Terri Wilson 2019
Associate Professor • Faculty Director
Educational Foundations, Policy & Practice • Master's in Higher Education

Miramontes Baca Education Building, Room 504
University of Colorado Boulder
249 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309

Terri S. Wilson is an Associate Professor in the School of Education, in the Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice (EFPP) area. She also serves as Faculty Director of the MA in Higher Education (MAHE) program.

A philosopher of education, Dr. Wilson’s scholarship focuses on the relationship between individual choices, rights and interests in education, and how these intersect with the public goods of education, including equity, justice and democratic participation. She aims to connect philosophy to pressing questions in education policy, asking both conceptual (e.g., what is “the public” in public education?) and normative questions (e.g., what identities should be recognized in school choice?). Taken as a whole, her work aims to develop a better understanding of the distinctly public aims of education, and how policy might best further those aims. She is currently pursuing work in three main areas:

First, her work asks philosophical questions about school choice, differentiation, and justice. Here, she is working on a book project, “How Different Should Schools Be? Choice, Recognition and Justice in Education," which explores how we might balance the interests of families to choose specific or distinctive school missions (e.g., a charter school focused on a particular language or culture) with arguments for a common, integrated school system. In connection with this project, she has also written about the conceptual foundations of how school choice 'works' as a policy, and questions that choice raises about the public purposes of education.

Second, she is interested in how choices are shaped and constrained by organizational and systemic contexts. Choice is, notably, limited by the supply and range of actual school options, as well as by how these options are framed for parents. Her interest in these “supply-side” questions initially focused on charter school marketing and market “segmentation.” More recently, she has been studying an emerging group of "intentionally diverse" charter schools. These schools attempt to leverage choice for integration, but also raise intriguing questions about the meaning, purpose, and potential commodification of diversity.

Finally, she is finalizing a larger, collaborative project that explores recent activism to "opt out" of state assessments, and how this movement raises longstanding philosophical questions about the proper scope of state and family authority over the provision of education. Across these different projects, Dr. Wilson remains interested in exploring how philosophy offers methodological resources for exploring the moral and ethical dimensions of education.

Dr. Wilson has been at CU Boulder since 2015, and teaches courses in philosophy of education, education policy and research methodology. She previously taught at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and was a 2012-2014 National Academy of Education/ Spencer Postdoctoral Scholar. Wilson completed her PhD at Teachers College, Columbia University, and previously worked for the St. Paul Public Schools, as well as with different community engagement and organizing initiatives in Minnesota.