Warner Professor Earns Tenure and Promotion in 2010

Kara Finnigan was awarded tenure by the University of Rochester’s Board of Trustees based on her excellence in teaching, research, and service to the University. Her tenure and promotion to associate professor became effective July 1.

Finnigan is an educational policy expert who currently directs the educational policy program at the Warner School of Education. Since joining the faculty in the Department of Educational Leadership in 2003, she has been instrumental in redesigning the Ph.D. program in educational policy and theory and launching a new educational policy master’s program, the first of its kind in the Rochester area.

As an assistant professor, Finnigan has had a prolific and remarkable career. She has conducted research and evaluations of K-12 educational policies and programs at the local, state, and federal levels for more than 17 years through her work at several prominent research organizations, including the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, SRI International, RPP International, and the George Lucas Educational Foundation.

Her work has garnered grants from prominent organizations supporting educational research, including the William T. Grant Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and New York State’s Education Finance Research Consortium based at the Center for Policy Research at the University at Albany. Her most recent study, a collaborative effort with her colleague Alan Daly at the University of California at San Diego and funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, examines the improvement processes of low-performing schools under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) sanctions and the flow of information, innovation, and other resources between these low-performing schools and other schools in their districts, as well as the central office using social network analysis.

She has written extensively on the topics of low-performing schools and high-stakes accountability, as well as on school choice, including charter schools and inter-district choice. Her articles have appeared in top-tier journals, including the American Educational Research Journal, Journal of Educational Change, Educational Policy, Educational Administration Quarterly, Journal of School Leadership, Leadership and Policy in Schools, Journal of School Choice, and Education Policy Analysis Archives.

“Counted among Kara’s many strengths is her capacity to address issues that are at the forefront of educational policy,” says Raffaella Borasi, dean of the Warner School. “Through her research on low-performing schools and accountability, Kara strives to impact policies and decisions that will greatly affect the future of education for America’s youth.”

Finnigan earned her undergraduate degree in English from Dartmouth College, master’s degree in education administration and policy analysis from Stanford University, and doctorate in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Contact: Theresa Danylak

Tags: educational policy, Kara Finnigan