Skip to main content
Think and Do The Extraordinary
Support the College

Paula McAvoy

Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education

Poe Hall 510D

http://thepoliticalclassroom.com/

Bio

Paula McAvoy earned her PhD in philosophy of education in 2010 at UW-Madison's Department of Educational Policy Studies. Since then, she has worked as an assistant professor at Illinois State, an associate program officer at the Spencer Foundation and as the Director of the Center for Ethics and Education at UW-Madison. Prior to this, she taught high school social studies for 10 years at the Foothill Middle College Program in Los Altos, California.

Research Description

My research focuses on philosophical and empirical questions concerning the relationship between schools and democratic society. I address two broad questions:

  1. What educational aims and practices are most appropriate for preparing young people for living within a non-ideal democratic society (e.g. structural inequalities, political polarization)?
  2. How should teachers and administrators make professional judgments about the dilemmas they face given non-ideal conditions? For example, what ethical challenges do teachers encounter when they engage students in discussions of controversial political issues?

Education

Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010
M.A. in Educational Policy Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006
B.A. in International Relations from University of California Davis in 1991

Curriculum Vitae

Courses Taught

  • ECI 525: Contemporary Approaches in the Teaching of Social Studies

Honors and Awards

  • 2017 Grawemeyer Award in Education for The Political Classroom
  • 2016 AERA Outstanding Book Award for The Political Classroom
  • 2011 Outstanding Dissertation Award in the Politics of Education, Politics of Education Association
  • 2008 Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

Services and Engagements

  • Lead Developer of The Discussion Project, a professional development program for faculty. The project is housed within UW-Madison's School of Education.
  • Academic Advisory Board member for the Close-up Foundation in Washington D.C.

Research Areas