Faculty & Staff

Christopher Miller, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Dr. Chris Miller is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies. His research and teaching utilize training received across multiple areas of study including: (a) undergraduate training as a botanist, (b) graduate training in science curriculum, and (c) doctoral training in educational leadership and policy.  Dr. Miller earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago where he trained as a plant ecologist with field research experiences that ranged from tropical to boreal forests. He received specific training in dendrochronology, microbiology and photobiology. He also has work experience as a plant ecologist at the University of Chicago, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and the University of Vermont. Following these experiences, he earned his doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the area of educational leadership and policy. As a botanist grounded in ecology, he has applied an ecoevolutionary approach to his research on the role of leadership and policy in science education. His research has examined the role of school districts in relation to science education, the use of data to inform the professional development of science teachers, and the impact of NCLB on elementary science education. His research appears in such peer-reviewed journals as Leadership and Policy in Schools and Science Educator.  



2005 - PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis
1980 - BA, University of Chicago, Botany

Research & Teaching Interests

Dr. Miller primarily teaches aspiring and practicing K-12 teachers in a range of courses in the areas of: (a) science education, and (b) the social foundations of education. Recently, he has taught the following science teaching methods courses: ED 307 ED 475, and CI 529. In addition to these courses has taught a variety of social foundations of education courses including: ED 135, ED 200, and ED 402.  Dr. Miller's teaching is dedicated to bringing an interdisciplinary and social foundations approach to science education, built on the concept that inquiry in science is inquiry into self, local ecosystems and the universe. Using the construction of tools, concept maps and art, Dr. Miller is interested in enriching science education through a studio art approach to teaching. Currently, Dr. Miller is developing curricula and related science instructional materials, associated with a desktop aquaria, that are aligned with NGSS for use by science teachers.  As a teacher he draws heavily on his prior 20 year experience as a K-12 science teacher. Dr. Miller taught every grade from kindergarten thru college, covering most topics in science, including biology, chemistry, and physics. This broad experience was gained in a wide range of schools both public and private, big and small, urban and rural.  



Selected Publications


Miller, C. L. (2010). District leadership for science education: Using K-12 departments to support elementary science education under NCLB. Science Educator, 19(2), 22-30.

Miller, C. L. (2010). Accountability policy implementation and the case of smaller schools district capacity: Three contrasting cases that examine the flow and use of NCLB accountability data. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 9, 384-420.

Smylie, M. A., Miller, C. L., & Westbrook, K. P. (2008). The work of teachers. In T. L. Good (Ed.), 21st Century Education: A Reference Handbook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Miller, C. L. (2006). [Review of the book Meaningful urban education reform: Confronting the learning crisis in mathematics and science]. Science Education, 90(2), 381-383. 

Honors & Awards

2010 - Fellowship, The Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy

2010 - UIC Sliver Circle Award for Excellence in Teaching 

Professional Affiliations & Activities

Miller, C. L. (2015, March). Engaging NGSS crosscutting concepts & CCSS literacy strategies via desktop aquariums. Paper presented at the National Science Teachers Conference, Chicago, IL.

Miller, C. L. (2010, March). District Leadership for Science Education: Using K-12 Departments to Support Elementary Science Education under NCLB. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching, Philadelphia, PA. [A later version of this paper was published in Science Educator]

Miller, C. L. (2009, April). What Curriculum Director? Central Office Capacity in Small School Districts under NCLB. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.

Miller, C. L. (2008, April). The Impact of State Testing under NCLB on Elementary Science Curriculum. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching, Baltimore, MD. 

Miller, C. L. (2007, April). Variations in school district governance structures under NCLB. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

Miller, C. L. (2006, November). Organizational Responses of School Districts to the No Child Left Behind Act: Variations in the Management of Test Data and Curriculum. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration, San Antonio, TX.

Miller, C. L. (2005, November). Considering organizational structures in the responses of school districts to the Adequate Yearly Progress provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the University Council on Educational Administration, Nashville, TN.