IAS Fellow at St Cuthbert’s Society, October-December 2021

Alan J. Daly, Ph. D is a Professor and the Director of Educational Leadership Doctoral Programs in the Department of Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Professor Daly’s research and teaching are influenced by his 16 years of public school experience in a variety of instructional and leadership roles.

Professor Daly’s research is primarily affiliated with the field of educational leadership and organizations with a complementary emphasis in educational policy and public health.  His disciplinary training is based in leadership and organisations, which, like his research, cuts across several disciplinary boundaries such as sociology, business, health, and psychology.  The overarching purpose of Professor Daly’s research is to examine the effect of educational leadership (at multiple levels of the system) in urban and urban fringe systems serving underserved communities to understand its effects on students, staff, and practice.  His work intends to identify ways of improving leadership and organizational approaches particularly in systems serving diverse student populations with the goal of increased equity.  Professor Daly also has a complementary line of work in the health sciences in better understanding the movement of evidence and information around important public health issues such as breastfeeding from a social network perspective.

Professor Daly’s specializes in the use of social network theory and methods in a wide variety of settings.  This work has led to over 100 peer reviewed journal articles, four books (Social Network Theory and Educational Change,  Using Research Evidence in Schools, Thinking and Acting Systemically: Improving School Districts Under Pressure, and Leading Holistically), 25 peer reviewed book chapters, and over 200 peer reviewed papers in US and at international conferences.  His work has garnered well over $3.5 million in research funds focused on educational network and social media studies.  He was most recently a Fulbright Scholar in New Zealand and South Africa where he worked with the Ministry of Education and various educational agencies in examining networks of practice. Beyond his research background in education and health networks, he was previously the Chair of the Department of Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

During Professor Daly’s Fellowship in Durham he will be collaborating on a project, Mind the Gap, led by Professor Chris Brown (Education) and Professor Simon James (English) that focuses on the educational attainment gap of economically disadvantaged youth. This gap is evident when children begin school and reaches 19.3 months by the end of secondary school and as such illustrates the importance of intervening early to attend to the learning needs of these traditionally marginalized students. The project will explore one avenue for such an intervention as connected to the ability to access social and cultural capital provided by one’s interpersonal connections and social environments. The driving purpose of this project is to employ social capital and social network theory to explore the social and cultural capital that might be accessed by youth in supporting and creating more equitable outcomes. Furthermore, simulation approaches will enable the research team to examine and demonstrate how access to different network types, or how changes in youth position within networks, can improve available capital.