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Robert Floden - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Robert Floden Robert Floden

Dean, College of Education and University Distinguished Professor | Michigan State University


Robert Floden is an expert in K-12 education policy and how that is linked to classroom practice and teacher quality.





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The Changing Face of Teacher Preparation 1   Robert Floden



An expert in K-12 education policy and how that is linked to classroom practice and teacher quality; teacher preparation; state and national education standards, as well as accountability policy, pupil and teacher testing. His current research examines teacher preparation and teachers’ mathematical knowledge for teaching. He is a member of the National Academy of Education.

Industry Expertise (1)


Areas of Expertise (8)

Research Methods

Teacher Education

Philosophy of Education

Education Policy

Teacher Quality

Mathematics Education


Teacher Learning

Education (3)

Stanford University: Ph.D., Education 1979

Princeton University: AB, Philosophy 1971

Stanford University: M.S., Statistics 1975

Affiliations (3)

  • National Academy of Education : Secretary-Treasurer
  • Journal of Teacher Education : co-editor
  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education : Board of Directors

News (2)

Faculty Voice: Robert Floden: Rebuilding and Implementing Change

MSU Today  online


2018 The past few months have been upsetting, challenging times for everyone who works or studies at Michigan State University. Alumni, friends and colleagues of the MSU College of Education are also very concerned by what has been happening on campus and what it means for our community.

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Floden Recommended as Dean of MSU College of Education

MSU Today  online


Robert Floden, a University Distinguished Professor and associate dean for research in the Michigan State University College of Education, will be recommended as dean of the college.

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Research Grants (5)

Understanding Teaching Quality (UTQ) Center at ETS

MSU/ETS Research and Development Partnership (RDP) $800,000

2013-2016 PI with Suzanne Wilson, Co-PI until July 1, 2013

Effective Teachers & Effective Teaching; Mathematics & Science Education

National Science Foundation $300,000

2011-2014 PI - Michael Feuer Steering Committee member

Learning To Use Economic Methods To Answer Questions About Education: An Interdisciplinary Pre-Doctoral Research Training Program

Institute for Education Sciences $5,000,000

2009-2015 Co-Director with Jeffrey Wooldridge

Classroom Practices that Lead to Student Proficiency with Word Problems in Algebra

National Science Foundation $1,000,000

2009-2013 Co-PI with Alan Schoenfeld

Knowing Mathematics for Teaching Algebra

National Science Foundation $1,245,640

2004-2008 Co-PI (PI for 2007-2008) with J. Ferrini-Mundy, R. Wallace, S.L. Senk

Journal Articles (3)

A Call to Action for Teacher Preparation Programs: Supporting Critical Conversations and Democratic Action in Safe Learning Environments

Journal of Teacher Education

Dorinda J. Carter Andrews, Gail Richmond, Chezare A. Warren

2018 We write this editorial at a time when the political polarization in the United States and elsewhere leaves very little room for having complex and reasoned discussions that help establish trust in a diverse democracy. This is most recently evidenced by opposing views on gun control. As Hess and McAvoy (2015) state, “polarization causes distrust, and distrust causes polarization” (p. 8, citing research by McCarty, Poole, & Rosenthal, 2006). Moreover, the current polarization creates a culture where coming to a compromise that all can accept is seen as a loss for both sides, rather than as a victory for all. Reactions to recent episodes of school violence are, sadly, reflections of this growing polarization. This editorial is a continuation of conversations related to critical democracy and educational justice that have been expressed in several of our editorials (e.g., Carter Andrews, Richmond, & Floden, 2018; Richmond, Floden, Bartell, & Petchauer, 2017). These topics have continued salience given the recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and have led us to recognize the need to address critical democracy and educational justice in a more substantive way in the pages of the journal. We acknowledge that, unfortunately, school shootings are not a new phenomenon; yet, the Parkland tragedy has garnered national attention in ways that are elevating not only conversations about gun control and school safety but also other divisive issues such as free speech, environmental policy, and school choice. For these conversations to be productive and lead to democratic decisions, students must learn how to deliberate, work to understand others’ viewpoints, evaluate arguments and evidence in support of each point of view, and engage with others to reach decisions. We believe that teacher preparation programs have a moral obligation to ensure that future teachers understand how to cultivate school and classroom culture and climate that emanate humanity, dignity, and respect for all, and to ensure that teachers can support students’ ability to engage in discussions with those who hold opposing views.

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Teacher Education for Critical Democracy: Understanding Our Commitments as Design Challenges and Opportunities

Journal of Teacher Education

Dorinda J. Carter Andrews, Gail Richmond, Robert Floden

2018 In most teacher education programs, there is regular examination of how best to prepare teachers to face the challenging conditions in which they will teach. These challenges are not isolated to the micro-environmental level (e.g., local schools and communities). Preservice teachers must also understand the national and global (i.e., macro) sociopolitical climate and the ways in which the current polarized political climate creates challenges that may undermine their best efforts at enacting humanizing, culturally responsive, and culturally sustaining pedagogies for their students and families (Carter Andrews, Bartell, & Richmond, 2016; Carter Andrews & Castillo, 2016; Gay, 2010; Ladson-Billings, 1995; Paris, 2012; Paris & Alim, 2014).

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Leveraging Research for Teacher Education Policy, Design, and Practice

Journal of Teacher Education

Gail Richmond, Robert E. Floden

2017 Much attention has been paid over the years to the knowledge and practices underlying effective teaching. Initially this work was neither deep nor systematic. That has shifted, and one of the lessons learned from research is that the journey to becoming an effective educator only begins during one’s teacher preparation program; ongoing professional support continues to be necessary after certification. Which practices are most salient, and where, when, and in what contexts support is needed, are still questions that deserve a longer and deeper examination (see, for example, Richmond, Floden, Bartell, & Petchauer, 2017). The articles in this issue are examples of closer examinations of not only what but also when and how to approach supporting the development of practices that make a significant difference for teachers and their students, and who is best positioned to provide such support. In this editorial, we address this issue in more detail. We then consider what we know about how widely these lessons from research are being used in teacher preparation programs.

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