance. I have engaged in long-term work aimed at change in schooling (including in the university teacher education programs) and in the community, at the same time pursuing the intellectual work that feeds them.
- Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin, 1990
- M.S., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin, 1980
- B.A., Music, Lawrence University, Appleton, 1972
Key Professional Appointments
- Associate Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, 1998--
- Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Illinois, 1993-1998
- Assistant Professor, Social Studies Education, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1989-1993
- Associate Lecturer, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1987-1988
Activities & Honors
- Graduate Student Seminar Committee Chair, Executive Board, AERA, Division K, 2008-2012
- Member, Social Justice Action Committee, Social Justice Action Committee, American Educational Research Association, 2005-2008
- Outstanding Graduate Teaching by a Faculty Member, College of Education, 2003-
- Honorable Mention, Campus Award for Innovation in Campus Teaching, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001-
- Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate teaching, advising and research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1995-
Research StatementI have done historical/conceptual work in social studies as well as some analysis of my own practice as a social studies teacher educator, both of these with a particular eye toward issues of anti-racist education. I have recently completed a number of publications reflecting these broad research interests. A natural outgrowth of both the conceptual and field studies has been on the need for a more adequate framework for curriculum history and curriculum development (including that for teacher education) to reflect the diverse segment of American education.
I have recently published on participatory action research and worked to facilitate understanding of diversity among pre-service teachers through social and community inquiry assignments.
- Principal Investigator, Developing Culturally Relevant Schooling Through Action Research, Campus Research Board, 2000-present
- Brydon-Miller, Mary; Kral, Michael; Maguire, Patricia; Noffke, Susan E. & Sabhlok, Anu (2011). Jazz and the banyan tree: Roots and riffs on participatory action research. In Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, Sage handbook of qualitative research (4th Ed) (pp.387-400). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
- Noffke, Susan E. & Somekh, Bridget (2011). Action Research. In C. Lewin & B. Somekh, Theory and Methods in Social Research, 2nd Ed. (pp. 94-101). London: Sage.
- Noffke, Susan E. (2009). Revisiting the professional, personal and political dimensions of action research. In S. Noffke & B. Somekh (Eds.) The Sage Handbook of Educational Action Research (pp. 6-23). London: Sage Publications
- Brennan, Marie & Noffke, Susan E. (2009). Social-political theory in working with teachers for social justice schooling. In: S. Noffke & B. Somekh (Eds) The Sage Handbook of Educational Action Research (pp. 432-441). London: Sage Publications.
- Noffke, Susan E. & Somekh, Bridget. (Eds.) (2009). The Sage Handbook of Educational Action Research. London: Sage.
- Noffke, S. E. (2008). Research relevancy or research for change? Educational Researcher, 37(7), 429-431.
- Noffke, S. E., & Zeichner, K. M. (2006). Programs of research in teacher education. In G. Camilli, P. B. Elmore, & J. L. Green (Eds.), Complementary methods for research in education (2nd ed.) (pp. 823-832). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
- Noffke, S. E., & Somekh, B. (2005). Action research. In B. Somekh & C. Lewin (Eds.), Research methods in the social sciences (pp. 89-96). London: Sage.
- Hyland, N. E. & Noffke, S. E. (2005). Understanding diversity through social and community inquiry: An action research study. Journal of Teacher Education, 56, 367-381.
- Noffke, S. E., & Brennan, M. B. (2004). Doormats and feminists: Who is the "community" in action research?. In M. Brydon-Miller, P. Maguire, & A. McIntyre (Eds.), Traveling companions: Feminism, teaching, and action research (pp. 99-113). Westport, CN: Praeger.
- Zeichner, K. M., & Noffke, S. E. (2001). Practitioner research. In V. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching (4th ed.; pp. 298-330). New York: American Educational Research Association/Macmillan
- Buendia, E., Meacham, S., & Noffke, S. E. (2000). Community, displacement, and inquiry: Living social justice in a methods course. In D. Hursh & E. W. Ross (Eds.), Democratic social education: Social studies for social change (pp. 165-188). New York: Falmer Press.
- Noffke, S. E. (2000). Identity, community and democracy in the "New Social Order". In D. Hursh & E. W. Ross (Eds.), Democratic social education: Social studies for social change (pp. 73-83). New York: Falmer Press.
- Brennan, M., & Noffke, S. E. (2000). Social change and the individual: Decline of traditional patterns of community. In J. Elliott & H. Altrichter (Eds.), Images of educational change (pp. 66-74). Philadelphia: Open University Press.
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