Brian Rowan

Research Professor, Survey Research Center, Burke A Hinsdale Collegiate Professor of Education, Prof of Education, School of Education, Prof of Sociology, College of LS&A

Photo of Brian Rowan


Brian Rowan is the Burke A. Hinsdale Collegiate Professor in Education, a research professor at the Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, and a professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. A sociologist by training (PhD, Stanford University), Rowan’s research has focused on the organization and management of schooling, paying special attention to the measurement and improvement of teaching quality. Over the past 10 years, he has been principal investigator of several large-scale survey and video studies of teaching practice, including the Study of Instructional Improvement, the Description of Reading Instruction in the United States, Understanding Teaching Quality, the Measures of Effective Teaching-Extension project, and the Pilot of Educator Effectiveness Tools in Michigan. His current research includes a randomized field trial of an early grades reading intervention, an evaluation of a high school instructional improvement program (known as Excellence for All initiative), and a study of online high schools in Florida. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Education and past recipient of the William J. Davis award for outstanding scholarship in the field of educational administration. He also has served on the editorial boards of top scientific journals in the field and consulted widely with U.S. federal government and U.S. private research organizations. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1991, he was a senior research director at Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development, in San Francisco, California, and chairperson of the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University.

Funded Research


  • Rowan, Brian; Raudenbush, Stephen W. (2016). Teacher evaluation in American Schools. In Gitomer, D. H.; Bell, C. A. (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching. American Educational Research Association:Washington,D.C..
  • Rowan, Brian (2011). Intervening to Improve the Educational Outcomes of Students in Poverty: Lessons from Recent Work in High-Poverty Schools. xix, 551 p. :. In Duncan,Greg J. and Murnane,Richard J. (Ed.), Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children's Life Chances. Russell Sage Foundation ;:New York.
  • Carlisle, Joanne F.; Kelcey, Ben; Rowan, Brian and Phelps, Geoffrey (2011). Teachers’ Knowledge about Early Reading: Effects on Students’ Gains in Reading Achievement. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 4(4), 289-321.
  • Rowan, Brian (2010). Organizational Institutionalism at Stanford: Reflections on the Founding of a 30-Year Theoretical Research Program. 28, 3. In Dobbin,F. and Schoonhoven,C. B. (Ed.), Stanford's Organization Theory Renaissance, 1970-2000, A Volume in Research in the Sociology of Organizations. Emerald Insight:Bingley, UK.
  • Rowan, Brian; Camburn, Eric and Correnti, Richard (2009). Teacher Logs as a Tool for Studying Education Process. In Belli,Robert F.; Stafford,Frank P. and Alwin,Duane F. (Ed.), Calendar and Time Diary : Methods in Life Course Research. SAGE:Los Angeles.
  • Rowan, Brian and Correnti, Richard (2009). Studying Reading Instruction with Teacher Logs: Lessons from the Study of Instructional Improvement. Educational Researcher, 38(2), 120-131.
  • Rowan, Brian and Correnti, Richard (2009). Interventions to Improve Instruction: How Implementation Strategies Affect Instructional Change. 8. In Hoy,Wayne K. and DiPaola,Michael F. (Ed.), Studies in School Improvement: A Volume in Theory and Research in Educational Administration. IAP/Information Age Publishing:Charlotte, N.C.
  • Rowan, Brian; Jacob, Robin T. and Corentti, R. (2009). Using Instructional Logs to Identify Quality in Educational Settings. 13. In Yohalem,Nicole; Granger,Robert C. and Pittman,Karen J. (Ed.), Defining and Measuring Quality in Youth Programs and Classrooms. Wiley:San Francisco, Calif.
  • Kataoka, S.; Rowan, Brian and Hoagwood, K. (2009). Bridging the Divide: In Search of Common Ground in Mental Health and Education Research and Policy. Psychiatric Services, 60(11), 1510-1515.
  • Rowan, Brian; Correnti, Richard; Miller, Robert J. and Camburn, Eric (2009). School Improvement by Design: Lessons from a Study of Comprehensive School Reform Designs. In Sykes,Gary; Schneider,Barbara L. and Plank,David N. (Ed.), Handbook on Education Policy Research. Routledge:London.
  • Parkinson, J. and Rowan, Brian (2008). Poverty, Literacy Achievement, and Educational Reform. In Neuman,Susan B. (Ed.), Educating the Other America : Top Experts Tackle Poverty, Literacy, and Achievement in our Schools. Paul H. Brookes Pub. Co:Baltimore, Md.
  • Rowan, Brian (2008). Does the School Improvement Industry Help Or Prevent Deep and Sound Change?. Journal of Educational Change, 9(2), 197-202.