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James Fraser

Interim Vice Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor of History and Education, Department of Applied Statistics

Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities

212-998-5413

James W. Fraser, Professor of History and Education at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at New York University, holds a joint appointment in the department of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities and the department of Teaching and Learning and also an affiliate appointment in the Department of History in the Faculty of Arts & Science. Fraser’s teaching and research is motivated by his concern with the challenges facing future Social Studies and History teachers who must find ways of engaging sometimes bored students with American and world history and his interest in the role of religion in American education. His most recent book is the fourth edition of The School in the United States: A Documentary History (Routledge, 2019). He has also recently published, By the People: A History of the United States (Pearson, 2019) which is designed to help make high school US History courses more lively, with a focus on the agency of everyday Americans of many different communities, times, and places. Fraser and Lauren Lefty have published Teaching Teachers: Changing Paths and Enduring Debates (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), a history of the last four decades of debates about teacher education in the United States. Fraser’s work also reflects his concern with complex debates about the place of religion in public schools, especially in the United States, but also internationally. He has written Between Church and State: Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America(second edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016). Fraser was the president of the History of Education Society for 2013-2014. He has served on the Editorial Board of the History of Education Quarterly, and Religion and Education and as the NYU liaison to New Design High School, a public high school in New York’s Lower East Side, and to Facing History and Ourselves. Since 2015 he has been chair of the department of Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities at NYU Steinhardt.

From 2008 to 2012, Fraser was the Senior Vice President for Programs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, where he coordinated the different Fellowship programs and led the launch of the Foundation’s Fellowships for Teachers. Now back to full-time teaching at NYU, he remains a senior advisor to the Foundation and chair of the advisory committee for the foundation's Academy. Fraser was the founding dean of Northeastern University’s School of Education, serving from 1999 to 2004. He was a member and chair of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Education Deans Council, the Boston School Committee Nominating Committee, and other boards. He was also a lecturer in the Program in Religion and Secondary Education at the Harvard University Divinity School from 1997 to 2004. He has taught at Lesley University, the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Boston University, and Public School 76, Manhattan. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and was pastor of Grace Church in East Boston, Massachusetts, from 1986 to 2006 and is now a member of Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, New York.

Fraser has four adult children and six grandchildren. He and his wife, Katherine Hanson, and their dog Pebble live in New York City.

Selected Publications

  • The School in the United States:  A Documentary History, fourth edition, New York:  Routledge, 2019 (first edition Boston:  McGraw-Hill, 2001).
  • Teaching Teachers:  Changing Paths and Enduring Debates, with Lauren Lefty, Baltimore:  Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018.
  • By the People: A History of the United States AP® Edition (Pearson, 2015).
  • Between Church and State:  Religion and Public Education in a Multicultural America, second edition Baltimore:  Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016 (first edition New York:  St. Martin's Press, 1999).
  • TEACH:  A Question of Teaching, second edition, New York:  Routledge, 2015 (first edition, New York:  McGraw-Hill, 2010).
  • Preparing America’s Teachers:  A History, New York:  Teachers College Press, 2007.
  • A History of Hope:  When Americans Have Dared to Dream of a Better Future, New York:  Palgrave-Macmillan, 2002.
  • Reading, Writing, and Justice:  School Reform As If Democracy Matters, Albany, New York:  The State University of New York Press, 1997.
  • Mentoring the Mentor:  A Critical Dialogue with Paulo Freire, edited with Paulo Freire, Donaldo Macedo, Tanya McKinnon, and William Stokes, New York:  Peter Lang Publishing, 1997.

Courses

Introduction to American Education: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

This course introduces students to the central themes, issues, & controversies in American education. What is the purpose of “school”? How did schools begin, in the United States, & how have they evolved across time?How do children learn? How are they different from each other, & why & when should that matter? How should we teach them? & how should we structure schools & classrooms to promote learning? Liberal Arts Core/CORE Equivalent - satisfies the requirement for Society & Social Sciences
Course #
HSED-UE 1005
Units
4
Term
Spring
Faculty

Professors

James Fraser ,
Department
Liberal Arts Core

Religion and Education in a Global Context

The purpose of this course on religion & public education in an international context is for us to engage together in a critical analysis of what continues to be an important contemporary issue. The seminar is designed especially for students preparing for careers in teaching - in both public & private/religious schools, educational administration, educational research, or other professions which will involve them in the ongoing public debates about the uneasy relationship of religion & public education in the United States & other countries. The course will examine these issues historically & in terms of current policy debates & students will be asked to make connections to their own educational practice.


Liberal Arts Core/CORE Equivalent - satisfies the requirement for Context & Cultures
Course #
PHED-UE 1016
Units
4
Term
Fall
Faculty

Professors

James Fraser ,
Department
Liberal Arts Core

The American School: A History

A critical examination of several histories of American education.Compares historical analyses of the changes in curriculum, structure, and functions of American education in relation to the changing social and political contexts.
Course #
HSED-GE 2400
Units
3
Term
Spring
Faculty

Professors

James Fraser ,
Department