Keith Nitta

Associate Professor

Keith Nitta

B.A. Political Economy, Colorado College
Ph.D. Political Science, University of California, Berkeley

Office: UW1-336
Phone: 425-352-3364
Mailing Box: 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8246


I hold myself and my students to high standards. I expect students to be prepared, to contribute to class discussions, and to produce high quality products. At the same time, I work to provide thoughtful feedback and diverse instruction to meet the different needs of students. To engage as many students as possible, in a typical class we will move through several activities: lecture, small group discussion, and a simulation/role-play. Some of my classes feature community based learning projects in which students work with community partners, such as the Alliance for Education or City of Bothell, to practice class skills while accomplishing useful tasks (e.g. implementing community surveys, collecting “best-practices”).

Recent Courses Taught

BIS 300 Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 338 Political Institutions and Processes
BIS 443 Education Policy
BPOLST 504 Organizational Management
BPOLST 505 Organizational Leadership


My primary aim is to produce research that helps to improve public education by investigating issues of concern to education policymakers. I worked for the California state legislature and in a Japanese school district office, and I understand the need for independent, rigorous research. My research projects on the achievement gap, school district reorganization, rural school consolidation, and teacher strikes all responded to concerns raised by policy-makers in Arkansas and Washington.

My secondary aim is to produce research that compares education policy across countries. I have written a book, The Politics of Structural Education Reform (2008, Routledge) that describes a wave of restructuring in educational systems around the world, following widespread acceptance of a “new public management”: outcomes accountability, market-based competition, and school-level autonomy.

Selected Publications

  • Howard, J., Wrobel, S., and Nitta, K. (2010). “Implementing Change in an Urban School District.” Public Administration Review. November/December: 934-941.
  • Nitta, K., Holley, M., and Wrobel, S. (2010). “A Phenemenological Study of Rural School Consolidation.” Journal of Research in Rural Education 25: 2, 1-15.
  • Barth, J. and Nitta, K. (2008). “Closing the Achievement Gap in Arkansas.” Arkansas Public Policy Panel and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
  • Nitta, K. (2008). The Politics of Structural Education Reform. New York: Routledge Press.