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, 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 serves 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 and Women’s Studies Department. Recently, she served as Interim Department Chair for the Education Department. She has served on search committees for the Gender and Women’s Studies department and co-chaired the successful search for a new Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion.
She has participated in helping to shape 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 recently serving as the Coordinator of the campus-wide City Schools Curriculum Pathway.
Since 2009, Professor Wright 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, she served on the Committee for Faculty Compensation (CFC), which selects Connecticut College faculty members to receive awards for research, teaching and faculty leadership. Professor Wright has served on the College’s Calendar Committee and is an Associated Faculty member with the Gender and Women’s Studies Department.
- Wright, D.E. (2015). Active Learning: Social Justice Education and Participatory Action Research. New York, NY: Routledge Books.
- 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.
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