Mary Katherine Woodworth Chair and Professor in the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program and Director of Peace, Conflict and Social Justice Program
acooksat [at]
Bettws Y Coed


Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education.
M.A., Stanford University.
B.A., University of California at Santa Cruz. 

Areas of Focus:

Student-faculty pedagogical partnership and student voice in teacher education and professional development; education and social justice

Detailed Biography:

Alison Cook-Sather is the Mary Katharine Woodworth Professor of Education and Director of the Peace, Conflict and Social Justice Studies concentration at Bryn Mawr College and Director of the Teaching and Learning Institute at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges.

Alison holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, an M.A. from Stanford University, and a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She works with a wide range of learners and teachers, including Bryn Mawr and Haverford students and alumni/ae interested in educational and social justice issues, high school teachers and students who participate in the preparation of future teachers, and college faculty and students interested in partnering to explore pedagogical issues.

Between 2011 and 2015, Alison was the Jean Rudduck Visiting Scholar at Homerton College, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England. In this role she ran an annual conference in Cambridge that brought together scholars, teachers, students, and policy makers from around the world.

Alison's research focuses on how various metaphors and the classical anthropological concept of liminality can be used to analyze how education is and might be conceptualized and practiced and on how differently positioned participants in education can work together toward deeper learning. She is also one of the leading scholars on student voice work, particularly student voice in teacher education and professional development. Alison has published over 70 articles and book chapters and five books, including Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching: A Guide for Faculty.

Alison regularly delivers keynotes and workshops. See a recent interview with Alison and the keynote address she delivered at the Conference for Pedagogical Development, Uppsala University, Sweden. Alison's work with student-faculty pedagogical partnerships was recently featured in Times Higher Education magazine.

Selected Publications

Toward Students and Faculty as Partners in Engagement. In Fedeli, M., & Grion, V. (Eds.) (forthcoming). Engage to Learn: Participative Methods and Techniques to Teach Adults. Lecce, Italy: Casa Editrice Pensa Multimedia.

Open Space: Nurturing Reflection, Dialogue, and Radical Listening in Higher Education. With Dorothe Bach. The Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, forthcoming.

Undergraduate Students as Partners in New Faculty Orientation and Academic Development. International Journal of Academic Development, forthcoming.

Viewing Teaching and Learning from a New Angle: Student Consultants’ Perspectives on Classroom Practice. With Damon Motz-Storey. College Teaching, forthcoming.

Addressing Potential Challenges in Co-creating Learning and Teaching: Overcoming Resistance, Navigating Institutional Norms and Ensuring Inclusivity in Student–Staff Partnerships. With Catherine Bovill, Peter Felten, Luke Millard, and Niamh Moore-Cherry. Higher Education, May 2015.

Addressing the Question of Authenticity in Middle Grades Student Voice Work: Wrestling with Politics, Power, and Purpose in Education. Middle Grades Review, 1, 2.
Available at:

Children’s Rights and Student Voice: Their Intersections and the Implications for Curriculum and Pedagogy. With Laura Lundy. The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment, 2v by Dominic Wyse, Louise Hayward, Jessica Pandya.

Positioning Students as Teacher Educators: Preparing Learners to Transform Schools. With Heather Curl. In A. Montgomery, & I. Kehoe (Eds.),Reimagining Schools. Springer Publishers, in press.

Learning from Students Before Managing Classrooms: Using Email to Connect Secondary Students and Preservice Teachers. TD - Tecnologie Didattiche (, in press.

Dialogue Across Differences of Position, Perspective, and Identity: Reflective Practice In/On a Student-Faculty Pedagogical Partnership Program. Teachers College Record, 117 (2015), 2.

Mapping Classroom Interactions: A Spatial Approach to Analyzing Patterns of Student Participation. With Sophia Abbot and Carola Hein. To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development 33, 2 (2014).

Greater Engagement in and Responsibility for Learning: What Happens When Students Cross the Threshold Of Student-Faculty Partnership. With Alia Luz. Higher Education Research & Development, 2014. DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2014.911263.

Engaging Students as Partners in Learning & Teaching: A Guide for Faculty. Alison Cook-Sather, Catherine Bovill, & Peter Felten. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014.

