Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison



Main Office

Educational Policy Studies
School of Education
235 Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
MadisonWI  53706

Tel: 608/262-1760
Fax: 608/262-0460

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Mission Statement

The Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison contributes scholarship and teaching intended to deepen and expand understandings of educational policy and practice, past and present, at local, national, and international levels. The department’s faculty and students examine educational policies, movements,  outcomes, dilemmas, and controversies--as well as the forces shaping them--using modes of inquiry associated with an array of scholarly fields and disciplines. These include history, sociology, anthropology, political economy, philosophy, policy analysis, and international comparative education.

Department Chair

Professor Adam Nelson
2​35 Education Building  binoculars icon
1000 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706-1326
Office: 608/262-​1760


EPS Alumna Receives CIES Gail P. Kelly Award

The Department of Educational Policy Studies is proud to announce that recent graduate Sussane Ress is this year's recipient of the Comparative and International Educational Society's Gail P. Kelly award. Each year the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) recognizes an outstanding doctoral dissertation with the Gail P. Kelly Award. Created to honor the distinguished comparative educator Gail P. Kelly and her many contributions to the CIES, the Gail P. Kelly Award honors a doctoral dissertation that addresses social justice and equity issues in an international context.

The Award is conferred on an outstanding Ph.D. or Ed.D. dissertation that manifests academic excellence; originality; methodological, theoretical, and empirical rigor; and that deals with issues of social justice and equity in international settings. These issues may include — but are not limited to — gender, race, class, ethnicity, and nationality.

EPS Students Receive Fulbright Awards for Doctoral Research

Congratulations to EPS students Alexandra Allweiss and Teresa Speciale for each receiving grants from the U.S. Department of Education through the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad program.  

Alexandra Allweiss, Educational Policy Studies and Curriculum and Instruction, Guatemala, Spanish/Maya-Chuj, "Indigenous Youth-Led Organizations and Re-imaginings of Education and Community."

Teresa Speciale, Educational Policy Studies, Senegal, Wolof/French, "A View from the Middle — Language Education and the 'Middle Class' in Dakar, Senegal."

Read the full article


Goldrick-Rab co-authors New York Times op-ed: ‘Hungry, Homeless and in College’

UW-Madison’s Sara Goldrick-Rab co-authored an op-ed for the Dec. 4 New York Times that’s headlined, “Hungry, Homeless and in College.”

In addition to being a faculty member with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Policy Studies, Goldrick-Rab is the director and founder of the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, which is the only laboratory in the nation dedicated to translational research for improving equitable outcomes in postsecondary education. This op-ed is based on a new report from the HOPE Lab titled, “Hungry to Learn: Addressing Food & Housing Insecurity Among Undergraduates.”

Read "Hungry, Homeless and in College" in the New York Times

EPS Student Honored by Association of Black Sociologists

Ashley Smith at the ABS Conference

Congratulations to EPS student Ashley Smith for winning First Place in the 2015 ABS Graduate Student Paper Award for her submission entitled "#BlackWomenMatter: The Invisible Victims of the Movement in the Wake of State Violence."  Smith's paper examines the way violence against Black women remains hidden from the center of media attention and the current 'Black Lives Matter' social movement. Smith focuses specifically on "state violence against Black women and the ways in which the greater political economy and theoretical notions of governmentality, discipline and punishment of Black bodies gives the larger structural systems of oppression a pass in its marginalization of women of color."

EPS Professors Influence White House Proposal on Community-College Accessibility

The New York Times is reporting that Sara Goldrick-Rab and Nancy Kendall, Professors of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin, are a 'clear influence' on President Obama's plan to offer free community college to qualified students. To read more about the proposal and the role that faculty of Educational Policy Studies had in developing it, please read the full article in the New York Times.

Honors for "Testing Wars" by Professor William Reese

William Reese, Carl F. Kaestle WARF Professor of Educational Policy Studies and History, has been honored for his latest book "Testing Wars in the Public School," which was recently granted the O.L. Davis, Jr. Outstanding Book Award from the American Association for Teaching & Curriculum.  This award is given out annually in recognition of scholarship that adds substantively to the body of knowledge about the practices and theories of curriculum and teaching. Reese's "Testing Wars" is also set to win the annual book prize from the History of Education Society.

Stambach receives British Academy/Leverhulme Grant to study Chinese language programs in Africa

Amy Stambach, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Affiliated Professor of Anthropology, has received funding from the UK British Academy to study the effects of Chinese investment on African students' educational and employment opportunities. The 12-month ethnographic project involves researchers from the University of Dar es Salaam, the University of Oxford, and the University of Wisconsin Madison. The project builds on Stambach's recent work"Rethinking Culture and Education" and Confucius and Crisis in American Universities (Routledge 2014).

Nelson elected Vice President/President Elect of the History of Education Society

Adam Nelson, Professor of Educational Policy Studies and History, has been elected as the Vice President and President Elect of the History of Education Society, the leading scholarly society in its field.  As President Elect of the HES, Nelson will serve as program chair for the HES meeting scheduled for November 2015. 

‘When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools’ 


By Linn posey-maddox

Linn Posey-MaddoxAssistant Professor of Educational Policy Studies, has just released her new book titled, “When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools."

Sensitively navigating the pros and cons of middle-class transformation, 'When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools' asks whether it is possible for our urban public schools to have both financial security and equitable diversity. Drawing on in-depth research at an urban elementary school, Posey-Maddox examines parents’ efforts to support the school through their outreach, marketing, and volunteerism. She shows that when middle-class parents engage in urban school communities, they can bring a host of positive benefits, including new educational opportunities and greater diversity.  But their involvement can also unintentionally marginalize less-affluent parents and diminish low-income students’ access to the improving schools. In response, Posey-Maddox argues that school reform efforts, which usually equate improvement with rising test scores and increased enrollment, need to have more equity-focused policies in place to ensure that low-income families also benefit from—and participate in—school change. 

Get more information on 'When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools'  

UW-Madison Teaching and Learning Innovation Honorable Mention Award

Professor Nancy Kendall, Associate Professor of Educational Policy Studies, has been selected to receive a UW-Madison Teaching and Learning Innovation Honorable Mention Award in recognition of her work to promote educational innovation on campus. She will be recognized for her achievement at the annual Teaching and Learning Symposium on May 19. 

Virginia Horne Henry Award

Congratulations to EPS PhD student Sidra Rind

Sidra Rind, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Educational Policy Studies, has received the Virginia Horne Henry award for her research examining the experiences of female students in Balochistani girls' schools as they negotiated the competing pressures of separatist, Taliban, and state efforts to shape their schooling experiences. 

Jean Anyon Award for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper

Congratulations to EPS PhD student Julissa Ventura

Julissa Ventura, a Ph.D. student in the department of Educational Policy Studies, recently received The Jean Anyon Award For Outstanding Graduate Student Paper from the Grassroots Community and Youth Organizing SIG at AERA 2014. She received the award for her paper based upon her Master's research, entitled "Constructing Spaces of Belonging in the New Latino Diaspora: An Ethnographic Case Study of a Latino Youth Group." The selection committee was "particularly impressed by [her] work, which presents original material about Latino youth organizing in a new destination, a Midwestern city."

EPS End-of-Year Reception

Friday, May 13, 2016
3:30-5:30 PM
Education Room 298

EPS students, faculty and guests are invited to join us on Friday, May 13 from 3:30-5:30 PM for our annual end-of-year reception and student award presentation.  

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