Wayne State University

Carolyn M. Shields

Carolyn M. Shields
397 Education Building

Office Hours: By appointment

(313) 577-1692


1968   Queen's University, BA, French, English

1970   Queen's University, MA, French

1991   University of Saskatchewan, PhD, Educational Administration

1993   Certificate, Problem-based Learning, PBL Training Institute, Palo Alto, CA

1993   National Association of Secondary School Principal's Assessment Training Certification

1986   Certificate, Creative Education Foundation, Certification, Buffalo, NY and Vancouver, BC

           Specialist Certification in Special Education, Advanced French as a Second Language,  

 and Administrative Officer Training


2009                Recipient, Distinguished Service Award (career contributions) presented by the Canadian Association for Studies in Educational Administration, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Recipient, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award, College of Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

2004                Elected Fellow of the Commonwealth Council of Educational Administration and Management.

2000                Recipient Liebman Book Award for Shields, C. M. & Oberg, S. L. (2000). Year-round schooling: Promises and pitfalls.


Professional Experience:

Currently:   Professor, College of Education, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

2005-2011       Professor and Administrator, Department of Educational Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

1994-2005       Professor (all ranks) and Administrator, Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada

1991-1994       Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, Salt Lake City, UT

1970-1994       Teacher (mostly high school, some elementary for school districts in Labrador, Newfoundland, Ontario, and Saskatchewan); subjects taught: English, French, Special Education

Contributions to Training:

2004                Director and Instructor Leadership Training Institute, Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China (planned and conducted training for 40 secondary school principals)

1996-present   Consultant to schools and school districts related to structural education change (year-round schooling) including the Roberta Bondar School, Peel, ON; Conseil Scolarie d’Ottawa, Richmond and Penticton School Districts, BC

1992-present   Various workshops conducted related to the improvement of instruction and instructional leadership in contexts of diversity for academic departments, schools, and school districts in Canada, the U.S., and New Zealand, e.g. Hille Middle School, Tinsdale, IL

1992-2003       Repeated consulting, program evaluation, and staff development contracts with the San Juan School District, UT, the district that contains the Utah portion of the Navajo Reservation, where my focus was Navajo schools

2004-2006       External program reviewer for Ministry of Education NS and Ontario and Massey University, New Zealand

Administrative Experience (Education):

2011-2014   Dean and Professor, College of Education, Wayne State University

Present            Advisory board member of five international refereed journals

2005-present   Board member, University Council of Educational Administration (UCEA)

2005-2007       Department Head, Educational Organization and Leadership (University of Illinois, Urbana Champagne - UIUC)

2000-2004       Department Head, Educational Studies (University of British Columbia - UBC)

2000-2004       Board Member, Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management

1996-1998       Director, UBC-British Columbia Principals and Vice-Principals Association, Principals’ Short Course

1999-2003       Elected member of the UBC Senate

1998-2004       Appointed Member, BC Ministerial Advisory Council on Academic Standards

1998-2000       President of the Canadian Association for Studies in Educational Administration (also program chair and member of the Board of the Canadian Society for Studies in Education)

1997-2001       Appointed Member, BC Ministerial Advisory Council on Multiculturalism

Research Experience:

Over 1 million dollars in grant funding.


I support human, cultural, and intellectual diversity within an inclusive environment that encourages research and program development advancing the field of education.

Academic Interests

My career has focused on cross-cultural understanding, cross-cultural leadership, and democratic education and leadership. I was a teacher in K-12 public education for 18 years and have been an administrator, teacher, researcher, and professor for over 20 years in higher education. I work collaboratively with colleagues in many countries and have supervised numerous international graduate students. I have planned and conducted leadership training in China; been a consultant to schools on the Navajo nation, to ministerial multicultural and education committees and have done volunteer work with non-profit organizations. Hence, skills are in program development, administration, educational policy development, research and supervision—all related to cross-cultural understanding and social justice.

Area of Expertise

My teaching and research focuses on leadership for academic excellence and social justice, including the creation of environments in which democratic organizations can effectively prepare students for participation, engagement and citizenship in a pluralistic civil society and global community.  While recognizing the importance of contributing to a body of theoretical knowledge, I am also committed to research that has the potential to improve leadership practice and educational policy, and that contributes to a better understanding of how school leaders in diverse and multicultural contexts can create inclusive teaching and learning environments. Through my scholarly efforts I seek to help leaders understand that social justice involves facilitating the academic success of students as well as attending to the impact of inequitable conditions in the wider society. 

Research Interests

Community Engagement Activities

Service activities include university service and service to the profession as well as community engagement, i.e., principal leadership institutes in British Columbia and in China, appointment to provincial ministerial advisory committees related to diversity as well as educational academic standards, and founder of the School Leadership Center at UBC.   Community service contributions include founding a non-profit organization to send books to schools in need and membership on the British Columbia Leadership Council.

2008-present   Founding Director and Board Member, non-profit, Books to Schools (shipping books to schools in developing countries in need of print materials)

2000-2005       Board member of non-profit World Servants, BC (raised funds and helped plan development projects)


To Know Is Not Enough: Engaging in Courageous Conversations for the Good of All
Shields, C. 2012   American Educational Research Association
Preparing Urban Teachers in a Postindustrial City
Shields, C. 2012   American Educational Research Association