Nancy Jennings

Associate Professor of Education Emerita

Speaking on Maine Public Radio recently, Bowdoin College’s Nancy Jennings had some words of advice for students preparing to head to college for the first time: stay in the present, and find something you’re passionate about. New students are bombarded with so many decisions to make and deadlines to meet, she said, that it’s easy to overlook the college experience as it’s happening, and fail to get the most out of it.

Jennings, associate professor of education emerita, was speaking on MPBN’s weekday call-in program, Maine Calling on August 18, 2016. The program was called “Surviving the First Year of College,” a subject pertinent to Jennings, who has co-authored a new book, Practice for Life: Making Decisions in College (Harvard University Press, 2016). The book draws on a five-year study—following more than 200 students at seven New England liberal arts colleges—to argue for substantial changes to how students make the most of college.

Education

  • B.A., Classical Languages, Macalister College; St. Paul, Minnesota, 1971
  • Graduate Program in Classical Languages, University of Chicago, 1973-74
  • M.S., Library and Information Science, University of Illinois; Urbana-Champaign, 1975
  • Ph.D., Curriculum, Instruction and Social Policy, Michigan State University, 1992

Selected Publications

Practice For Life

Cuba, L., Jennings, N., Lovett, S., Swingle, J. (2016) Practice for Life: Making Decisions in College.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Jennings, N.E., Lovett, S., Cuba, L., Swingle, J.,& Lindkvist, H. (2013). 'What Would Make This a Successful Year for You?’ How Students Define Success in College, Liberal Education 99(2) 40-47

Cuba, L., Jennings, N.E., Lovett, S., Swingle, J., Lindkvist, H. & Howard, A.  (2011). Diversity from the Student’s Point of View. Change: The Magazine of  Higher Learning 43(4) 32-38.

Jennings, N.E., Swidler, S., & Koliba, C. (forthcoming) Place-Based Education in a  Standards-Based  Reform Era-- Conflict or Complement? American Journal of Education

Jennings, N.E. (forthcoming).  Implementing Accountability Reforms:  Challenges and Victories in Rural Schools.   Columbus, Ohio: ACCLAIM.

Jennings, N.E. (2000).  Standards and Local Curriculum:  A Zero-Sum Game? Journal of Research in Rural Education, 16(3) 193-201.
Article (PDFpdf) »

Jennings, N.E. (1999). Reform in Small Places: Implementation of Comprehensive State Policies in Rural Schools. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 15(3) 127-140.
Article (PDFpdf) »

Spillane, J.S. & Jennings, N.E. (1997). Aligned instructional policy and ambitious pedagogy: Exploring instructional reform from the classroom perspective. Teachers College Record, 98(3) 449-481.
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Prawat, R. S., & Jennings, N.E. (1997) Students as Context for Teachers Learning about Practice: Cases of Two Upper-Elementary Mathematics Teachers. Elementary School Journal, 97(3) 251-270.

Guiding Teacher LearningJennings, N.E., Peasley, K., & Rosaen, C. (1997). Learning with experience. In Feiman-Nemser and Rosaen, C. (eds.). Guiding Teacher Learning: Insider Studies of Classroom Work with Prospective and Practicing Teachers. Washington D.C.: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

Jennings, N.E. & Spillane, J. P. (1996) State reform and local capacity: Encouraging ambitious instruction for all and local decision-making. Journal of Education Policy, 11(4) 465-482.

Jennings, N.E. & Spillane, J.P. (1996) Review of Policy Efforts in South Carolina. Journal of Education Policy, 11(5) 625-631.

Interpreting policy in real classrooms: Case studies of state reform and teacher practice - by Nancy JenningsJennings, N.E. (1996). Interpreting policy in real classrooms: Case studies of state reform and teacher practice . New York: Teachers College Press.

Jennings, N.E., and Grant, S.G. (1994) Learning to read: Teachers learning from reform. In Kinzer, C. and Leu, D. (eds.) Multidimensional Aspects of Literacy Research, Theory, and Practice: 43rd Yearbook of the National Reading Conference .

Wiemers, N.J. (1990) Transformation and accommodation: A case study of Joe Scott. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 12 (3) 281- 292.

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Presentations

Belling the Cat:  Place-Based Education in the Era of Standards-Based Reforms.  (Paper delivered at annual conference of American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA, 2004 and at the  National Rural Education Association,  Kearney, Nebraska, 2003

Teaching to Pass:  The Effects of High-Stakes Assessments in Rural Schools.  (Paper delivered at annual conference of American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, 2002.)

Standards and Local Curriculum,  (Talk delivered at National Association of Rural Education,Research Forum, Albuquerque, New Mexico, October, 2001)

The "Place" of Standards-Based Reform in Rural Schools. (Paper delivered at annual conference of American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, 2000.)

Examining Reform in Rural Schools: Case Studies of Implementation Efforts in Two South Carolina Schools. (Paper delivered at annual conference of American Educational Research Association, Montreal, 1999.)

Reform in Small Places: Implementation of Comprehensive State Policies in Rural Schools. (Paper delivered at annual conference of National Rural Education Association, Buffalo, NY. 1998.)

With Spillane, J.P. Exploring Instructional Dilemmas in Realizing Ideal Practice. (Paper delivered at annual conference of American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA, 1998.)

With Parsons, B.E. Learning to Reform: Opportunities for policymakers to learn together. (Paper delivered at annual conference of American Educational Research Association, Chicago, 1997).

With Spillane, J.P. For all children: Practitioners' views of traditionally disadvantaged students and instructional reforms. (Paper delivered at annual conference of American Educational Research Association, New York, April, 1996).

Local Agendas and State Reform: Enactment is in the Eye of the Beholder. In symposium: Tensions Inherent in Reform: Cases from South Carolina. (Paper delivered at annual conference of American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, April, 1995

With J.P. Spillane and S.G. Grant. Implementing state reading policy: The paradox of constructing meaning. (Paper delivered at annual meeting of National Reading Conference, Charleston, SC, December 1993).

With S.G. Grant. Learning to read: Teachers learning from reform. (Paper delivered at annual meeting of National Reading Conference, Charleston, SC, December 1993).

Getting the message out: The pedagogy of the policy. (Paper delivered at annual meeting of Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, Washington, DC, October 1993.

Teacher learning and change: Case studies from California and Michigan. (Paper delivered at the International Congress for School Effectiveness, Victoria, British Columbia, January 1992).

Honors, Awards, and Grants

  • Spencer Small Research Grant, November, 2001.

  • Sydney B. Karofsky Award for Junior Faculty (teaching award) Bowdoin College, May, 2000.

  • 1992 Outstanding Dissertation Award. College of Education, Michigan State University, August 1993.

  • Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, Michigan State University, College of Education, May 1993.

  • Professional Excellence Award, Michigan State University College of Education, 1990.