Key Professional Appointments

Assistant Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


PhD, Sociology, Emory University, 2018

BA, Sociology, Columbia University, 2008

Awards, Honors, Associations

Michael Fullan Emerging Scholar Award in Professional Capital and Community, 2020, 2020

AERA Division A (Administration) Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2019, American Education Research Association, 2019


Grissom, J. A., Timmer, J. D., Nelson, J. L., & Blissett, R. S. L. (2020). Unequal Pay for Equal Work? Unpacking the Gender Gap in Principal Compensation. (EdWorkingPaper; No. 20-212)). Annenberg Institute at Brown University. https://www.edworkingpapers.com/ai20-212

Nelson, J. L. (2019). How organizational minorities form and use social ties: Evidence from teachers in majority-white and majority-black schools. American Journal of Sociology, 125(2), 382-430. https://doi.org/10.1086/705158  link >

Nelson, J. L., Hegtvedt, K. A., Haardörfer, R., & Hayward, J. L. (2019). Trust and Respect at Work: Justice Antecedents and the Role of Coworker Dynamics. Work and Occupations, 46(3), 307-338. https://doi.org/10.1177/0730888419835261  link >

Puckett, C., & Nelson, J. L. (2019). The Geek Instinct: Theorizing Cultural Alignment in Disadvantaged Contexts. Qualitative Sociology, 42(1), 25-48. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-019-9408-4  link >

Nelson, J. L. (2018). Review: G. M. Flores' Latina Teachers: Creating Careers and Guarding Culture. Contemporary Sociology, 47(4), 453-455. https://doi.org/10.1177/0094306118779814n  link >

Nelson, J. L. (2017). Pathways to Green(er) Pastures: Reward Bundles, Human Capital, and Turnover Decisions in a Semi-Profession. Qualitative Sociology, 40(1), 23-57. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-016-9348-1  link >

Nelson, J. L., & Lewis, A. E. (2016). "I'm a teacher, not a babysitter": Workers' strategies for managing identity-related denials of dignity in the early childhood workplace. Research in the Sociology of Work, 29, 37-71. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0277-283320160000029013  link >


Org Theory for Ed Leaders (EOL 549) Study of theoretical perspectives and empirical research drawn from the social sciences relating to educational organizations and administrative leadership with an emphasis on application of theory to practice. This course will meet Aug 28-29, Sept 25-26, Oct 16-17, and Nov 13-14.

Diversity, Leadership & Policy (EOL 568) Intended to provide students with an opportunity to study both historical and contemporary perspectives on leadership and policy in diverse contexts and to prompt reflection on their own practice. As students read, discuss, reflect on, and critique a variety of perspectives and topics such as race, class, power, cultural leadership, policy, change, diversity, and building community, they will consider how the literature informs the development of a personal philosophy of education leadership, takes into consideration moral and ethical issues, the implementation of educational policy, the purposes and nature of the task, and the complexity and diversity of educational contexts.

Diversity, Leadership & Policy (EPOL 531) Synchronous attendance required. Moodle LMS.

Diversity, Leadership & Policy (EPOL 531)

Org Theory for Ed Leaders (EPOL 544) This course will meet Aug 28-29, Sept 25-26, Oct 16-17, and Nov 13-14.

Profile Picture for Jennifer Nelson

Assistant Professor, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership



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

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