The Trajectory of Student Voice in Educational Research. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 49, 2 (2014).

Student Voice in Teacher Development. Oxford Bibliographies in Education.Ed. Luanna Meyer. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

“I Want to Listen to My Students’ Lives": Developing an Ecological Perspective in Learning to Teach. With Heather Curl. Teacher Education Quarterly, Winter.

Student-Staff Partnerships as Transformational: A Formative Assessment of the Students as Learners and Teachers Program at Bryn Mawr College. FORUM, 56, 1 (2014), 105-113.

Multiplying Perspectives and Improving Practice: What Can Happen When Undergraduate Students Collaborate with College Faculty to Explore Teaching and Learning. Instructional Science: 42, 31–46. Special issue: Congruence in the Instructional Design Process: Integrating Perspectives of Students, Teachers, and Designers. Editor Dr. Karen D. Könings, Maastricht University, The Netherlands, 2014.

Catalyzing Multiple Forms of Engagement through Student-Faculty Partnerships Exploring Teaching and Learning. In E. Dunne & D. Owen (Eds), The Student Engagement Handbook: Practice in Higher Education.Emerald Publishing Group, 2013.

Student-faculty partnership in explorations of pedagogical practice: A threshold concept in academic development. International Journal for Academic Development, 2013. DOI:10.1080/1360144X.2013.805694.

Student Voice: The International Movement to the Emergent Perspectives in Italy. Grion, V., & Cook-Sather, A. (Eds). Milan, Italy: Guerini Editore, 2013.

Students of Color and Faculty Members Working Together Toward Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy. With Praise Agu. In J. E. Groccia & L. Cruz (Eds.), To Improve the Academy, 32. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Anker, 2013.

Translating Learners, Researchers, and Qualitative Approaches through Investigations of Students’ Experiences in School. Qualitative Research, 13,3, 350-365 (published online before print August 13, 2012, doi: 10.1177/1468794112451022).

Amplifying Student Voices in Higher Education: Democratizing Teaching and Learning through Changing the Acoustic on a College Campus. Revista de Educación 359, 2012, 184-204. doi: 10.4438/1988-592X-RE-2012-359-202] [Http:// Ministerio de Educación. Madrid, Spain.

Educação É Tradução (Education Is Translation). Tradução & ensino. Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Espírito Santo, Brazil, 2011.

Lessons in Higher Education: Five Pedagogical Practices that Promote Active Learning for Faculty and Students. Journal of Faculty Development, 25, 3 (September 2011).

Students as Co-creators of Teaching Approaches, Course Design and Curricula: Implications for Academic Developers. With Catherine Bovill and Peter Felten.   International Journal for Academic Development, 16, 2 (June 2011), 133–145.

Students as Leaders and Learners: Toward Self-Authorship and Social Change on a College Campus. With Jody Cohen and Alice Lesnick.Innovations in Education & Teaching International, forthcoming.

What Is and What Can Be: How a Liminal Position Can Change Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. With Zanny Alter. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 42, 1 (2011), 37-53.

Layered Learning: Student Consultants Deepening Classroom and Life Lessons. Educational Action Research, 9, 1 (March 2011), 41–57.

Teaching and Learning Together: College Faculty and Undergraduates Co-Create a Professional Development Model. To Improve the Academy, 29 (2011), 219-232.

Through Students’ Eyes: Students Offer Fresh Insights into Social Justice Issues in Schools. Journal of Staff Development, 31, 4 (2010), 42-45.

Students as Learners and Teachers: Taking Responsibility, Transforming Education, and Redefining Accountability. Curriculum Inquiry, 40, 4 (2010).

Students Leading the Way toward Social Justice Within and Beyond the Classroom. Co-authored with Jody Cohen and Zanny Alter. Equity & Excellence in Education 43, 2 (2010), 155-172.

Building Civic Capacity and Responsibility through a Radically Inclusive Teaching and Learning Initiative. Co-authored with Alice Lesnick. Innovative Higher Education, 35, 1 (2010), 3-17.

Making Space for Learning. An Essay Review of What the Best College Teachers DoCurriculum Inquiry, 40, 2 (2010), 283-293.

