Deborah Loewenberg Ball

William H. Payne Collegiate Professor; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor

Deborah Loewenberg Ball, School of Education

Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of education at the University of Michigan, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and the director of TeachingWorks. She taught elementary school for more than 15 years, and continues to teach mathematics to elementary students every summer. Ball is the immediate past president of the American Educational Research Association, served as dean of the University of Michigan School of Education from 2005 to 2016, and was a member of the National Science Board from 2013 through 2018.

Ball studies the practice of teaching as the active work of building relationships with children to support their learning and flourishing. She uses elementary mathematics as a critical context for investigating the challenges of helping children develop agency and understanding, and of leveraging the power of teaching to disrupt racism, marginalization, and inequity. She focuses on what it is involved in working across difference, especially the relational, communicative, and content-understanding entailments of that work. Ball is an expert on teacher education, and her current work centers on ways to improve the quality of beginning teaching, particularly for children of color and low-income children.

Ball has authored or co-authored more than 150 publications and has lectured and made major presentations around the world. She has also developed distinctive collections of video records of practice that are broadly used to make practice visible and to study the work of teaching. 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 Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. Ball has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the American Educational Research Association.

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


9/15/2018 - ongoing Communicating Mathematically Across Difference in the Work of Teaching
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

10/10/2018 - ongoing Developing a "Low-Touch" Strategy for Supporting Teacher Educators in Implementing Practice-Based Teacher Education
Granting Agency: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

12/1/2018 - ongoing TeachingWorks-CSU Methods Course Fellowship - Expansion
Granting Agency: Silver Giving Foundation

9/1/2015 - ongoing Building MKT Assessment Items and Instructional Tasks to Build Intercommunity Capacity to Develop Teachers
Granting Agency: National Science Foundation

8/16/2014 - 4/30/2016 Investigating the role of curriculum materials and connected support in learning project-based instruction
Granting Agency: George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF)


Room 4002

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Website