Diana Hess
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Year Elected


Membership status

Diana E. Hess is the dean of the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin (UW)–Madison and holds the Karen A. Falk Distinguished Chair of Education. Dr. Hess's research focuses on civic and democratic education. Her first book, Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion (Routledge, 2009), won the Exemplary Research Award (2009) from the National Council for the Social Studies. Her second book, co-authored with Professor Paula McAvoy, titled The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education (Routledge, 2015) won the American Educational Research Association's Outstanding Book Award (2016) and the Grawemeyer Award (2017). Dr. Hess also received the Jean Dresden Grambs Career Research in Social Studies Award from the National Council for the Social Studies (2017). In 2019, Dr. Hess was elected to the National Academy of Education. Her research has been funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Dr. Hess is currently the principal investigator of a multi-year study of The Discussion Project, a professional development program that aims to help instructors create inclusive, engaging, and academically rigorous discussions in higher education courses. Formerly, Dr. Hess was the senior vice president of the Spencer Foundation, a high school teacher, a teachers' union president, and the associate executive director of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago. Dr. Hess received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1998.

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