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Institute for Innovation in Education


The Institute for Innovation in Education is an interdisciplinary organization committed to conducting, administering, and disseminating educational research and research-informed professional development initiatives. Based at American University in Washington, DC, the institute's researchers undertake studies of education policy and education reform, learning technologies, and learning disabilities. Researchers and staff also provide independent research-based support and technical assistance to educators, policy makers, and journalists. The institute membership includes faculty from across the American University campus as well as invited researchers from local, national and international entities dedicated to quality research.

It is the mission of the Institute for Innovation in Education to bring together a wide-ranging set of methodological and analytical approaches to the study of educational policies and practices broadly. Cross-disciplinary research into the study of education and learning is necessitated by the complex contexts and characteristics of learners, schools, and communities. The institute researchers dedicate themselves to collaborative investigation bridging multiple fields, bringing together the expertise of a broad set of organizations interested in this nebulous concept of education. We envision an entity in which the individuals involved in the institute dedicate their efforts to scientific understanding of the processes, policies and practices of education.


American University partners with the following national organizations to offer Master's degree options to program participants and alumni. Affiliated participants are able to choose from various degrees in the School of Education. These programs are built on a cohort-based design, include discounted tuition, and are designed for those participants who want to continue to make a difference in the lives of children and transform schools here a abroad.

Institute for Innovation in Education partnership projects:

Each partnership is unique. If you would like to develop a partnership with the School of Education, please contact Danielle Sodani, Director, at

Current Research Projects

Dr. Sarah Irvine Belson , institute executive director, is the principal investigator for the project, From the Laboratory to the Classroom: Building Capacity for Math and Science Teaching in DC (Lab2Class) , funded by the National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Scholarship Program. Joining her is the research team of co-principal investigators, Drs. Kiho Kim, John Nolan, Michael Keynes (American University Departments of Environmental Science and Mathematics and Statistics) and Ms. Bianca Abrams (The Carnegie Institution of Washington).

Dr. Jennifer Steele , associate professor, is a co-principal investigator on the study, Partnership to Study Dual Language Immersion in Utah , funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. She joins the research team of Dr. Robert Slater (American Councils Research Center), principal investigator, and co-prinicipal investigators, Dr. Johanna Watzinger-Tharp (University of Utah) and Mr. Gregg Roberts (Utah State Board of Education).

Announcement of award by American Councils

2019 Heritage Language Conference - Save the Date

The 6th annual Community-Based Heritage Language Schools Conference will be held at American University on Saturday, October 12, 2019. Click "see details" button below to learn more about the Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools and conferences from past years.

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