Jo Smith

Jo Smith profile picture
  • Title: Lecturer
  • Phone: 541-346-7533
  • Office: 113 Lokey Education Bldg


Dr. Jo Smith is a Lecturer in the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership, where she is Program Director for the D.Ed. program. Jo teaches a variety of courses across EMPL and CoE programs, including writing, policy, organization theory, and qualitative methods courses. She explores the links between policy, leadership, and the improvement of schools and school systems, examining the policy conditions that foster successful reform by the spectrum of system actors. Jo began her education career as an English and ESL teacher at an Islamic high school in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Oregon, Jo was a faculty member at the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education. She has been at UO since 2013.


Ph.D., 2004, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Major: Educational Policy and Administration

Graduate Diploma in Education, 1997, University of Melbourne, Australia
English and ESL

B.A., 1996, Haverford College, Pennsylvania
Major: English


Dr. Smith's research uses qualitative methods to explore the links between educational policy, leadership, and the improvement of schools and school systems. Her primary focus is the policy conditions that foster successful reform by educational leaders, defined broadly to encompass the decision-making roles played by the spectrum of system actors including (in some contexts) teachers, parents, school leaders, board members, and district and state administrators. As such, her work explores three levels of the education system: schools, districts, and states and has included studies of site-based management, charter schools, district responses to state budget reallocation, parent involvement, state education governance structures and policies, school-based governance, school networks, public-private partnerships in education, and the use of categorical funding. Dr. Smith's work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement as well as a number of foundations and policy organizations, including the Weingart Foundation, the Center for American Progress, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. In 2014, she received funding from the UO College of Education to work with a group of EMPL students analyzing Oregon’s preparedness to implement the Smarter Balanced Assessment System. In 2015, she received funding from the Qatar National Research Fund to spend ten days in the country’s international education hub, Education City, to build collaboration for a study examining the experiences of female Qatari Education City students and alumnae.