Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development
Ben Kirshner got his start as an educator in a youth program in San Francisco’s Mission District. Since then he has developed a program of research in partnerships with educational settings that support development and activism of marginalized youth. Projects include design-based research with action civics teachers, intergenerational participatory research, and ethnographies of community-based youth organizing groups. For example, in a study supported by the Spencer Foundation, Ben worked with secondary school teachers to provide opportunities for their students to discuss, investigate, and take action to dismantle educational barriers, such as unsafe school climates or inadequate facilities. More recently, through his work with CU Engage, Ben seeks to develop and sustain university-community research partnerships that address persistent public challenges and improve education systems. His 2015 book, Youth Activism in an Era of Education Inequality, received the Social Policy award for Best Authored book from the Society of Research on Adolescence.