Learning from the Student’s Perspective: A Sourcebook for Effective Teaching. Paradigm Publishers, 2009.

“I Am Not Afraid to Listen”: Prospective Teachers Learning from Students to Work in City Schools. Theory into Practice. [Themed Issue: Urban Youth. 2009].

“Translation: An Alternative Framework for Conceptualizing and Supporting School Reform Efforts.” Educational Theory, 59, 1 (2009), 217-231.

From Traditional Accountability to Shared Responsibility: The Benefits and Challenges of Student Consultants Gathering Midcourse Feedback in College Classrooms. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 34, 2 (April 2009), 231-241.

“What You Get Is Looking in a Mirror, Only Better”: Inviting Students to Reflect (on) College Teaching. Reflective Practice 9, 4 (November 2008), 473-483.

What Would Happen If We Treated Students as Those with Opinions that Matter? The Benefits to Principals and Teachers of Supporting Youth Engagement in School. NASSP Bulletin Themed Issue: Fostering Youth Engagement and Student Voice in America’s High Schools (2007).

Resisting the Impositional Potential of Student Voice Work: Lessons for Liberatory Educational Research from Feminist Critiques of Critical Pedagogy. Discourse 28, 3 (September 2007) 389-403.

Students' Experience of School Curriculum: The Everyday Circumstances of Granting and Withholding Assent To Learn. Frederick Erickson with Rishi Bagrodia, Alison Cook-Sather, Manuel Espinoza, Susan Jurow, Jeffrey J. Shultz, and Joi Spencer. Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction, ed. F. Michael Connelly, Ming Fang He, and JoAnn Phillion, Sage Publications. (2007).

International Handbook of Student Experience in Elementary and Secondary School. Dennis Thiessen and Alison Cook-Sather (Eds). Springer Publishers (2007).

Working the Tensions: Constructing Educational Studies within a Liberal Arts Context. Co-authored with Alice Lesnick and Jody Cohen. Taking Teaching Seriously. Paradigm Publishers. (2007).

Direct Links: Using Email to Connect Pre-Service Teachers, Classroom-Based Teachers, and High School Students within an Undergraduate Teacher Preparation Program. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education 15, 1 (2007) 11-37.

Repositioning Students in Initial Teacher Preparation: A Comparative Case Study of Learning to Teach for Social Justice in the United States and in England, with Bernadette Youens. Journal of Teacher Education 58, 1 (Winter 2007), 1-14.

Production, Cure, or Translation?: Rehumanizing Education and the Roles of Teacher and Student in US schools and Universities. FORUM 48, 3 (2006), 319-326.

Sound, Presence, and Power: Exploring 'Student Voice' in Educational Research and Reform. Curriculum Inquiry 36, 4 (Winter 2006), 359-390.

“Change Based On What Students Say”: Preparing Teachers for a More Paradoxical Model of Leadership. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 9, 4 (October-December 2006), 345-358.

Newly Betwixt and Between: Revising Liminality in Learning to Teach.Anthropology and Education Quarterly 37, 2 (June 2006), 110-127.

The “Constant Changing of Myself”: Revising Roles in Undergraduate Teacher Preparation. The Teacher Educator 41, 3, (Winter 2006), 187-206.

Education Is Translation: A Metaphor for Change in Learning and Teaching. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

Movements of Mind: The Matrix, Metaphors, and Re-Imagining Education.Teachers College Record, 105, 6 (August 2003), 946-977.

Putting the ‘Social’ Back in ‘Socially Constructed’: Revising the Teaching of Psychology as/in Collaboration. Co-authored with Kimberly Cassidy. The Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, 9 (2003), 35-51.

Listening to Students about Learning Differences. Teaching Exceptional Children 35, 4 (March/April 2003) , 22-26.

Re(in)forming the Conversations: Student Position, Power, and Voice in Teacher Education. Radical Teacher 64 (2002), 21-28.

“A Teacher Should Be. . .”: When the Answer Is the Question. Knowledge Quest 30, 5 (May/June 2002), 12-15.

Authorizing Students’ Perspectives: Toward Trust, Dialogue, and Change in Education. Educational Researcher 31, 4 (May 2002), 3-14.