Shirley Is Assoc. S.O.E. Dean

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Dennis Shirley, a scholar of urban school reform and past chairman of the Rice University education department, has been appointed an associate dean in the Boston College School of Education.

"Dr. Shirley shares our commitment to the social-justice values that undergird the mission of the School of Education," School of Education Dean Mary Brabeck said in announcing the appointment.

Shirley, a specialist in the sociology and history of education, has focused his research on the role of community-based organizations in sparking school reform in inner-city neighborhoods.

His most recent book, Community Organizing for Urban School Reform , published in 1997 by the University of Texas Press, demonstrated that church congregation-based organizing can promote new and powerful kinds of public school reform while respecting the separation of church and state.

"Dr. Shirley brings creativity, experience and commitment to continue Boston College's strong ties to schools, congregations and community organizations in New England," Brabeck said.

Shirley said he was "tremendously excited to come to BC at a time when there is so much momentum and growth in the School of Education.
Dennis Shirley.

"The word is out in the academic community at large that the Boston College School of Education has developed a dynamic mission that addresses social justice issues in education, recognizes the spiritual dimensions of teaching and learning, and engages the most pressing concerns in American schools today," he said.

"I've found my new colleagues to be some of the boldest and most creative thinkers working in higher education today, and BC students have a voracious intellectual curiosity and drive. I'm especially looking forward to working with students and faculty to expand and deepen Boston College's numerous school and community collaborations."

Shirley earned his doctorate in education from the Harvard University in 1988.

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