The power of networks for co-creating Educational Futures – A conversation with Dennis Shirley

Home » The power of networks for co-creating Educational Futures – A conversation with Dennis Shirley

Dennis Shirley, Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, is recognized as one of the foremost experts in educational change including the power of networks for advancing public education. His most recent publication, The New Imperatives of Educational Change: Achievement with Integrity, sets out principles for educational development that draw on his decades of research and collaboration with practitioners and policy-makers around the world.

In January, 2021, the Education Futures Partnership reached out to professor Shirley to draw on his insights regarding the network including its recent effort to launch a strategic research initiative, The Futures of Large-Scale Assessments.

The following experts from our conversation with Dennis outlines the promises of the present moment for rethinking the nature of research collaborations.


Considering the volatility and uncertainty that characterizes the education sector globally, what seems most challenging and most promising and worth pursuing?


What obstacles need to be overcome, both for academia and teacher organizations if they are going to be successful in collaborate to advance positive educational change?



As you consider some of the success stories of research collaboration in education development and the power of networks, why have so many not lasted or gone to scale? What might we do to insure these problems are not repeated?



Given the aspirations of the Education futures partnership to rethink the nature of research collaboration, in context of the pandemic and its aftermath, what do see as the possible futures for the academic community in terms of conference, publishing and research mobilization?



Given the promise of shift from the current turbulence in the United States and goal instabilities what is the work ahead for teacher organizations and the academy?



The work of the Education Futures Partnership is predicated on the principle that hope is not a strategy but a point of departure. What keeps you focussed moving forward to open up as many desirable futures as possible?


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