Lectures & Colloquia

Every year, Penn GSE welcomes leading researchers and policymakers to discuss their cutting-edge work and share ideas with the School community.

Albert M. Greenfield Memorial Lectures

The Albert M. Greenfield Memorial Lecture is sponsored by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation and curated by Penn GSE’s Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations Dr. John Fantuzzo. The foundation supports activities that carry on the humanitarian vision of the late Mr. Greenfield, who chaired the board of Bankers Securities Corporation and the Philadelphia Planning Commission. View past lectures.

Constance E. Clayton Lecture Series

The Annual Constance E. Clayton Lecture honors Dr. Connie Clayton, who earned her Ed.D. in Educational Administration from Penn GSE in 1981. Dr. Clayton, who began her career in Philadelphia as a teacher, went on to serve as Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia from 1983 until her retirement in 1993, where she was known for tackling the district’s difficult budget without cutting student services, attracting local businesses to help equip schools with better resources, and establishing schools as the center of their communities. Learn more about the Constance E. Clayton Lecture on the Racial Empowerment Collaborative website.

International Educational Development Program (IEDP) Speaker Series

IEDP offers a year-long International Speakers Series that brings leaders from across the development spectrum. Over recent years, leaders have come from such organizations as the World Bank, Unicef, UNESCO, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Aga Khan Foundation, World Vision, Vanderbilt University and Columbia University Teachers College.

View Past Speakers


Marlaine Lockheed, Princeton University, & Sajitha Bashir, Education Sector Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa, World Bank, Mar 21, 2019

Mary Mendenhall, Associate Professor of Practice, Teachers College Columbia University, Feb 21, 2019

Alice Albright, Global Partnership for Education, Feb 7, 2019

Joshua Muskin, Senior Director of Programs and Education Team Leader, Geneva Global, Jan 24, 2019


Penn’s Office of the Provost, Beyond the Walls: The University of the Future, Oct 11-12, 2018

Suzanne Grant Lewis, Director, UNESCO IIEP, Sept 17, 2018

Robert A. LeVine and Sarah LeVine, Harvard University, Apr 5, 2018

Femida Handy, University of Pennsylvania, Mar 22, 2018

Nicholas Burnett, Results for Development and Board Chair of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning, Feb 15, 2018

Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO, Feb 1, 2018


Agnes Binagwaho, Harvard University, April 11, 2017

Amy Jo Dowd, Save the Children, Apr 6, 2017

Amber Gove, RTI International, Feb 2, 2017


Patience Stephens, UN Women, Dec 1, 2016

Priya Joshi, UNESCO, Global Education Monitoring Report, Nov 10, 2016

Monseignor Marcelo Sanchez-Sorondo, Pontifical Academy of Sciences (The Vatican), Sept 19, 2016

Julian Cristia, Inter-American Development Bank, Apr 7 2016

Pia Britto, UNICEF, March 31 2016

Saniye Gülser Corat, UNESCO, Mar 24 2016

Marlaine Lockheed, Princeton University, Feb 11 2016

Henry Levin, Columbia University, Jan 21 2016


Ahmed Boukous, Royal Institute for the Amazigh Culture (IRCAM), Sept 17 2015

M. Najeeb Shafiq, University of Pittsburgh, Apr 9 2015

Shirin Lutfeali, Save the Children, Feb 26 2015


Rami Khouri, Issam Fares Institute American University of Beirut, Nov 20 2014

Scott Paris, Educational Testing Services, Oct 13 2014

Wadi Haddad, World Bank (Retired), Sept 25 2014

Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute - Columbia University, Apr 30, 2014

