Joseph J. Ferrare

Associate Professor

Joseph J. Ferrare

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

Office: UW2-212
Phone: 425-352-3801


I am a social scientist who studies the reform movements reshaping the education system and the role that public policy and social networks play in influencing these changes. My training and professional trajectory has been highly interdisciplinary, drawing on theories and methods from political science, education, sociology, and economics.


I offer courses in the data sciences as well as public policy at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Much of my current teaching centers on applied statistics, research design, network science, and data visualization for the Mathematical Thinking and Visualization major and the Masters in Policy Studies (MAPS) program. I also offer courses in education and social policy for MAPS and the Law, Economics, and Public Policy major.

Recent Courses Taught

BDATA 200 Introduction to Data Studies
BIS 215 Understanding Statistics
BIS 232 Introduction to Data Visualization
BIS 411 Network Analysis & Visualization
BIS 443 Education Policy and the American Economy
BIS 447 Topics in Quantitative Inquiry
BPOLST 594 Research Design


I am currently involved in a variety of projects examining different aspects of education policy and reform movements across the K-16 system. One of those studies involves using statewide longitudinal data to estimate the impacts of Indiana’s school choice policies (charter schools, virtual 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 has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (Award # R305A190340).

I am also working on advancing the use of network analysis in ways that can better inform education policy – from the work of community activists and organizations to federal policymaking institutions. Part of this work is funded by the Spencer Foundation and involves numerous collaborators. These projects are generating insights about how networks are reshaping the public education system, the emergence and change of beliefs about public education, and the sources of information used to influence public perceptions of policy problems.

Selected Publications

  • Ferrare, Joseph J., R. Joseph Waddington, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Mark Berends. (2023).
    “Insufficient Accountability? Heterogeneous Effects of Charter Schools Across Authorizing
    Agencies.” American Educational Research Journal, 60(4):696-734.
  • Ferrare, Joseph J. and Kate Phillippo. (2023). “Conflict Theory, Revised: A Framework for Understanding Struggles Over Education Policy.” Educational Policy, 37(3):587-623.
  • Sims, Lillian R. and Joseph J. Ferrare. (2021). “Since I Am From Where I Am From”: How
    Rural First-Generation College Students Use Social Capital to Choose a College Major.” Journal of Research in Rural Education, 37(1):1-21.
  • Ferrare, Joseph J., Sarah Galey-Horn, Lorien Jasny, and Laura Carter-Stone. 2021. “Measuring Issue Preferences, Idea Brokerage, and Research-Use in Policy Networks: A Case Study of the Policy Innovators in Education (PIE) Network.” Pp. 101-127 in Knowledge Brokers, Networks and the Policymaking Process, edited by Matthew Weber and Itzhak Yanovitzky. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 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.