Photo of William Penuel
Professor • Director
LSHD: Learning Sciences & Human Development • National Center for Research in Policy and Practice

School of Education, Room 320-E 
University of Colorado Boulder
249 UCB Boulder, CO 80309

Bill Penuel is Professor of Educational Psychology & Learning Sciences. He joined the faculty of the School of Education in 2011.

Professor Penuel began his career in the field of youth development, developing expertise in program development and evaluation. In his doctoral and early career research, he developed a framework that integrated traditional psychosocial perspectives on identity formation with Vygotskian theories of development. As Director of Evaluation Research at the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International, Professor Penuel developed a broad program of education research in STEM education. During his thirteen years at SRI, he conducted a variety of design, assessment, and evaluation research studies and developed expertise in educational technologies, classroom assessment, implementation research, and large-scale cluster randomized trials of educational innovations.

Professor Penuel’s current research focuses on teacher learning and organizational processes that shape the implementation of educational policies, school curricula, and afterschool programs. He examines learning and development from sociocultural, social capital, and complex social systems perspectives. In one project funded by the National Science Foundation, he is developing and testing models of teacher professional development related to the Next Generation Science Standards. In another project with Cynthia Coburn (Northwestern University) funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, he is studying the dynamics of research-practice partnerships focused on instructional improvement in mathematics. Two of Professor Penuel’s current projects, Synergies (Noyce Foundation, with John Falk and Lyn Dierking of Oregon State University) and the Longitudinal Study of Connected Learning (MacArthur Foundation), are examining how children’s interests develop over time and across different kinds of settings.

Professor Penuel’s teaching interests focus on research methodologies for the learning sciences, adolescent development, and educational technology. He recently developed a new course for the Education Minor called Learning with Technology in and out of School.

Professor Penuel is the author of over 60 refereed journal articles and conference papers. He recently edited two National Society for the Study of Education Yearbooks: Learning Research as a Human Science (2010; with Kevin O’Connor) and Design-Based Implementation Research (2013; with Barry Fishman, Anna-Ruth Allen, Nora Sabelli, & Britte Cheng).

Professor Penuel serves on the editorial board for Teachers College Record, American Journal of Evaluation, and Cognition and Instruction. He served as co-chair (with Susan Jurow and Kevin O’Connor) of the 11th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, which was hosted at CU-Boulder in June 2014.
 

Education

PhD Developmental Psychology, Clark University, 1996
EdM Human Development and Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 1992
BA Psychology, Clark University, 1991

Articles

DeBarger, A.H., Penuel, W.R., Harris, C.J., & Kennedy, C.A. (2015). Building an Assessment Argument to Design and Use Next Generation Science Assessments in Efficacy Studies of Curriculum InterventionsAmerican Journal of Evaluation

Penuel, W.R., Allen, A.R., Farrell, C., & Coburn, C. (2015). Conceptualizing research-practice partnerships as joint work at boundariesJournal for Education of Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 20(1-2), 182-197.

Penuel, W.R. (2014). Studying Science and engineering learning in practiceCultural Studies of Science Education. 1-16. doi: 10.1007/s11422-014-9632-x