Alex J Bowers
Alex J. Bowers is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he works to help school leaders use the data that they already collect in schools in more effective ways to help direct the limited resources of schools and districts to specific student needs. His research focuses on the intersection of effective school and district leadership, data driven decision making, student grades and test scores, student persistence and dropouts. His work also considers the influence of school finance, facilities, and technology on student achievement. Dr. Bowers studies these domains through the application of Intensive Longitudinal Data analysis (ILD), such as data visualization analytics, multilevel and growth mixture modeling, and cluster analysis heatmap data dashboards. He earned his Ph.D. in K12 Educational Administration from Michigan State University, and previous to teaching and education research, spent a decade as a cancer researcher in the biotechnology industry, with an M.S. in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, and a B.S. in Biochemistry. Dr. Bowers is the recipient of multiple awards, including the 2012 American Educational Research Association's (AERA) Emerging Scholar Award for Division A (Administration, Organization and Leadership), and the 2012 University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) Jack A. Culbertson Award for outstanding early faculty research. He was named an Outstanding Reviewer of the Year for the journals American Educational Research Journal (2009) and Educational Administration Quarterly (2012). Dr. Bowers is a faculty advisor to the Harvard Strategic Data Project and currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Educational Administration Quarterly and the Journal of Education Finance and is co-editor of volume 4 (2013) volume 5 (2014) and volume 6 (2015) of the Information Age Publishing book series International Research on School Leadership. In 2012-2013, he served as the 2013 AERA Division A (Administration, Organization, & Leadership) annual meeting program chair.
Google Scholar Profile: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=aniaFJ4AAAAJ
Bowers, A.J. (2014) Intensive Longitudinal Data Analysis and Visual Data Analytics of Student, Teacher & Leader Data for Decision Making in Schools http://vialogues.com/vialogues/play/13673 with follow-up podcast interview: http://pocketknowledge.tc.columbia.edu/home.php/viewfile/118308
Bowers, A.J. (2013) Pattern Analysis and Data Visualization of Student Data for Decision Making http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.654053
Bowers, A.J. (2012) Toward Effective and Efficient School Districts: Facility Finance, Resource Management and Data Driven Decision Making http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.679400
Recent Co-Edited Books:
Barnett, B.G., Shoho, A.R., Bowers, A.J. (Editors) (2013). School and District Leadership in an Era of Accountability - International Research on School Leadership Volume 4. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc. ISBN: 9781623963828 ( Amazon.com )
Bowers, A.J., White, B.R. (in press) Do Principal Preparation and Teacher Qualifications Influence Different Types of School Growth Trajectories in Illinois? A Growth Mixture Model Analysis. Journal of Educational Administration.
Urick, A., Bowers, A.J. (in press) How does Principal Perception of Academic Climate Measure Up? The Impact of Principal Perceptions on Student Academic Climate and Achievement in High School. Journal of School Leadership.
Urick, A., Bowers, A.J. (2014) What are the Different Types of Principals Across the U.S.? A Latent Class Analysis of Principal Perception of Leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(1) 96-134. doi:10.1177/0013161X13489019
Bowers, A.J., Lee, J. (2013) Carried or Defeated? Examining the Factors that Predict School District Bond Elections in Texas, 1998-2009. Educational Administration Quarterly, 49(5),732-767. doi: 10.1177/0013161X13486278
Bowers, A.J., Sprott, R., Taff, S.A. (2013) Do we Know Who Will Drop Out? A Review of the Predictors of Dropping out of High School: Precision, Sensitivity and Specificity. The High School Journal. 96(2), 77-100. doi:10.1353/hsj.2013.0000 ( Preprint Available )
Bowers, A.J., Berland, M. (2013) Does Recreational Computer Use Affect High School Achievement? Educational Technology Research & Development, 61(1), 51-69. doi:10.1007/s11423-012-9274-1 ( Preprint Available )
Bowers, A.J., Sprott, R.A. (2012) Why Tenth Graders Fail to Finish High School: A Dropout Typology Latent Class Analysis. The Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk (JESPAR), 17(3), 129-148. doi:10.1080/10824669.2012.692071 ( Preprint Available )
Bowers, A.J., Sprott, R. (2012) Examining the Multiple Trajectories Associated with Dropping Out of High School: A Growth Mixture Model Analysis. The Journal of Educational Research, 105(3), 176-195. doi:10.1080/00220671.2011.552075 ( Preprint Available )
Nunez, A.M., Bowers, A.J. (2011) Exploring What Leads High School Students to Enroll in Hispanic-Serving Institutions: A multilevel analysis. American Educational Research Journal, 48(6), 1286-1313. doi: 10.3102/0002831211408061
Bowers, A.J., Urick, A. (2011) Does High School Facility Quality Affect Student Achievement? A 2-Level Hierarchical Linear Model. Journal of Education Finance, 37(1), 72-94. (weblink) ( Preprint Available )
Urick, A., Bowers, A.J. (2011) What Influences Principal Perception of Academic Climate? A Nationally Representative Study of the Direct Effects of Perception on Climate. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 10(3), 322-348. doi:10.1080/15700763.2011.57792
Bowers, A.J. (2011) What's in a Grade? The Multidimensional Nature of What Teacher Assigned Grades Assess in High School. Educational Research & Evaluation, 17(3), 141-159. doi: 10.1080/13803611.2011.597112( Preprint Available )
White, B., Bowers, A.J. (2011) Principal Effects in Illinois: A Research Brief (IERC 2011-3). Edwardsville, IL: The Illinois Education Research Council, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. http://www.siue.edu/ierc/publications/pdf/2011-3_Principal_Effects.
