The Improvement Scholars Network is an effort initiated by the Carnegie Foundation to build shared identity and purpose among those advancing improvement research in education that is focused on addressing problems, needs, and opportunities grounded deeply in practice contexts.
Donald J. Peurach, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation and a professor of educational policy, leadership, and innovation in the University of Michigan’s School of Education. His research examines large-scale, network-based educational improvement initiatives, focusing specifically on how these networks continuously learn and improve over time.
Don is the co-leader, with Jennifer Lin Russell, of the Improvement Scholars Network, a Carnegie-initiated invisible college of over 200+ researchers collaborating to advance improvement research in academic, policy, and professional communities; a co-founder of the AERA Improvement Science Special Interest Group; and the lead developer of Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement, a U-M/Carnegie collaboration that uses massive open online courses on the edX platform to provide a comprehensive introduction to improvement science.
Don is the author of Seeing Complexity in Public Education: Problems, Possibilities, and Success for All (2011, Oxford University Press); co-author of Improvement by Design: The Promise of Better Schools (2014, University of Chicago Press), and a co-editor of The Foundational Handbook on Improvement Research in Education (2022; Rowman and Littlefield).
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May 7, 2021
The Social Structure of Networked Improvement Communities: Cultivating the Emergence of a Scientific-Professional Learning Community
How do networked improvement communities (NICs) create a social structure to catalyze the type of community that can solve complex problems? Based upon prior theorizing, research literature, and observations of developing NICs, here we describe a framework for use as an analytic tool for understanding NIC emergence and maturation.
February 19, 2020
The Evidence for Improvement approach described in this paper is designed to enhance a network’s internal learning processes and, in turn, lead to more positive impacts for educators and students. It has implications for improvement practitioners, evaluators, and funders.
January 26, 2017
Engaging students in learning through ambitious instruction is a chief focus of educational reform and policy in the US and around the world. The University of Michigan and the Carnegie Foundation created MOOCs to support teams of educational leaders in pursuit of this goal.
January 5, 2017
Failure can be a learning experience, but only under certain conditions. The work must matter, and there has to be a leader who can manage the costs of failure, understands improvement research, and keeps people focused on finding a solution instead of placing blame.
March 3, 2016
In this final post of the series on networked improvement community (NIC) initiation, Donald Peurach analyzes the relationships NICs have with the environments in which they operate.
February 25, 2016
The fifth post in our series on the initiation networked improvement community explores what lessons can be taken from other similar efforts outside of the education industry, primarily pop up businesses.