Judith Warren Little is Professor at the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, where she teaches courses in qualitative research methods, organizational and policy contexts of teaching, and school reform. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado in 1978. Prior to taking a university position, she worked at the Center for Action Research in Boulder, Colorado, and later directed the Professional Development Studies Program at Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development (now WestEd) in San Francisco.
Dr. Little concentrates her research on teachers’ work and careers, the contexts of teaching, and policies and practices of professional development. Her earliest work established the importance of workplace norms of collegiality and experimentation for school success and adaptability to change. In subsequent research, she has delved more fully into the nature of teachers’ professional community and its relationship to teacher development and school reform.
For the past several years, Dr. Little has been studying the conditions of teaching and reform in secondary schools. From 1995-1998, she conducted a study of California’s School Restructuring Demonstration Program. From 1998-2002, she has focused more closely on workplace conditions of professional community and teacher learning in comprehensive high schools. She has published numerous papers and co-edited two books in the areas of teachers’ work, school reform, and teacher policy. Her paper Teachers' professional development in a climate of educational reform has been used as the basis for professional development policy discussions by the National Governors Association, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, numerous state departments of education, and several foundations. Her most recent book (with Leslie Santee Siskin) is The Subjects in Question: Departmental Organization and the High School. Dr. Little is an elected member of the National Academy of Education.