Joseph J. Ferrare

Joseph Ferrare

Assistant Professor

B.A., Political Science, Iowa State University
M.A., Political Science, University of Connecticut
Ph.D., Curriculum Theory and Research Methods, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Office: UW2-212
Email: jferrare@uw.edu
Phone: 425-352-3801

Website: www.josephferrare.com

My scholarly interests center on education policy and research methods. I primarily focus my work on the enduring social inequalities that define our education system and the role of public policy and social networks in shaping these patterns. A major part of this project involves identifying and developing research methods capable of modeling and visualizing the complex processes through which social inequalities in education are created and changed.


I offer courses in the areas of research methods (e.g., statistics, social network analysis, research design, and data visualization) and public policy. In all of these courses, I understand the classroom as a space where people can directly engage with each other to challenge and revise their prior assumptions through an ongoing juxtaposition of ideas and concepts. This requires putting everything on the table for scrutiny and learning to be comfortable with the tension that arises when ideas and concepts come into conflict.

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 232: Visualizing Quantitative Data
BIS 315: Understanding Statistics
BIS 443: Education Policy and the Economy
BPOLST 594: Research Design


I am currently involved in two research projects examining different aspects of education policy at the secondary and postsecondary levels. The first uses longitudinal data to estimate the impacts of Indiana’s school choice policies (charter schools, vouchers, magnets) on outcomes including school discipline, high school graduation, and college enrollment. This project is a collaboration with colleagues from University of Kentucky and University of Notre Dame and is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (Award # R305A190340).

The second project focuses on racial, gender, and class variation in the forms of social capital that graduating college students access and activate as they enter the labor market within the context of economic downturn. This longitudinal study pays close attention to the ways that university programs facilitate (or constrain) social capital activation and how this process differentially unfolds among disadvantaged and marginalized groups. The project is currently being supported by a seed grant from UW Bothell’s Office of Sponsored Projects.

I view the different facets of my research as linked to a broader, long-term project of learning if and how our educational institutions can be more responsive to the structures and narratives that sustain various forms of inequity in society. This project rests on the assumption that educational experiences and outcomes – and the policy-making processes that influence them – take shape through a dynamic interplay between social networks, cultural sense-making practices, bureaucratic governance structures, and markets. These assumptions necessarily lead me to a mixed set of methodological approaches, including social network analysis, field-based methods, and causal modeling.

Selected Publications

Ferrare, Joseph J. 2020. “Embedding Networks in Fields: Toward an Expanded Model of Relational Analysis in Education.” Pp. 45-67 in Relational Sociology and Research on Schools, Colleges and Universities, edited by W. G. Tierney and S. Kolluri. New York, NY: SUNY Press.

Fitzpatrick, Brian, Mark Berends, Joseph J. Ferrare, and R. Joseph Waddington. 2020. “Virtual Illusion: Comparing Student Achievement and Teacher and Classroom Characteristics in Online and Brick and Mortar Charter Schools.” Educational Researcher 49(3):161-175.

Ferrare, Joseph J. 2020. “Charter School Outcomes.” Pp. 160-173 in Handbook of Research on School Choice (2nd Edition), edited by M. Berends, A. Primus, and M. G. Springer. New York, NY: Routledge.

Galey-Horn, Sarah, Sarah Reckhow, Joseph J. Ferrare and Lorien Jansy. 2020. “Building Consensus: Idea Brokerage in Teacher Policy Networks.” American Educational Research Journal 57(2):872-905.

Galey-Horn, Sarah and Joseph J. Ferrare. 2020. “Using Policy Network Analysis to Understand Ideological Convergence in Educational Subsystems.” Education Policy Analysis Archives 28(118):1-23.

Ferrare, Joseph J. and Julia Miller. 2020. “Making Sense of Persistence in Scientific Purgatory: A Multi-Institutional Analysis of Instructors in Introductory STEM Courses.” The Journal of Higher Education 91(1):113-138.

Lee, You-Geon and Joseph J. Ferrare. 2019. "Finding One's Place or Losing the Race? The Consequences of STEM Departure for College Dropout and Degree Completion." The Review of Higher Education 43(1):221-261.

Ferrare, Joseph J. 2019. “A Multi-Institutional Analysis of Instructional Beliefs and Practices in Gateway Courses to the Sciences.” CBE-Life Sciences Education 18(2):1-16.

Ferrare, Joseph J. and R. Renee Setari. 2018. “Converging on Choice: The Inter-State Flow of Foundation Dollars to Charter School Organizations.” Educational Researcher 47(1):34-45.

Ferrare, Joseph J. 2016. “Intergenerational Education Mobility Trends by Race and Gender in the United States.” AERA Open 2(4):1-17.

Ferrare, Joseph J. and Katherine Reynolds. 2016. “Has the Elite Foundation Agenda Spread Beyond the Gates? An Organizational Network Analysis of Non-Major Philanthropic Giving in K12 Education.” American Journal of Education 123(1): 137-169.

Au, Wayne and Joseph J. Ferrare (eds.). 2015. Mapping Corporate Education Reform: Power and Policy Networks in the Neoliberal State. New York: Routledge.

Ferrare, Joseph J. and Matthew T. Hora. 2014. “Cultural Models of Teaching and Learning in Math and Science: Exploring the Intersections of Culture, Cognition, and Pedagogical Situations.” The Journal of Higher Education 85(6):792-825.

Au, Wayne and Joseph J. Ferrare. 2014. “Sponsors of Policy: A Network Analysis of Wealthy Elites, their Affiliated Philanthropies, and Charter School Reform in Washington State.” Teachers College Record 116(8):1-24, www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17387.

Ferrare, Joseph J. 2013. “The Duality of Courses and Students: A Field-Theoretic Analysis of Secondary School Course-Taking.” Sociology of Education 86(2):139-157.