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Dr. Lisa Walker


Dr. Lisa Walker, Visiting Senior Research Specialist at UIC’s Center for Urban School Leadership since 2014, has a PhD from Northwestern University in Learning Sciences and over 15 years of experience applying qualitative and quantitative methods within research-practice partnerships to improve schools. She currently focuses on using networked improvement communities and improvement science methods to support developing school leaders and principal supervisors for neighborhood and high-need schools. Dr. Walker has recently presented her work on continuous improvement at two national convenings of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Dr. Walker led the improvement of the selection process for the UIC EdD Program in Urban Education Leadership, documented in two continuous improvement briefs: Part I and Part II. This contributed to a Spotlight Honoree Award for CUEL from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in recognition of quality in its continuous improvement work. Her current work on leadership of high-churn schools has engaged school and system leaders as collaborators in developing knowledge to impact these schools. Areas of content expertise include improvement of high-need schools, P-3 literacy education, teacher leadership, vulnerable student populations, and school and community partnerships.

Dr. Walker also contributes to CUEL’s mentor support of two university principal preparation programs as part of a $47M 4-year project funded by The Wallace Foundation to transform university-based principal preparationPrior professional experiences in applied research institutes at the University of Chicago—to advance school improvement and improve services for children, families, and communities—shape her current initiatives to better understand how school leaders can be responsive to social context challenges and opportunities to improve schools.