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Nov. 18 Faculty Lecture features “Blaming Teachers” by Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz

The UND Faculty Lecture Series continues Nov. 18, with “Blaming Teachers: Using the History of Teacher Professionalization & School Reform to Chart a New Course for American Public Education,” by Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz, assistant professor of education & human development. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, via live stream.

She will be introduced by Cheryl Hunter, department chair and associate professor of teaching & leadership.

In this faculty lecture, D’Amico Pawlewicz will discuss her new book, Blaming Teachers: Professionalization Policies and the Failure of Reform in American History. She will also discuss the ways historical engagement can reorient reform and chart a new course for American public education.

Historically, Americans of all stripes concurred that teachers were essential to the success of the public schools and nation. However, they also concurred that public school teachers were to blame for the schools’ shortcomings and identified professionalization as a panacea.  D’Amico Pawlewicz reveals how professionalization reforms subverted public school teachers’ professional legitimacy. Superficially, professionalism connotes authority, expertise, and status. But professionalization for teachers never unfolded this way. Instead, policymakers, school leaders, and others understood professionalization measures for teachers as efficient ways to bolster the growing bureaucratic order of the public schools. Beginning in the mid-19th century and reaching into the 1980s, Blaming Teachers paints a picture of the history of American public education, the gendered limits of professionalization, and the racialization of education policy.

D’Amico Pawlewicz will use this sweeping history to address a range of present-day issues including the lack of diversity in the teaching profession, the role of labor unions in public education, calls for school choice, frets over lagging international rankings, and widespread educational inequality.

Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz

Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz, assistant professor of Education & Human Development, joined the UND faculty in the fall of 2019. As a historian of education reform, her research explores school policy as social policy and the various ways educational institutions have served as barriers to and pathways for social justice. Her new book, Blaming Teachers: Professionalization Policies and the Failure of Reform in American History

(released in August 2020) has been greeted by strong academic reviews, warm public reception, and media interest.

Her work has been published in the Harvard Educational Review, American Educational Research Journal, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and numerous other outlets.

D’Amico Pawlewicz earned her Ph.D. from New York University where her research was supported by a prestigious Spencer Dissertation Fellowship and received the Politics of Education Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award. Before arriving at UND, she spent a postdoctoral year as a visiting assistant professor at Brown University and was assistant professor at George Mason University where she served as coordinator of the Education Policy Ph.D. Program and was named a University Teacher of Distinction.

About the Faculty Lecture Series

The Faculty Lecture Series seeks to cultivate a stronger academic atmosphere on the University of North Dakota campus by showcasing the scholarly research of faculty selected across the disciplines. The Lectures aim to present with some depth and rigor the scholarly questions and goals of the individual faculty members. In presenting their scholarship, the lecturers will share the enthusiasm and dedication that sustains their creative efforts.

The Lectures are occasions for members of the University community and public to engage and strengthen their sense of unity. It is also an opportunity to share the important work of the University with our broader community. About 150 faculty have given presentations since 1954. Lectures are free and open to the public.

The Faculty Lecture Series continues through the funding of the Offices of the President, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and is presented through the planning of the Faculty Lecture Series Committee. Thank you to the Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors Committee for speaker selection, planning and scheduling. Funding for the UND Faculty Lecture Series is provided by the Offices of the President and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

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Diana D’Amico Pawlewicz (900 kb)















Blaming Teachers book cover