Nick Burnett, Results For Development, April 24, 2014

Benjamin Piper, RTI International Kenya-PRIMR, March 17, 2014


Dileep Ranjekar, Azim Premji Foundation, Nov 14, 2013

Joshua Muskin, Aga Khan Development Network, Oct 17, 2013

Abhimanyu Singh, UNESCO, Sept 26, 2013

I.V. Subbarao, UNESCO - Paris, May 7, 2013

Jordan Naidoo, UNICEF, Feb 28, 2013

Fida Adely, Georgetown University, Feb 6, 2013


Monisha Bajaj, Columbia University, Nov 29, 2012

Hiro Yoshikawa, Harvard Graduate School of Ed, Nov 26, 2012

Frances Vavrus, University of Minnesota, Sept 17, 2012

Elizabeth King, Director of Education - World Bank, Oct 11, 2012

Patrice Engle, California Polytechnic State University, Mar 30, 2012

Amy Jo Dowd, Save the Children, Mar 23, 2012

Robert Prouty, Education for All - Fast Track Initiative, Feb 16, 2012

Stephen Heyneman, Vanderbilt University, Jan 18, 2012


Nessa Wolfson Colloquium

The Nessa Wolfson Colloquium is an annual event to honor the memory of Nessa Wolfson, the founder of the Language and Literacy in Education group at GSE, and to welcome new and returning students to the Educational Linguistics Division each fall. It is the longest continuously-running colloquium series at Penn GSE. 

Nessa Wolfson earned her Ph.D. in Linguistics at Penn and was lecturer, then professor of Education at GSE from 1976 up to her passing in 1990. She was founding director of the Programs in Educational Linguistics, TESOL, and Intercultural Communication, and also founding chair of the Language in Education Division (now the Language and Literacy in Education Group), beginning in 1983 until her death. Well-known and respected in the field of TESOL and sociolinguistics, both nationally and internationally, she was as well the first tenured woman professor at GSE.

After her death, which came too soon for both her family and her professional colleagues, her husband Harvey Wolfson and the Language in Education Division created the Nessa Wolfson Colloquium to recognize her scholarly and program-building contributions and keep her memory alive at GSE. The concept of the NWC is to bring to ELX and GSE each year a distinguished scholar in Nessa's field -- TESOL and sociolinguistics -- to give a talk and meet informally with students. Emphasis is placed on scholars who knew and mentored Nessa, who worked with her as colleagues, who were her own students, who draw inspiration from her research and writings, or whose work represents the same high standards of originality and vision as hers. 

View Past Speakers

2020 | Shondel Nero

Professor of Language Education, New York University
Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human Development

View a recording and transcript of Dr. Nero's Colloquium.


2018 | Qing Zhang

Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Arizona
School of English Studies, Tianjin Foreign Studies University  

Linguistic Innovation and the Transformation of Stylistic Regimes in China


2017 | Lourdes Ortega

Professor of Linguistics, Georgetown University

Second Language Acquisition in Uncertain Times: Disciplinary Constraints, Transdisciplinary Hopes


2016 | Kendall King

Professor of Second Language Education, University of Minnesota

Who and What is the field of Applied Linguistics overlooking? Why it matters, and how educational linguistics can help


2015 | Guadalupe ValdÉs

Professor, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University

Curricularizing Language: Unexamined Assumptions and Interacting Mechanisms


2014 | Marcyliena Morgan

Professor, Department of African & African American Studies, Harvard University & Executive Director, Hiphop Archive

The Compliment as a Social Strategy: Speech Genres and Hustle in Hiphop


2013 | Angela Creese

Professor, Professor of Educational Linguistics, University of Birmingham (UK)

Beyond the Multilingual Moment: Perspectives on Competence in Language Teaching and Learning


2012 | Ofelia Garcia

Professor, Urban Education & Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literature and Languages, City University of New York

Languaging, Identifying and Schooling: Global Perspectives


2011 | Awad Ibrahim

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa

One Is Not Born Black (?): Race, Language, and the Semiotic of (Hip-Hop) Identity


2010 | Diane Larsen-Freeman

Professor of Education and Linguistics, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Language and Language Development as Complex, Dynamic Systems


2009 | Dr. Elaine Tarone

Professor in the Second Language Studies, University of Minnesota.

Alphabetic Literacy Level and Oral L2 Processing


2008 | Valerie S. Jakar

Lecturer in Sociolinguistics/ Applied Language Studies at the David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem, Israel
Effecting change while maintaining identity: The challenges of TESOL


Visiting Faculty Scholars of Color

Each year, a number of scholars of color from all over the country are invited to Penn GSE to give lectures and share their research with faculty and students, as part of the “Visiting Faculty Scholars of Color” series. Events typically include the research presentations by leading scholars followed by group discussion, and are open to all faculty, staff, and students. Read more about the Visiting Scholars of Color series.

Steven S. Goldberg and Jolley Bruce Christman Lecture in Education Law

The biennial Steven S. Goldberg and Jolley Bruce Christman Lecture in Education Law provides a platform for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the broader community to learn from some of the most pressing issues in the field today and work towards increasing equity and social justice in education.