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Christopher Harrison, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Education


Today, more than ever, the continued well-being of our communities and nation depends on the work of dedicated educators ready to make an indelible mark on the lives of their students. To ensure that our graduates are ready to take up that charge, our task is to create rich learning experiences that allow our future teachers and school leaders to develop deep professional identities, to delve into the theory and research underlying educational practice, and to apply what they learn to real school and classroom settings.

-Christopher Harrison

Carol J. Barnett / Curry Education Office - 208



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Dr. Harrison is a Lakeland native and proud product of Polk County Schools. He has been an educator for over 15 years, with experiences ranging from teaching 10th grade World History in Leon County, FL to serving as the Director of Research and Program Evaluation for Madison Metropolitan School District in Madison, Wisconsin. His scholarship and teaching explore how research and other forms of evidence inform educators' decision making and practice, how public schools and districts support organizational learning and continuous improvement, how we build effective partnerships between researchers and practitioners, and the politics of teacher policy. His work has been published in several journals, including AERA Open, Teachers College Record, Educational Administration Quarterly, and Educational Policy. 


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - 2015
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Social Science Education 
    Florida State University - 2009
  • Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History 
    University of South Florida - 2003


I love hiking, reading, and am a life-long comic book nerd. These days, though, I spend most of my free time being "dad"!


Outstanding Dissertation Award (Runner Up) – The Politics of Education Association. (2016)

Emerging Education Policy Scholar – The Fordham Institute and American Enterprise Institute. (2016)

David L. Clark Scholar – David. L. Clark National Graduate Student Research Seminar in Educational Administration and Policy. (2014).


Refereed Journal Articles

Farrell, C., Harrison, C., & Coburn, C. (2019). “What the hell is this and who the hell are you?” Role and identity negotiation in research-practice partnerships. AERA Open.

Harrison, C., Wachen, J., Brown, S., & Cohen-Vogel, L. (2019). A view from within: Lessons learned from doing continuous improvement research. Teachers College Record, 121(9), 1-38.

Cohen-Vogel, L., Allen, D., Rutledge, S., Cannata, M., Harrison, C., & Smith, T. (2018). The dilemmas of research-practice partnerships: Implications for improvement research in education. Journal of Research on Organization in Education, 2, p. 1-24

Harrison, C., Davidson, K., & Farrell, C. (2017). Building more productive relationships: District leaders’ advice for researchers. The International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 12(4), 1-16.

Wachen, J., Harrison, C., & Cohen-Vogel, L. (2017). Data use as instructional reform: Exploring educators’ reports of classroom practice. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 1-30.

Harrison, C. (2017). Advocacy groups and the discourse of teacher policy reform: An analysis of policy narratives. Peabody Journal of Education, 92(1), 42-52.

Tichnor-Wagner, A., Harrison, C., & Cohen-Vogel, L. (2016). Cultures of learning in effective high schools. Educational Administration Quarterly, 52(4), p. 602-642.

Kainz, K., Cohen-Vogel, L., & Harrison, C. (April 2015). Continuous improvement as an ideal for improving teaching and teaching evaluation. American School Board Journal.

Cohen-Vogel, L., Tichnor-Wagner, A., Allen, D., Harrison, C., Kainz, K., Socol, A. R., & Wang, Q. (2015). Implementing educational innovations at scale: Transforming researchers into Continuous Improvement scientists. Educational Policy, 29(1), p. 257-277.

Cohen-Vogel, L. & Harrison, C. (2013). Leading with data: Evidence from the National Center on Scaling Up Effective Schools. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 12(2), p. 122-145.

Harrison, C. & Cohen-Vogel, L. (2012). The politics of teacher reform in Florida: Analyzing causal narratives surrounding state adoption of performance-based evaluations, performance pay and tenure elimination. Peabody Journal of Education, 87(5), p. 517-534.

Book Chapters

Wong, L., Spillane, J., Huguet, A., Harrison, C., & Coburn, C. (2022). School leaders’ use of research: Viewing research use in decision making through an organizational lens. In The International Encyclopedia of Education. Eds. Tierney, Rizfi, F., & Ercikan, K. Elsevier.

Cohen-Vogel, L., Harrison, C. & Cohen-Vogel, D. (2022). On teams: Exploring variation in the social organization of improvement research in education. In The Foundational Handbook on Improvement Research in Education. Eds. Peurach, D., Russel, J.L., Cohen-Vogel, L, & Penuel, W. London: Sage Publications.

Cohen-Vogel, L., Harrison, C., Griffard, M. (2019). Organizing for continuous improvement in education. In Oxford Bibliographies in Education. Ed. Anne Hynds. New York: Oxford University Press.

Huguet, A., Wong, L., Harrison, C., Coburn, C., & Spillane, J. (2018). Research use in schools: A framework for understanding research use in school-level decision making. In The SAGE Handbook of School Organization. London: Sage Publications.