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Lee S. Shulman

Lee Shulman

Lee S. Shulman

Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Emeritus
Graduate School of Education

Lee Shulman is a native of Chicago, where his parents ran a small and popular delicatessen.   He graduated from a Jewish day school, spent six years at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin as a camper, counselor and teacher, completed all of his undergraduate and graduate degrees while also teaching Hebrew and Bible in local synagogue schools, and completed his BA in philosophy, and MA and PhD in educational psychology at the University of Chicago as he prepared for a career as a teacher and scholar in the psychology of learning and teaching, problem solving and reasoning.

Lee was Professor of Educational Psychology and Medical Education at Michigan State University from 1963 to 1982.  During that time he conducted pioneering studies of the psychology of medical reasoning and was the founding co-director of the national Institute for Research on Teaching, which focused on the quality of teaching in elementary and secondary schools.  He served as a visiting professor of Education and Medical Education at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1970.  During his tenure at Michigan State he became a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

After moving to Stanford as Professor of Education and (by courtesy) Professor of Psychology, Lee’s work turned increasingly to studies of the improvement of teaching and the education of teachers.  These studies emphasized the importance of special kinds of knowledge and understanding that were unique to teachers, with special reference to the development of “pedagogical content knowledge.”  Growing out of that work, his research team at Stanford designed and field-tested the methods of assessing elementary and secondary school teacher quality that led to creation of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

After moving to the presidency of the Carnegie Foundation in 1997, his research agenda expanded to comparative studies of the education of members of a number of professions including teaching, medicine, law, engineering, nursing and the clergy. The latter work contrasted the education of ministers, priests and rabbis.  Under his leadership, the researchers of the Foundation also studied the character of doctoral education across fields, the role of universities in educating for civic and political engagement, and the uses of technology to enhance both professional learning and learning in the liberal arts and sciences.  Lee retired from Carnegie in 2008 and returned as Professor Emeritus to Stanford where he has primarily worked in the field of research in Jewish Education.  Central to this work has been the formation internationally of the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE). 

Shulman is a past president of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and also of the National Academy of Education.  He received AERA’s career award for Distinguished Contributions to Educational Research as well as the 1995 E.L. Thorndike Award for Distinguished Psychological Contributions to Education from the American Psychological Association’s Division of Educational Psychology.  He is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  In 2006, Shulman received the Grawemeyer Prize in education for his collected writings on teaching and teacher education, published as The Wisdom of Practice by Jossey-Bass, Inc.  He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) in 2008. 


Learning by Discovery

Medical Problem Solving

Handbook of Teaching and Policy

“Those Who Understand”

“Knowledge and Teaching”

The Wisdom of Practice

Teaching as Community Property

“Signature Pedagogies of the Professions”

“How and What Teachers Learn”

“Professing Understanding and Professing Faith: The Midrashic Imperative”

“Pedagogies of Interpretation, Argumentation and Formation: From Understanding to Identity in Jewish Education”

“The Challenges and Opportunities for Liberal Education in a Faith-Based University”