Dana Wright

Dana Wright

Associate Professor of Education
Chair of the Education Department

Joined Connecticut College: 2009

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. As a co-grant writer and extended research team member with Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Gary Parker, Dr. Christine Chung, and Dr. Chad Jones, their grant proposal, Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in Higher Education, was partially funded and awarded Honorable Mention by the Association for American Colleges and Universities (AACU).

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, FYS 117N: Women of Color: Activism, 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.

Professor Wright has served on the advisory boards or steering committees for the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, the Africana Studies Program, the LGBTQ Center and the Gender, Sexuality and Intersectionality Studies (GSIS) Department.
She has served on search committees for the Government Department and the GSIS Department and co-chaired the successful search for the Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion. She is a current Residential Education Fellow (REF) and a member of the Faculty Steering and Conference Committee (FSCC), which serves as the representative body of the faculty at Connecticut College.

She has participated in Connecticut College's current curriculum revision initiative as a member of the First Year Seminar Pilot, the Task Force on Capstone Learning and Signature Work Initiative, and by serving as the Pathway Coordinator of the campus-wide City Schools Curriculum Pathway.

Active Learning, by Dana Wright, published by Routledge, 2015

Published Book

  • Wright, D.E. (2015). Active Learning: Social Justice Education and Participatory Action Research. New York, NY: Routledge Books.

Selected Publications

  • Hobson, S., Foster, S., Howard, J., Wright, D.E., Dykos, B., Hudson, E. (2016) "Introduction to the Special Issue: Challenging Neoliberal Reforms through Collaborative, Community Engaged Research." International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
  • Wright, D. & Mahiri, J. (2012). Literacy Learning for Social Change. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. 56(2), pp. 131-139.
  • Ozer, E. & Wright, D. (2012). Beyond School Spirit: The Effects of Youth-Led Participatory Action Research in Two Urban High Schools. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 22(2), 267-283.
  • Wright, D. (2007). "¬°Escuelas, si! ¬°Pintas, no! (Schools, yes! Prisons, no!) Connecting youth action research and youth organizing in California." Children, Youth and Environments, 17(2), pp. 503-516. CYE Special Issue: Pushing the Boundaries: Critical International Perspectives on Child and Youth Participation.
  • Gong, J. & Wright, D. (2007). "The context of power: Young people as evaluators." American Journal of Evaluation, 28(3), pp. 327-333. Impact Factor: 1.447. Ranking: 12/92 in Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary.

Co-Editor of Special Issues in Academic Journals

  • Hobson, S., Foster, S., Howard, J., Wright, D.E., Dykos, B., Hudson, E. (Co-editors) (2016). Special Issue: Challenging Neoliberal Reforms through Collaborative, Community Engaged Research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.

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