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About

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RANDALL F. CLEMENS, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Administrative and Instructional Leadership at St. John's University's School of Education and Research Affiliate at the Pullias Center for Higher Education at the USC Rossier School of Education

His research—incorporating perspectives from sociology and public policy—pertains to three interrelated themes: First, he focuses on how growing up in low-income neighborhoods influences pathways to college and career for Black and Latino male teenagers. Based on work in South Los Angeles and New York City, he has presented papers and published articles.

Second, Clemens explores the role of qualitative research to improve public policy. He published, (w/ W.G. Tierney), "Qualitative Research and Public Policy: The Challenges of Relevance and Trustworthiness." The two authors presented the findings of a follow-up article—“The Utility of Qualitative Research to Inform Public Policy”—at the 2014 Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education. In relation, he has served as an Emerging Education Policy Scholar at Thomas B. Fordham Institute and American Enterprise Institute; the program engages promising young scholars in order to maximize the impact of their research among multiple policy audiences.

And third, Clemens investigates innovative methods to design, conduct, and share qualitative research. To this end, he has published widely and is authoring Using Social Media for Qualitative Research (forthcoming, w/ Sage).

Clemens teaches graduate courses related to administrative leadership, research design, and the social and cultural contexts of urban education. In the past, for example, he has taught EDU 7900, Qualitative Research Methods (syllabus), and EDU 5571, School Culture and Planned Change (syllabus). 

He engages in service activities at the department, school, professional, and community levels. He has, for instance, advised over fifty graduate students, served as chair or committee member for approximately twenty-five doctoral dissertations, and served on or chaired approximately eleven departmental and school committees. At the professional level, he has served as a reviewer for journals and conferences. Notably, along with then AERA President-elect William Tierney, he created and curated a blog, 21stcenturyscholar.org. Promoting public scholarship, the scholars invited respected academics to discuss pressing issues related to education. He contributed content for seven years. Committed to service for and with communities, he has, for nine years, mentored high school students to help improve access to and preparedness for postsecondary education. In coordination with a community-based organization, he created and directed a summer bridge program in Brooklyn to improve college access, readiness, and success for low-income teenagers.

Clemens received his Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy from University of Southern California, MSEd in School Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University, and B.A. in English Literature from University of Maryland at College Park. Before becoming a researcher, he served as a high school English teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools.