Graduate School of Education
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Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Emeritus
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsMost Recent Book:
My new book – A Perfect Mess: The Unlikely Ascendancy of American Higher Education – is an essay about the nature of the American system of higher education. American higher education is an anomaly. In the second half of the 20th century it surged past its European forebears to become the dominant system in the world – with more money, influence, Nobel prizes, and drawing power than any of the systems that served as its models. By all rights, this never should have happened. Its origins were remarkably humble, arising from a loose assortment of parochial 19th century liberal arts colleges, which emerged in the pursuit of sectarian expansion and civic boosterism more than scholarly distinction. It was not even a system in the usual sense of the word, since it emerged with no plan, no planner, no prospects, and no reliable source of support. Yet these weaknesses of the American system in the 19th century turned out to be strengths in the 20th. From the difficult circumstances of trying to survive in an environment with a weak state, a divided church, and intense competition with peer institutions, American colleges developed into a system of higher education that was lean, adaptable, consumer-sensitive, self-supporting, and radically decentralized. This put the system in a strong position to expand and prosper when, before the turn of the century, it finally got what it was most grievously lacking: academic credibility (which came when it adopted elements of the German research university) and large student enrollments (which came when middle class families started to see social advantage in sending their children to college).
This system is extraordinarily complex, bringing together contradictory educational goals, a broad array political constituencies, diverse sources of funds, and multiple forms of authority into a single institutional arena characterized by creative tension and local autonomy. One tension is between the influence of the market and the influence of the state. Another arises from the conflict among three social-political visions of higher education – as undergraduate college (populist), graduate school (elite), and land grant college (practical). A third arises from the way the system combines three alternative modes of authority – traditional, rational, and charismatic. In combination, these elements promote organizational complexity, radical stratification, broad political and financial support, partial autonomy, and adaptive entrepreneurial behavior.
Professor of Education
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsBicultural competence and resilience in ethnic minority adolescent development. Particularly, the influence of enculturation and acculturation experiences on adolescent development. Cultural considerations in individual, school and community-based psychological interventions with adolescents and emerging adults.
Visiting Scholar, GSE Faculty Affairs
BioChristy Lao is Associate Professor in the Graduate College of Education at San Francisco State University and core faculty in the Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) Bilingual Authorization Program. Previously, she was a faculty member of the Bilingual/Bicultural Program of Teachers College, Columbia University and of Hong Kong Baptist University. Her research focuses on second language acquisition, bilingual and biliteracy development, and teacher education. Her most recent research project titled “California STARTALK Project for Chinese Bilingual Teacher Candidates (CAST)” https://www.discosino.net aims to develop a nontraditional Chinese program to help college students improve their Chinese and prepare them to become bilingual teacher to alleviate California’s critical shortage of Chinese bilingual teachers.
Lao has worked very closely with schools and school districts to help develop Chinese dual language programs in San Francisco, New York City, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. She has provided professional development in second language and literacy development in the U.S. and in many parts of the world. Lao is a featured presenter at the National Association of Bilingual Education and at the California Association of Bilingual Education.
During her visiting scholar appointment at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, Lao will be working with Dr. Rebecca Silverman to explore the effect of the CLAVES intervention on the academic language, reading comprehension, and writing of Chinese speaking English language learners.
Anh Thi Le
Finance Director, GSE Dean's Office Operations
Current Role at StanfordFinance Director
Transformer Learning Accelerator (TLA)
Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE)
Stanford Graduate School of Education
Postdoctoral Scholar, Education
BioAnnie Le is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Walkout! Lab for Youth Justice at Stanford University. She supports the DisCrit Incarcerated and DisCrit & Disproportionality projects.
Annie's research agenda focuses on the intersection of racial equity, schooling, and carcerality. Her latest research uses qualitative methods to examine how criminalization and gang affiliation impact processes of racialization for Asian American and Pacific Islander youth. She led several qualitative projects on the experiences of incarcerated youth, in LA county and in Guam.
Annie earned her Ph.D. in Social Sciences and Comparative Education at UCLA with a specialization in race and ethinic studies. She served as a Research Associate for the Institution for Immigration, Globalization, and Education, the Center for the Transformation of Schools, and UCLA's Prison Education Program. As a graduate student she co-led a mentoring program for incarcerated boys in the "high risk" unit at a juvenile hall in LA county.