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College of Education

Distinguished Educational Research Lecture Series

In 2013, the College of Education received an award from the President and Provost Academic Excellence Funding to initiate a Distinguished Educational Research Lecture Series as part of the Faculty Mentoring Program in our college. The lecture series brings outstanding education research scholars to meet with faculty and students and to speak about their research. The goals were to provide an outstanding academic role model for junior faculty and graduate students, to promote advanced research dialogue among faculty and graduate students, and to accelerate the development of academic research networks.

In the fall, the COE mentoring committee (a standing subcommittee in the College, with a member from each department and chaired by the Associate Dean who is also the Director of the Faculty Mentoring Program) solicits recommendations for a guest scholar for the lecture. The committee makes recommendations to the Dean and the Administrative Council and a scholar is chosen.

2016 Lecture:

To view the Lecture, please see the Archived Lectures

"The Rise and Decline of the Public School Ideal in America:
Politics, Law and Finance"

Dr. Kern Alexander
Excellence Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech
Robinson Eminent Scholar's Chair Emeritus, University of North Florida

photo of Dr. Kern AlexanderDr. Kern Alexander is Excellence Professor, College of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, where he teaches courses in school law, higher education law, school finance and higher education finance. He is Editor of the Journal of Education Finance, distributed by the University of Illinois Press.

Prior to coming to the University of Illinois he served as Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Florida for two decades, University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech for six years, and later he held the Robinson Eminent Scholar’s Chair at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville. He also served as President of Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, and President of Murray State University where he retains the title of President Emeritus.

Dr. Alexander is the author, coauthor or editor of thirty books, including American Public School Law, 8th Edition, Wadsworth-Cengage Learning, The Law of Schools, Students and Teachers, 4th Edition, West Publishing Company, and Public School Finance, Simon & Schuster.

President Bill Clinton spoke of Dr. Alexander in his autobiography, My Life,referring to him as “a nationally recognized expert in education policy.” Dr. Alexander has served as a consultant and court expert in education litigation in twenty two states.

In the landmark case of DeRolph v. State of Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio relied for guidance on Alexander’s interpretation of the Ohio Constitution’s language (1851), that required the state legislature to establish a “thorough and efficient” system of education.

Earlier, in 1989, the Supreme Court of Kentucky, in a case that lawyers and school finance experts consider to be a watershed regarding a state legislature’s responsibility to provide for adequate funding for public schools, followed Alexander’s definition of the Kentucky constitutional provision that requires the General Assembly to provide for an “efficient” system of common schools.

He holds postgraduate diplomas from Indiana University, Bloomington, and the University of Oxford, Pembroke College, England, Department of Educational Studies (with distinction), Two dissertations (See "Judicial Review of Educational Policy: The Teaching of Tameside," British Journal of Educational Studies, Vol XXVI, No. 3, 1978.

Distinguished Educational Research Lecture Series logo

Distinguished Educational Research Scholars

2016 – Dr. Kern Alexander
2015 – Dr. Sonia Nieto
2014 – Dr. Chris Dede

2013 – Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings

Presentation Archive