Dr. Harris Sokoloff


B.A. (Philosophy (Sociology and Psychology minors))
Temple University, 1971

M.Ed. (Philosophy of Education)
Temple University, 1973

Ph.D. (Foundations of Education)
Syracuse University, 1982

Description of Research Expertise

Areas of Expertise

Civic engagement
School/community relations
Central office leadership
Negotiation and conflict resolution

Professional Experience

As the Director of the Center for School Study Councils, Dr. Sokoloff’s responsibilities include working with school superintendents, school boards, and district staff to help them keep pace with state-of-the-art educational and management theory, research, and practice. In that role, he develops and conducts more than 50 workshops and seminars on educational leadership issues each academic year for school superintendents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

His initiatives with school districts and community organizations include a variety of projects to create opportunities to engage students in school and community problem-solving, as well as to build stronger, more productive relationships between schools and their communities. For example, he worked with high school students, teachers, and community officials in Bensalem Township (Pa.) to develop community-based principles and designs for developing the waterfront there. In the Mechanicsburg Area School District (Pa.), he designed and implemented a program with teachers, administrators, the school board, and community members to address challenges associated with demographic and educational changes. In the Hopewell Valley School District (N.J.), Dr. Sokoloff guided the district in creating a “community agenda” of values and goals that could serve as a touchstone for the district’s educational strategic planning efforts. His work on the Franklin Conference on School Design led him and his colleagues to develop and implement the National Summit on School Design for the American Architecture Foundation and KnowledgeWorks Foundation.

Dr. Sokoloff is on the advisory boards for the National Liberty Museum and Education Center, American Society of Educators, and American Theater Arts for Youth, as well as an associate of the Kettering Foundation.

He is the designer of and lead moderator for Citizen Voices, a project of the Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board. This distinguished project won the National Batten Award for Civic Journalism. Dr. Sokoloff is the founder/director of the Civic Engagement Institute, a summer institute at Penn GSE, which focuses on teaching the theory and practice of deliberative democracy.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Sokoloff’s applied research focuses on student civic engagement and community development, particularly the (re)building of a public for public education through the use of deliberative public forums. As faculty director of the Penn Project on Civic Engagement (PPCE), he designs and implements civic engagement projects in the region. Current projects include the Great Expectations project in partnership with the Editorial Board of the Philadelphia Inquirer, which in the fall of 2007 led to developing a citizen-driven agenda for the mayor and City Council elected that fall. Dr. Sokoloff’s second major project for the PPCE has been as the civic engagement partner with PennPraxis in the School of Design, whose role has been to design and implement the civic engagement process for the project to develop a unified plan for the Delaware River Waterfront from Allegheny to Oregon Avenues. Both projects have a strong student engagement component. In addition, Dr. Sokoloff has worked with more than 80 educational organizations on a range of organizational development and improvement projects, strategic planning, and organizational redesign.

Selected Publications

Sokoloff, H., Steinberg, H. M., & Pyser, S. N.: Deliberative city planning on the Philadelphia waterfront. The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century. J. Gastil and P. Levine (eds.). Jossey-Bass, Page: 185-196, 2005.

Charles, M., Sokoloff, H., & Satullo, C.: Electoral deliberation and public journalism. The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century. J. Gastil and P. Levine (eds.). Jossey-Bass, Page: 59-67, 2005.

Comments are closed.