Dana Wright

Associate Professor of Education

Joined Connecticut College: 2009

On sabbatical Academic Year 2016-2017

B.A., Vassar College
M.A., Ed.D., Harvard University Graduate School of Education


Curriculum theory and pedagogy

Collaborative, inquiry-based learning projects

Literacy and academic identity development

Relational and situated learning

Participatory action research (PAR)

Youth development and youth studies

Urban education and the contexts of teaching

Qualitative research methodologies

Dana Wright's research and teaching interests include curriculum theory and design, sociocultural theories of learning and participatory action research (PAR) with young people. Conducting research in high schools, middle schools and community-based organizations, she investigates elements of the curriculum and learning settings that limit or promote engaged learning.

With support from the William T. Grant Foundation, she has studied classroom-based PAR projects with students as an approach to teaching and learning in four public high schools. Wright's recent publications examine participatory pedagogy and curriculum, literacy and academic identity development, and student participation in collaborative, inquiry-based learning projects in urban schools.

Professor Wright joined the faculty at Connecticut College in 2009 following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. She has over a decade of experience in curriculum development, participatory action research with young people and organizational development. Wright has provided curriculum development, capacity building and organizational development support to nonprofit organizations, foundations and to public school districts.

She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the Health Disparities Research LRP award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an Action Research Fellowship from Youth in Focus, the Margaret Sheridan Community Learning Award from the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, and a fellowship with the Change Leadership Group from Harvard University.

At Connecticut College, Professor Wright teaches the following courses: EDU 305: Curricular Theories and Design in the Secondary School, EDU 225: Curriculum and Classroom Assessment, FYS 134D: Social Justice Narratives: Contradictions and Transformative Possibilities, EDU 450: Seminar in Critical Pedagogy: Elementary and Secondary School, EDU 270: Teaching and Learning for Social Change: Power, Agency and Action and EDU 457: Student Teaching in the Secondary School.

Since 2009, she has served as a faculty mentor to students of color as part of the College’s SHE program at Unity House. For both the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, Professor Wright served on the Committee for Faculty Compensation (CFC), which selects Connecticut College faculty members to receive awards for research, teaching and faculty leadership. She currently serves on the College’s Calendar Committee and is an Associated Faculty member with the Gender and Women’s Studies Department. Since 2011, Professor Wright has served on the Steering Committee for the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy.

Forthcoming Book

Selected Publications

Recent Conference Presentations

  • Wright, D.E. (2014, April). Youth-led participatory action research: Contexts for learning, leadership, voice and agency. American Educational Research Association, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Wright, D.E. (2013, April). Literacy Learning within community action projects for social change. American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, CA.
  • Wright, D.E. (2012, April). Shifting student and teacher roles: The effects of youth-led participatory action research in two urban high schools. American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Visit the education department website.

Teacher certification program.

Contact Dana Wright

Mailing Address

Dana Wright
Connecticut College
Box #5224
270 Mohegan Ave.
New London, CT 06320


111 Bolles House