Bowers, A.J. (2010) Toward Addressing the Issues of Site Selection in District Effectiveness Research: A 2-Level Hierarchical Linear Growth Model. Educational Administration Quarterly,46(3), 395-425. doi:10.1177/0013161X10375271 ( Preprint Available )
Bowers, A.J. (2010) Analyzing the Longitudinal K-12 Grading Histories of Entire Cohorts of Students: Grades, Data Driven Decision Making, Dropping Out and Hierarchical Cluster Analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation (PARE), 15(7), 1-18. http://pareonline.net/pdf/v15n7.pdf
Bowers, A.J. (2010) Grades and Graduation: A Longitudinal Risk Perspective to Identify Student Dropouts. The Journal of Educational Research, 103(3), 191-207.doi:10.1080/00220670903382970 ( Preprint Available )
Bowers, A.J., Murakami-Ramalho, E. (2010) The Research Journal Club: Pedagogy of Research in the Preparation of Students in Educational Leadership. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 5(10), 335-356. doi:10.1177/194277511000501001 ( Preprint Available )
Bowers, A.J., Metzger, S.A., Militello, M. (2010) Knowing What Matters: An Expanded Study of School Bond Elections in Michigan, 1998-2006. Journal of Education Finance, 35(4), 374-396. doi:10.1353/jef.0.0024 ( Preprint Available )
Militello, M., Gajda, R.H., Bowers, A.J. (2009) The Role of Accountability Policies and Alternative Certification on Principals' Perceptions of Leadership Preparation. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 4(2), 30-66. doi:10.1177/194277510900400301
Printy, S., Marks, H.M., Bowers, A.J. (2009) Integrated Leadership: How Principals and Teachers Share Instructional Influence. Journal of School Leadership, 19(5), 504-532.(weblink)
Bowers, A.J. (2009) Reconsidering Grades as Data for Decision Making: More than Just Academic Knowledge. Journal of Educational Administration, 47(5), 609-629.
Militello, M., Metzger S., Bowers, A.J. (2008) The High School "Space Race": Implications of a Market-Choice Policy Environment for a Michigan Metropolitan region. Education and Urban Society, 41(1), 26-54.
ORLA 5025: Ecology of data-driven leadership
This course relies upon systems theory and its application to school systems. The course teaches prospective leaders the use of databases of various kinds to pursue a systematic inquiry in the health and productivity of the ecology of the school. It explores various approaches to data mining, model building, and ultimately the art of improvisational leadership. The course teaches students how to distinguish the different purposes for which data can be used and misused and relies heavily on the use of cases, simulations and exercises, including those with complex feedback systems. Familiarity with spreadsheets and simple statistics is helpful.
ORL 5521: Introduction to research methods in education
This course meets a departmental requirement for an introductory course on empirical research in education and organizational studies. The goal is to help students be able to access, comprehend, synthesize, and utilize research, to support and facilitate the research efforts of others, and to begin to prepare to conduct their own research. Students read exemplars of published research, along with texts about research design, data collection and analysis, and strategies for assessing the validity and trustworthiness of research. The course covers qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches to research, such as experiments, surveys, case studies, ethnography, and action research.
ORLA 5530: Action research in organizational behavior
Techniques and methods of designing and conducting action research on organizational problems. Various methodological and organizational issues are addressed regarding the use of action research to foster organizational learning and problem solving through systematic inquiry and reflection. Students conduct an action research project.
ORLA 5689: School heads colloquium
Enrollment limited to 20 participants. The purpose of the symposium is to provide renewal and reflection on issues relevant to school leaders through intensive study and collaboration with professional peers from independent and international schools. Topics include moral leadership and current education issues in public and private schools. Participants also conduct research on a topic of interest to their schools. Through on-site visits, students use the diversity of schools in New York City and the rich cultural resources as a laboratory for learning. Permission required.
ORLA 6552: Research, theory, and practice in education leadership
This course focuses on major theoretical perspectives on administrative leadership in education, how these perspectives are studied and advanced through empirical research, and how the theory and research are connected to leadership practice. Students will examine theory and empirical research on topics such as leadership effects on student learning; challenges in leading learning organizations; and the relationships among leaders knowledge, skills, and dispositions and their leadership preparation and effectiveness.
ORLA 6641: Advanced topics in research methods and design
This course provides students the opportunity to explore advanced topics in research design and analytic methods, especially as they relate to studies of educational contexts and policies.
ORLA 6900: Directed research and study in education leadership
For students wishing to pursue independent study or original research as they prepare for their doctoral certification examination and/or dissertation proposal. Permission required from individual faculty.
ORLA 7503: Research Seminar
This course provides students the opportunity to discuss their dissertation research in a seminar format, with support and feedback from the instructor and other students. Students are eligible to enroll in this seminar after their dissertation proposal has been approved. Students may enroll in this course once. Permission of the instructor is required.
ORLA 8900: Dissertation advisement in educational leadership
Individual advisement on the doctoral dissertation. Students register for this in the first semester after their dissertation proposal has been approved and continue registering in this (or in another course, with sponsor approval) until the dissertation is completed. Requires ongoing consultation between the student and dissertation sponsor. The fee equals three points at the current tuition rate for each term. Permission required from individual faculty.
Documents & Papers
Download: Alex Bowers CV [PDF]
Download: International Research on School Leadership Volume 6 [PDF]
Download: JEDM Special Issue - Data Mining and Longitudinal Data Sets [PDF]