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Sam Whalen


Sam Whalen, CUEL Research Director. Dr. Whalen is Research Director for CUEL. In this role, Whalen oversees all CUEL research. He is a quantitative and qualitative methodologist with expertise in program evaluation as well as the design of robust data infrastructures for use with evaluation and continuous improvement (the latter of which contributed to CUEL work recognized by the Spotlight Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching). Areas of content expertise include school leadership preparation/development, professional learning, and school-community partnerships.

Since 2019, Dr. Whalen has led the CUEL research related to study of the urban principalship, inquiry into processes of school leadership development, the improvement of pre-service and in-service supports for early career school leaders, and CEO uses of continuous improvement processes. He 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 preparation. Prior to joining UIC in 2003, Dr. Whalen was a Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago and Research Director at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. He earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in Education.