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Photo of Miller, Christopher

Christopher Miller, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Educational Policy Studies


I teach classes in Education Policy Studies and in Science Education. My interdisciplinary approach links the arts and sciences to cultivate creative communities in class, currently in the cloud. I have developed online asynchronous versions of ED 200, 252, 402, CI 475, and EDPS 453. My classes employ student led discussions, storytelling, and art to build fun learning communities. Inventive assignments have students interviewing their elders and role playing as historical figures. For example, in my course, Education through the Observation of Nature and Art, students become historical naturalists, from Alexander von Humboldt to Lynn Margulis, whose theory of symbiotic evolution is at the heart of the course. I am continuing to develop curricula designed to build async online learning communities engaged in nature pedagogy, in the tradition of forest schools. This work extends my use of plant based fishbowls in presenting an ecological approach to science education informed by the symbiotic evolution theory.

My teaching and research is rooted in my background as a botanist. My research in policy investigated the variation in district level administration of science education. For over thirty-five years, I have worked on improving indoor environments in school buildings. My school design work focuses on healthy lighting and air, and also draws upon local building traditions and conceives schools as community centers. In Vermont, my redesign of a high school utilized the school’s forest and forestry program to heat the school, allowing ventilation to be vastly improved. At the policy level, I advised Congress on indoor air quality in school buildings. As school board chair, I led a rural community in constructing a new elementary school, preserving a local school system from district consolidation. Most recently, I was designing a school integrated into the New Zealand bush and rooted in Maori building materials and methods. For this work and for the use of a studio art approach to science teaching, I was awarded an Artist in Residency in 2019, at the Wharepuke Art Gallery, in Kerikeri, NZ.

Selected Publications

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). 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. (1985). Historical changes in tree growth and tree wood chemistry in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Boston, MA.

Notable Honors

2019, Artist in Residency, Wharepuke Art Gallery, Kerikeri, NZ.

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

2010, UIC Sliver Circle Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Illinois at Chicago


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