Faculty & Staff

Steve Tozer, PhD


Steve Tozer is founding coordinator of the UIC EdD Urban Education Leadership program.

Initiated as UIC’s first professional doctorate in Education (Ed.D.), the program has received national awards for exemplary practice from leading academic and policy organizations such as University Council of Education Administration, the Council of the Great City Schools, and the Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership. The UIC program is a charter member of the Chicago Leadership Collaborative, the nation’s first higher-education/school district coalition to produce principals for all high-need schools in the district. The UIC program has featured on the cover of Education Week, on PBSNewshour, the New York Times, and in numerous other national publications.

Steve was educated at Dartmouth College, Loyola University, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).   After an early career of teaching and leadership in early childhood education, he joined the Policy Studies faculty at UIUC, publishing a textbook for teachers that has been continuously in print for 25 years.  He later served as head of Curriculum and Instruction at UIUC; Chair of Policy Studies at UIC; President of the American Educational Studies Association; and President of the Council for Social Foundations of Education. He was named a University Faculty Fellow and University Scholar at UIC and received the Association of Teacher Education Robert J. Stevenson Award for Outstanding Leadership and Dedication to the Education Profession.

Steve has led several public policy initiatives.  In 1997 he chaired a State Board of Education Task Force that revised teacher licensure in Illinois.  In 1999-2001 he chaired the Governor’s Council on Educator Quality in Illinois that founded the Illinois Education Research Council.  In 2008 he chaired a joint State Board of Education and Board of Higher Education Legislative Task Force that changed principal licensure laws in Illinois.  In 2010 he chaired the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) committee that wrote the education portion of the award-winning Go To 2040, a policy document for the six-county Chicago metro region.  He is called upon regularly to address national audiences convened by the National Governor’s Association, National Council for State Legislatures, Education Commission of the States, the Education Trust, Educational Development Center, Wallace Foundation, and others. 

Steve’s collaborations with colleagues from UIC and Chicago Public Schools have been continuously funded since 1996 by more than a dozen philanthropic foundations as well as the U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation for a total of over $15M. Author or co-author of over 45 journal articles and book chapters, he is Associate Editor of Educational Theory; lead author of School and Society, Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, 7th Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2012); lead editor of The Handbook of Research in Social Foundations of Education (Routledge, 2011); and author or editor of three other books. He has chaired 32 Ph.D. dissertations, including one most recently receiving the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education 2014 Dissertation of the Year Award.


1982 - PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Philosophy of Education
1978 - MEd, Loyola of Chicago, Elementary/Early Childhood Ed
1972 - BA, Dartmouth College, German

Research & Teaching Interests

Tozer is a Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Throughout his career, his teaching and research have been grounded in an effort to question and disrupt school policies and practices that systematically advantage some population groups and disadvantage others. In journals such as Educational Foundations, Educational Studies, Teachers College Record, Educational Theory, and yearbooks of the National Society for the Study of Education, he has explored the origins of the field of social foundations of education in teacher and administrator development. He has served on the editorial boards of Educational Studies, Educational Foundations, and Teachers College Record.  His co-authored textbook for teachers, School and Society, Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, is now in its 7th edition.  Since 2002, Tozer’s teaching and research have turned to the preparation of school leaders.  He is now coordinator of the EdD Urban Education Leadership Program, and Director of the UIC Center for Urban Education Leadership.

Selected Publications


Tozer, S.E., & G. Senese (2012).  School and Society: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives 7th Edition. New York: McGraw Hill.  

Tozer, S.E., B. Gallegos, & A. Henry, eds. (2011) Handbook of Research in the Social Foundations of Education, New York: Routledge/Taylor Francis, Inc. 

Tozer, S.E., ed. (1999) Philosophy of Education 1998.  Urbana, IL:  Philosophy of Education Society.

Tozer, S.E. (1998, 1982). The Concept of Authority in Kenneth D. Benne’s Social and Educational Thought. Ph.D. dissertation published in Japanese, Dr. George Kamidera, Himeji University, translator. Tokyo: Japan UNI Agency, Inc.

Tozer, S.E., B.A. Armbruster, & T.H. Anderson, eds. (1991).  Foundations of Education in Teacher Education:  A Re-examination. New York: Teachers College Press.  Book publication of special issue of Teachers College Record, 91:3, Sp. 1990.

Benne, K. D. and S.E. Tozer, eds. (1987). Society as Educator in an Age of Transition, Eighty-Sixth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Chicago:  NSSE/University of Chicago.

Recent chapters and articles

Chou, V. and S.E. Tozer (2008). What’s urban got to do with it? in Peterman, Francine (ed.) Partnering to Prepare Urban Teachers: A Call to Activism. Washington DC:  AACTE.

Cosner, S., Tozer, S., & Zavitkovky, P. (2016). Enacting a cycle of inquiry capstone research project in doctoral-level leadership preparation. In V. Storey and K. Hesbol (Eds.), Contemporary Approaches to Dissertation Development and Research Methods (pp. 163-184). Hershey, PA: IGI Gobal. 

Cosner, S., & Tozer, S. (2015). Cultivating exemplary school leadership preparation at a  research intensive university. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 10(1), 11-38.

Cosner, S., Tozer, S.E., & Smylie, M.A. (2012).  The Ed.d. Program at the University of Illinois Chicago: Using continuous improvement. Planning and Changing 43 1-2 Summer 2012, 127-48. 

Illinois School Leadership Advisory Council (2016). ISLAC Final Report. Center for the Study of Educational Policy, Illinois State University. Tozer, S. and Rutledge, D., Advisory Council Chairs. Normal, IL. https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2016/03/illinois-school-leadership-adviso...

Superfine, B. M., Smylie, M. A., Tozer, S.E., & Mayrowetz, D. (2009). Promising strategies for improving K-12 education in Illinois: Improving the educator workforce, The Illinois Report 2009 (pp. 49-64). Urbana-Champaign, IL: Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois.

Talbott, E., Mayrowetz, D., Maggin, D. & Tozer, S. (2016).  A distributed model of special education leadership for individualized education program (IEP) teams.  Journal of Special Education Leadership, 29(1), 23-31.  

Tozer, S.E., Zavitkovsky, P., Whalen, S., & Martinez, P. (2015) Change agency in our own backyards:  Meeting the challenges of next generation programs in school leader preparation. In Khalifa, Grant, & Witherspoon Arnold,  Handbook for Urban Educational Leadership. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 480-495.

Tozer, S.E. (2014). Essentialism, perennialism, and the "Isms" approach to philosophy of education.  In DC Phillips, Encylopedia of Philosophy of Education.  Sage. In press.

Tozer, S.E., & R.F. Butts (2011). The evolution of social foundations of education. In Tozer, Gallegos, & Henry Handbook of Research in the Social Foundations of Education. New York: Routledge.



Professional Affiliations & Activities

Associate Editor, Educational Theory

Member, American Education Research Association

Past President, American Educational Studies Association

Past President, Council for Social Foundations of Education

Founding Board Member, Illinois Education Research Council

Institutional member, University Council for Educational Administration