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Joanne Golann

Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations


Joanne W. Golann is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Education and an Assistant Professor of Sociology (secondary appointment) at Vanderbilt University. Trained as a sociologist and an ethnographer, she seeks to understand how culture shapes educational policy and practice. She is committed to listening and learning from others, and wants her students to develop a critical lens and a sense of empathy when evaluating educational policies and programs.

Dr. Golann is currently working on a book project, Scripting the Moves: Class, Control, and Urban School Reform, based on 18 months of fieldwork inside a high-performing “no-excuses” charter school. In the book, she considers what it takes—and what it costs—to equalize opportunities for low-income students of color. She is also a lead researcher on the New Jersey Families Study, an innovative two-week home video-ethnography project that explores how families, across race and social class, build skills and knowledge in their children in their earliest years.

Dr. Golann received a Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University. She received a master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in English from Amherst College. She also is a recipient of the National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship.