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Alex J Bowers

Professional Background

Educational Background

Ph.D. in Educational Administration - Michigan State University (2007)
Master of Science in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry & Microbiology - The Pennsylvania State University (1997)
Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry; Secondary Major: Chemistry - Michigan State University (1994)

Scholarly Interests

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.

Selected Publications

Google Scholar Profile:

Selected Recent Presentations:

Bowers, A.J. (2014) Intensive Longitudinal Data Analysis and Visual Data Analytics of Student, Teacher & Leader Data for Decision Making in Schools with follow-up podcast interview:

Bowers, A.J. (2013) Pattern Analysis and Data Visualization of Student Data for Decision Making

Bowers, A.J. (2012) Toward Effective and Efficient School Districts: Facility Finance, Resource Management and Data Driven Decision Making

honors and awards

2012 Emerging Scholar Award for outstanding contributions to the field, American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division A - Administration, Organization and Leadership

2012 Jack A. Culbertson Award for outstanding early faculty research, University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA)

2012 Outstanding reviewer of the year award for the journal Educational Administration Quarterly (EAQ)

2008 Outstanding reviewer of the year award for the American Educational Research Journal (AERJ), American Educational Research Association (AERA)

biographical information

principal publications

Peer Reviewed Edited Books:

Bowers, A.J., Shoho, A.R., Barnett, B.G. (Editors). Challenges and Opportunities of Educational Leadership Research and Practice: The State of the Field and Its Multiple Futures - International Research on School Leadership Volume 6. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc. (forthcoming 2015).

Bowers, A.J., Shoho, A.R., Barnett, B.G. (Editors). (2014). Using Data in Schools to Inform Leadership and Decision Making - International Research on School Leadership Volume 5. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc. ISBN: 978-1623967864 (

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 ( )

Peer-Reviewed Refereed Publications:

Bowers, A.J. (in press) Site Selection in School District Research: A Measure of Effectiveness Using Hierarchical Longitudinal Growth Models of Performance. School Leadership & Managementdoi: 10.1080/13632434.2014.962500

Boyce, J., Bowers, A.J. (in press) Principal Turnover: Are there Different Types of Principals Who Move From or Leave Their Schools? A Latent Class Analysis of the 2007-08 Schools and Staffing Survey and the 2008-09 Principal Follow-up Survey. Leadership and Policy in Schools.

Bowers, A. J., & White, B. R. (2014). Do Principal Preparation and Teacher Qualifications Influence Different Types of School Growth Trajectories in Illinois? A Growth Mixture Model Analysis. Journal of Educational Administration, 52(5), 705-736. doi: 10.1108/JEA-12-2012-0134  Preprint available )

Ingle, W.K., Bowers, A.J., Davis, T. (2014) Which School Districts Qualified for Federal School Facility Funding Under ARRA? Evidence from Ohio. Journal of Education Finance, 40(1), p.17-37. 

Urick, A., Bowers, A.J. (2014) 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, 24(2), 386-414.

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 (Preprint available

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. (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 )

Nuez, 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(Preprint Available)

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)

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.

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)

Bowers, A.J., Metzger, S.A., Militello, M. (2010) Knowing the Odds: Parameters that Predict Passing or Failing School District Bonds. Educational Policy,24(2), 398-420. doi:10.1177/0895904808330169

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. (Preprint available)

Bowers, A.J. (2009) Reconsidering Grades as Data for Decision Making: More than Just Academic Knowledge. Journal of Educational Administration, 47(5), 609-629.Hudoi:10.1108/09578230910981080

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. Hudoi:10.1177/0013124508321358

Bowers, A.J. (2008) Promoting Excellence: Good to Great, NYC's District 2, and the Case of a High Performing School District, Leadership and Policy in Schools, 7(2), 154-177.doi:10.1080/15700760701681108 (Preprint available)

Molecular Biology (prior to 2005)U:

