Deborah Loewenberg Ball

William H. Payne Collegiate Professor; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor; Dean of the School of Education

Deborah Loewenberg Ball, School of Education

Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor in education at the University of Michigan, and an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor. She currently serves as dean of the School of Education and as director of TeachingWorks. She taught elementary school for more than 15 years, and continues to teach mathematics to elementary students every summer. Ball serves on the National Science Board and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Board of Trustees, and chairs the Spencer Foundation Board of Directors.

Ball’s research focuses on the practice of mathematics instruction, and on the improvement of teacher training and development. She is an expert on teacher education, with a particular interest in how professional training and experience combine to equip beginning teachers with the skills and knowledge needed for responsible practice. Her work is informed by strong links both to the arts and sciences and to professional preparation in other domains.

Through TeachingWorks, she is leading an effort to develop a comprehensive professional training curriculum that spans initial training through at least the first three years of teaching practice, with corresponding assessments to determine whether beginning teachers are ready to be responsible for a classroom of students. This curriculum focuses on a set of core skills and knowledge that are "high- leverage" for responsible teaching. Skill with these tasks of teaching is crucial for all teachers if they are to help each of their students achieve. In addition, the curriculum addresses, in the specialized ways needed for teaching, the subject matter content that is high-leverage for teachers, including essential topics and skills represented in the Common Core State Standards.

Ball has authored or co-authored more than 150 publications and has lectured and made numerous major presentations around the world. Her research has been recognized with several awards and honors, and she has served on several national and international commissions and panels focused on policy initiatives and the improvement of education, including the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness. She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and is a fellow of the American Mathematics Society and the American Educational Research Association.

Administrative Responsibilities

As dean, she is responsible for the academic mission of the school and for the management of its budget, infrastructure, and physical facility.  She leads strategic planning for the school, supports faculty and staff, and provides the best possible academic and professional environments for students.

Ball teaches courses in the following program(s):
Teaching and Teacher Education
Mathematics Education
Elementary Teacher Education
Elementary Teacher Education (ELMAC)


Selected Publications

Ball, D. L., & Forzani, F. M. (2011, Summer).  Building a common core for learning to teach, and connecting professional learning to practice.  American Educator, 35(2), 17-21, 38-39.

Ball, D.L., Forzani, F. (2009). The work of teaching and the challenge for teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(5), 497-511.

Ball, D.L., Hill, H. (2009). The curious - and crucial - case of mathematical knowledge for teaching. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(2), 68-71.

Ball, D. L. , Sleep, L., Boerst, T., & Bass, H. (2009). Combining the development of practice and the practice of development in teacher education. Elementary School Journal, 109, 458-476.

Ball, D.L., Thames, M.H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching: What makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59 (5), 389-407.



Research Affiliations



9/1/2015 - ongoing Strengthening the Quality, Design and Usability of Simulations as Assessments of Teaching Practice
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF)

9/1/2014 - ongoing Transforming Teacher Licensure and Facilitating Change Through Program Networks
Granting Agency: Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust

9/1/2011 - ongoing Developing Teaching Expertise in K-5 Mathematics
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

8/16/2014 - ongoing Investigating the role of curriculum materials and connected support in learning project-based instruction
Granting Agency: George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF)

10/1/2013 - ongoing Investigating simulations of teaching practice: Assessing readiness to teach elementary mathematics
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

9/1/2010 - 8/31/2015 Contextual Research and Large Empirical Research - Developing the theory of mathematical knowledge for teaching by investigating its nature, measurement, and growth
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

3/13/2012 - 2/28/2014 Building Practical Infrastructure for Learning to Teach the Common Core: Video Exemplars, Curriculum Packages, and Assessments
Granting Agency: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

8/3/2011 - 6/3/2013 Measures of Effective Teaching Longitudinal Database
Granting Agency: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation / ISR

7/1/2010 - 1/7/2013 Developing Mathematics Teaching through Focused Collaborative Assessment of Practice
Granting Agency: U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciences

8/15/2010 - 7/31/2012 The Design of Research-in-Instruction Laboratories
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

7/1/2006 - 1/1/2012 Developing an Integrative Assessment System for Elementary Teacher Education
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

2/1/2005 - 1/1/2011 Using Practice as a Site to Learn Mathematics for Teaching: Developing Materials, Approaches, and Professional Community
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

2/1/2003 - 1/1/2009 Design, Validation, and Dissemination of Measures of Content Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

3/1/2002 - 1/1/2006 Learning Mathematics for Teaching
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

2/1/2002 - 1/1/2006 Scaling Up Instructional Improvement
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

2/1/2001 - 1/1/2005 Developing a Practice-Based Theory of Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

2/1/2002 - 1/1/2004 Design, Validation, and Dissemination of Measures of Content Knowledge for Teaching Mathematics
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

Courses & Syllabi

Term Catalogue Course Description Syllabus
Winter 2012 EDUC 118. Introduction to Education: Schooling and Multicultural Society EDUC 118. Schooling in a Multicultural Society

Fall 2011 EDUC 790. Foundations of Schooling EDUC 790. Social Foundations of Education

Winter 2012 EDUC 406. Teaching in the Elementary School EDUC 406. Managing to Teach


Room 3001

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Website