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Constance Ewing Cook
School of Education

Constance Ewing Cook has two major areas of expertise. The first concerns American political interest groups, which is the topic of two of her books: Lobbying for Higher Education: How Colleges and Universities Influence Federal Policy (Vanderbilt University Press, 1998), and Nuclear Power and Legal Advocacy: The Environmentalists and the Courts (D.C. Heath/Lexington Books, 1980). Her expertise also concerns issues of institutional transformation to improve teaching and learning and she has been writing and speaking on that topic for more than a decade. She has authored numerous journal articles and conference papers on educational innovation.

Since 2006, Cook has served as associate vice provost for academic affairs. In that role, she leads a variety of initiatives on behalf of the provost, including U-M department chair training and professional development for international higher education leaders.

Cook has served as executive director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) at the University of Michigan since 1993. CRLT, created in 1962, was the first faculty development center in the nation and has long served as a model for new teaching centers. Cook has recently written a book with her CRLT colleagues describing strategies to improve teaching on a research university campus: Advancing the Culture of Teaching on Campus: How a Teaching Center Can Make a Difference (Stylus Publishing, 2011).

CRLT works with U-M faculty and graduate student instructors (GSIs) in all nineteen U-M schools and colleges to support the improvement of teaching. For both U-M faculty and GSIs, CRLT provides orientation programs for new instructors, roundtables and workshops on teaching improvement, individual consultations, midterm student feedback, support for the use of instructional technology, and research-based publications about educational innovation. CRLT also provides services for individual U-M departments and schools/colleges, such as evaluation research on curricular reforms, customized seminars and retreats, support for unit-wide GSI training, and consultations on teaching improvement for deans and chairs. CRLT encourages the creation of environments in which diverse students can learn and excel through its multicultural teaching and learning services. The services include a unique interactive theater troupe, the CRLT Players, which presents provocative vignettes to engage instructors in discussions of pedagogy, diversity and inclusion in the classroom.

From 1987-90, Cook was coordinator of the FIPSE Comprehensive Program at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington DC. FIPSE (the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) was a highly selective annual grants competition awarding funds to colleges and universities for improvement projects and innovations in higher education, including faculty development, curricular reform, assessment of student learning outcomes, and access and retention projects.
Before going to Washington, Cook taught political science at Albion College, where she chaired the Political Science Department. She received a BA from Barnard College, MA from Pennsylvania State University, and PhD from Boston University, all in political science.

Professor Cook studies faculty development and instructional improvement, institutional transformation to create a culture of teaching at a research university, and Chinese higher education.