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Carol Anne Spreen

Associate Professor of International Education

Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities


Dr. Spreen is an Associate Professor of International Education in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her scholarship brings together interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to examining education policy and practice. Her research centers on political and socio-cultural studies of educational change, particularly the influences of globalization and corporate privatization on teaching and learning. Her current research projects address three areas: (1) teachers lives and work, i.e. understanding how international policies and organizations impact teachers and classroom practice (e.g. teacher migration, curriculum reform, accountability and testing movements); (2) defining educational quality and school achievement beyond standardized tests through a rights-based framework, and; (3) using participatory/action research to study the impact of poverty and inequality on education. She is currently working on two book projects: teachers’ lives and work in rural African schools (South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda) and teachers’ global mobilization and resistance to the privatization of education. Dr. Spreen’s research has been published in a variety of leading peer-reviewed academic journals (Comparative Education Review, Comparative Education and the International Journal of Education Development, Southern African Review of Education and Perspectives in Education), in peer-reviewed book chapters, and in several monographs or as published proceedings from various consultative groups. She has taught courses with an international and policy studies foci. These courses include: Comparative Education, Sociology of Education, Education Policy Analysis, Globalization and Education, Schools and Society, Poverty, Inequality and Human Rights in Education, Education Policy in Developing Countries and Educating for Global Citizenship and Human Rights. Professor Spreen received her Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds an M.Phil. in Educational Policy Studies from Teachers College, an M.Ed. in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois, and a B.Ed. in International Education Development from the American University. Professor Spreen is also currently a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa, and an affiliated researcher at the Center for Education Rights and Transformation. She has previously been on the faculty at the Universities of Virginia and Maryland and was a Visiting Scholar at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Educational Policy Unit (South Africa) and Stanford University’s Center for International Education. She has won numerous teaching and service awards, and has raised over $1 million in grant funding for international research and academic community engagment initiatives. She also serves on various Advisory Boards, Working Groups and as a Critical Friend to several education policy and development organizations (including, Education International, the Brookings Institution, the Right to Education Project, and the World Bank). Over the last two decades she has served as a researcher for several of the US’s leading educational research centers: School Redesign Network (SRN), National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools and Teaching (NCREST), Center for Research and Evaluation on Standards and Student Testing (CRESST), and North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL). Internationally, she’s worked with many educational development and planning organizations, and assisted numerous schools, districts, universities and educational ministries with various reform innovations.


International Education

The program develops education experts who understand the implications of their responsibilities and can utilize knowledge across international boundaries.

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