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George Noblit, Ph.D., M.S. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

George Noblit, Ph.D., M.S. George Noblit, Ph.D., M.S.

Joseph R. Neikirk Distinguished Professor of Sociology of Education | UNC-Chapel Hill


Profesor Noblit researches crime, delinquency and deviance



George Noblit, Ph.D., M.S. Publication



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Outside-in school reform




George W. Noblit became a sociologist in the 1970s, a time of turbulent social change. Research on crime, delinquency and deviance led to a focus on schooling in the lives and futures of youth.

Through a study of school desegregation, he began a program of research on the social construction of race, using ethnographic research to study schools and other educational scenes. Noblit is intrigued with how knowledge—often taken as good in its own right—is implicated in creating the very problems it is asked to solve.

Noblit studies the various ways knowledge is constructed and how the competition over which knowledge counts construct powers and difference. This process means exploring both the highest reaches of theory and the everyday lives of people as they struggle to make sense of the world. To Noblit, “there is not a theory-practice gap, only a failure of imagination.” Noblit conducts funded evaluation projects, most recently on A+ (arts-enhanced) schools (the subject of his 2009 book), charter schools and prison education for youth adult offenders in North Carolina. “For me, evaluation and policy studies are a way to be part of larger political processes in our society,” he says, “and to help shape the agendas of important innovations.”

Industry Expertise (8)

Education/Learning Health and Wellness Public Policy Research Political Organization Media - Print Program Development Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (7)

School Reform Race Equity Sociology of Education Sociology of Knowledge Qualitative Research Methodology Policy and Evaluation Research Complex Organizations

Accomplishments (3)

Critics Choice award, (professional)


Critics Choice award, American Educational Studies Association for book: Late to Class

Jones Lecturer (professional)


Jones Lecturer, College Of Education, Texas Technological University

Dina Feitelson Award (professional)


Dina Feitelson Award for Outstanding Research, International Reading Association, 2000

Education (3)

University of Oregon: Ph.D., Sociology 1973

Dissertation Title: "Delinquency and Access to Success: A Study of Consequences of the Delinquency Label."

University of Oregon: M.S., Sociology 1971

Hiram College: B.A., Sociology & General Science 1970

Affiliations (4)

  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Educational Studies Association
  • American Sociological Association
  • American Anthropological Association

Languages (2)

  • Spanish
  • English

Media Appearances (3)

Durham director is fighting systemic racism with theater

Daily Tar Heel  online


George Noblit, a UNC professor who studies art and education, said it’s hard to know if an achievement gap exists in arts education because tests don’t measure art achievement. But he said minority students tend to be more limited in their access to the arts. “To the extent to which schools are not equally funded — and in North Carolina they’re not — it’s more likely that low-income students — and since there’s a correlation between income and race in North Carolina — low-income, minority students are less likely to have access to the arts,” Noblit said...

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UNC-Chapel Hill holds surprise inspections of classes to make sure they’re real

The News & Observer  online


George Noblit, an education professor whose two classes were visited, said students thought it was funny. “They clearly saw this as being connected to the scandal,” he said. “So the nice thing about our associate dean introducing herself and explaining it, it became kind of a teachable moment about the politics of higher ed.” Noblit said he took it in stride because the education school is used to extensive monitoring for its own accrediting organizations...

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African-Americans increasingly turn to home-schooling

Fox News  tv


It’s the end of another school year, and for a growing number of African-American kids, it will be their last outside the home. Nationwide, more and more families are choosing to home school their children each year, and the fastest growing segment of the home school movement is African-Americans, experts say. Some 220,000 black children are home-schooled, according to one estimate...

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Research Grants (2)

Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders

North Carolina Department of Correction. 


1998-2003; 2006-present, Principal Investigator, Workplace and Community Transition Training for Incarcerated Youth Offenders, $250,000 (to date) study funded by the North Carolina Department of Correction.

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Roads Not Taken: Education and Race in the Post-Brown South

Spencer Foundation 


2000-2006, Co-Principal Investigator, Roads Not Taken: Education and Race in the Post-Brown South, a five year, $264,000 study funded by the Spencer Foundation

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Courses (3)

EDUC 982 Advanced Qualitative Analysis and Interpretation

Advanced seminar focusing on the needs of doctoral students immersed in qualitative research, with an emphasis on data analysis.

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EDUC 874 Problems in the Sociological Foundations of Education

Provides an opportunity for advanced doctoral students to do independent study under supervision.

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EDUC 772 Educational Sociology

Applies sociological theory and research to problems of concern to educators.

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Articles (5)

Legacies of Brown versus Board: An introduction to the special issue The Urban Review


Public education is a fully racialized endeavor, even though we hoped that a Supreme Court decision, now known as the Brown decision, over 50 years ago would put an end to racialized schooling. About 50 years ago, many knew the evils of segregation based on ...

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Forum: toward culturally responsive discourses in science education Cultural Studies of Science Education



ABSTRACT: I've taken some dramatic license here. Barbara Lorie was pushed out of teaching not just for the above, although it did get her sent to the superintendent, who asked her to get back to Julius Caesar. She was pushed out for a fuller pedagogy she was creating to address a ...

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Qualitative metasynthesis: reflections on methodological orientation and ideological agenda Qualitative Health Research


ABSTRACT: In an era of pressure toward evidence-based health care, we are witnessing a new enthusiasm for qualitative meta synthesis as an enterprise distinct from conventional literature reviews, secondary analyses, and the many other scholarly endeavors with which it is sometimes confused. This article represents the reflections of five scholars, each of whom has authored a distinct qualitative meta synthesis strategy...

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In the meantime: The possibilities of caring Phi Delta Kappan


ABSTRACT: Two classroom teachers, Pam and Martha, taught the authors that caring is central to education--the glue that binds teachers and students together and makes life in classrooms meaningful. But caring requires educators and parents to think about teaching and school in unaccustomed ways...

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Power and caring American Educational Research Journal


ABSTRACT: Caring with respect to teachers and students is usually defined as a reciprocal relationship. The power of the teacher is not always apparent in this definition. This article examines how power, in the caring perspective, can be seen as moral authority. The ethnographic study reported here examines the classroom of a traditional teacher-centered teacher and the way she constructed caring using her power...

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