Key Professional Appointments

Professor Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994 - present

Affiliate Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994 - present

Associate Professor Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1989 - 1994

Assistant, Associate Professor Department of Educational Studies, University of Utah, 1983 - 1989


Ph.D., Philosophy of Education, Stanford University, 1983

M.A., Philosophy, Stanford University, 1979

B.A., Philosophy, Religious Studies, Grinnell College, 1975

Awards, Honors, Associations

Grayce Wicall Gauthier Professor College of Education, 2002 - 2007

Gutgsell Professor Office of the Provost, 2009 - 2014

Fellow Fellow of the International Academy of Education, 2010 - present

Recipient Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Philosophy of Education, James and Helen Merritt Foundation, 2004 - 2004

Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002 - 2002

Distinguished Senior Scholar College of Education, 2001 - 2002

Faculty Exchange Award University of Leuven, 2001 - 2001

Research & Service

My research focuses on philosophy of education; teaching and dialogue; critical social and political theory; and technology and education.

My major current projects include work on ethical and policy issues concerning new technologies in education; virtual reality; collaboration; and dialogue and "third spaces."


Burbules, N. (2003) Educational research as a social discourse. Beyond empiricism: On criteria for educational research University Press: Leuven, Belgium  link >

Burbules, N., & Lambeir, B. (2003) The importance of new technologies in promoting collaborative educational research. Beyond empiricism: On criteria for educational research,. University Press: Leuven, Belgium

Burbules, N. (2000) Does the Internet constitute a global educational community?. Globalization and education: Critical perspectives Routledge: New York

Burbules, N. (2000) Philosophy of education. Routledge international companion to education Routledge: New York

Burbules, N., Callister, T., & Jr, . (2000) Universities in transition: The promise and the challenge of new technologies Teachers College Record 102 (2), 273-295

Burbules, N., Callister, T., & Jr, . (2000) Watch IT: The promises and risks of new information technologies for education.. Westview Press: Boulder, CO

Burbules, N. (1993) Dialogue in teaching: Theory and practice. New York: Teachers College Press. Selected for the American Educational Studies Association "Critics' Choice" Award, 1993. Selected for an invited book signing by the Conference on Intergroup Dialogue University of Michigan


“MOOCs: The hype and the reality.” (2012). University of Illinois: Urbana/Champaign.

“The paradigmatic differences between name/date and footnote styles of citation.” (2012). Catholic University of Leuven, (Belgium),

“How 21st century learners change college teaching.” (2012). University of Illinois: Urbana/Champaign.

“Shared governance at the University of Illinois.” (2012). University of Illinois: Urbana/Champaign.

“From teaching to learning: Rethinking higher education.” (2011). University of Buenos Aires (Argentina),

“From teaching to learning: The impact of new technologies on education.” (2011). Congreso Internacional de Inclusion Digital Educativa, Buenos Aires (Argentina),

“Spaces and places in the virtual university.” (2011). Friedrich-Alexander Universitat, (Nuremberg, Germany),

“The future of philosophy of education.” (2011). University of Illinois: Urbana/Champaign.

“The challenge of new technologies is that we are always in transition.” (2011). Foro Latinamericano de Educacion: TIC en Educacion, Buenos Aires (Argentina),

“Why teachers shouldn’t be afraid of new technologies.” (2011). National University of Quilmes (Argentina),

A Three-Year Plan to Rethink Midwestern Higher Education: A concept paper (2011). Commissioned by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

“New models of educational research.” (2011).

“New sociocultural contexts of educational research.” (2011).

“The claims of parenting” (Respondent) (2011). Philosophy of Education Society.

“The interplay between technology, professional education, and health.” (2011). University of Illinois.

“Ubiquitous learning and the ubiquitous learner.” (2011).

“Impediments and opportunities for interdisciplinary/interprofessional cooperation at the University of Illinois.” Invited talk, Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois, Spring 2011 (availab (2011).

“Shared governance in higher education: Theory and practice.” (2011). University of Illinois.

Philosophical perspectives on educational quality (2003).: Chicago.

The mixed blessings of non-face-to-face interactions in online courses (2003).: Chicago.

The relevance of philosophy of education to educational research (2003).: Chicago.


Principal Investigator Can Knowledge be Distributed? The Dynamics of Knowledge in Interdisciplinary Alliances, National Science Foundation (National Center for Supercomputing Applications), 1999 - 2003

Co-Principal Investigator Interagency Education Research Initiative: Planning Grant for National Data Collection Center, National Science Foundation, 2000 - 2001


Professional Ethics in Ed Philosophical examination of selected educational issues; conveys a grasp of the complexities of the issues and some philosophical methods for dealing with them. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

School and Society Analyzes normative and conceptual aspects of the interrelationship of school and society, and of reciprocal influences between schools and major social trends and forces. 2 to 4 undergraduate hours. 2 to 4 graduate hours. 3 credit hour section is approved for B.S. in Learning and Education Studies.

Critical Thinking for Teachers Examination of critical thinking dispositions and abilities as an approach to the foundations of knowledge and structure of thinking in subject-matter areas. 2 to 4 undergraduate hours. 2 to 4 graduate hours.

Technology &Educational Reform Examines the normative and policy issues raised by the use of new information and communication technologies in education. The course is interdisciplinary, drawing from social and historical as well as philosophical perspectives on these issues. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours.

Contemporary Philosophy of Ed Analyzes exemplary current work in the field, covering a range of contrasting philosophical issues and approaches. The course goal is to provide familiarity with notable contemporary authors from a variety of perspectives.

Philosophy and Ed Research Examines some crucial assumptions and concepts of contemporary research in education from the point of view both of the consumer and the practitioner of educational research. Topics include paradigm conflicts, causal attributions in social science, assessment, ethical problems in the conduct of research, and the assumptions of quantitative research.

Social Theories and Education Examines philosophical issues in social and political theory as they pertain to educational problems. The course includes topics such as autonomy, democratic education, educational reform, and social change.

Phil Issues Technology & Ed Examines philosophical issues in the construction, justification and transmission of knowledge, as they pertain to educational processes. 4 graduate hours. No professional credit.

Nicholas Burbules

Gutgsell Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership



378 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Update Your Profile Refresh Your Web Profile

Refreshing data...please wait