Bowers, A.J., Boylan, J.F. (2004). Nek8, a NIMA Family Kinase Member is Overexpressed in Primary Human Breast Tumors. Gene 328, 134-142. HUdoi:10.1016/j.gene.2003.12.002UH

Bowers, A.J., Scully, S., Boylan, J.F. (2003). SKIP3, a Novel Drosophila Tribbles Ortholog, is Overexpressed in Human Tumors and is Regulated by Hypoxia. Oncogene 22(18), 2823-35. HUdoi:10.1038/sj.onc.1206367U

Boylan, J.F., Sharp, D.M., Leffet, L., Pan, W., Bowers, A. (1999). Analysis of Site-Specific Phosphorylation of the Retinoblastoma Protein during Cell Cycle Progression. Experimental Cell Research 248, 110-114. HUdoi:10.1006/excr.1999.4389U

Pekker, Y., Beaudry, R.M., Wilson, I.D., Zhu, Y., Burmeister, D.M., Jianping, K., Poneleit, L., Walker, J., Gran, C.D., Miller, B., Dixon-Holland, D., Bowers, A., Dilley, D.R. (1993). Development of ELISA for 1-Aminocyclopropane-1-Carboxylate Oxidase. Proceedings from the Sixth International Controlled Atmosphere Research Conference, NRAES-71Vol. 2, 564-569.

Dilley, D.R., Jianping, K., Poneleit, L., Zhu, Y., Pekker, Y., Wilson, I.D., Burmeister, D.M., Gran, C., Bowers, A. (1993). Purification and Characterization of ACC Oxidase and Its Expression During Ripening in Apple Fruit. Cellular and Molecular Aspects of the Plant Hormone Ethylene: 46-52.

Book Chapters, Research & Policy Reports:

Bowers, A. J. (2015). Voter's Role in Deciding School Facility Issues. UCEA Review, 56(1) 20-21.

Bowers, A. J., Shoho, A. R., & Barnett, B. G. (2014). Considering the Use of Data by School Leaders for Decision Making. In A. J. Bowers, A. R. Shoho & B. G. Barnett (Eds.), Using Data in Schools to Inform Leadership and Decision Making (pp.1-16). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

 Bowers, A.J. (2014). Bonds in School Financing. In Brewer, D.J., Picus, L.O. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Education Economics and Finance (pp.83-86). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Bowers, A.J. (2014). Student Risk Factors. In Brewer, D.J., Picus, L.O. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Education Economics and Finance (pp. 624-627). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Barnett, B. G., Shoho, A. R., & Bowers, A. J. (2013). Introduction to Volume 4 of the International Research on School Leadership Book Series. In B. G. Barnett, A. R. Shoho & A. J. Bowers (Eds.), School and District Leadership in an Era of Accountability (pp. 1-12). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc.

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.


2015 - ongoing           Developing a Longitudinal School District Effectiveness Identification System in Idaho. Education Northwest.

2014 - ongoing           A Data-Intensive Exploration of the Links between SES and STEM Learning. Granting Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF)

2014 - ongoing            Elaborating Data Intensive Research Methods through Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships. Granting Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF)

2009-2010                   What do Teacher Assigned Grades Actually Assess? Analyzing Grades as Informative Academic and Non-Academic Data for Policy and School-Level Decision Making. Granting Agency: Jointly funded by the AERA Research Grants Program, National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

2007-2008                   Examining the Relationship Among Principal Attributes, Teacher Quality, and Student Achievement in Texas. Granting Agency: The University of Texas Center for Collaborative Educational Research and Policy (UTCCERP).

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 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 7500: Dissertation seminar in educational leadership

This course provides students the opportunity to discuss topics related to the preparation of their dissertation proposal in a seminar format. Students present their ideas and writing for feedback from the instructor and other students. Students may enroll in this seminar once. Permission of the instructor is required.

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]

Alex J Bowers appeared in the following articles:

2012 Year in Review (2/20/2013)