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Faculty & Research

Katherine K. Merseth

Senior Lecturer (1982 to 2018)

Katherine K. Merseth

Degree:  Ed.D., Harvard University, (1982)
Email:  [javascript protected email address]
Vitae/CV:   Katherine K. Merseth.pdf
Office:  Larsen 314
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Faculty Assistant:  Joelle Mottola


Katherine Merseth's work concentrated on charter schools, teacher education, mathematics education, and the case-method of instruction. At Harvard, she founded the Harvard Children's Initiative, a university-wide program focusing on the needs of children as well as the School Leadership and the Teacher Education Programs at the School of Education. In mathematics education, she was the principal investigator of the Mathematics Case Development Project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Massachusetts Math and Science Partnership working with middle school mathematics teachers using classroom based cases; she also served as co-principal investigator of the Teacher Education Addressing Mathematics and Science in Boston and Cambridge Project. Her book, Windows on Teaching Mathematics: Cases of Secondary Mathematics Classrooms (Teachers College Press), represents work in mathematics education and the case method while her involvement as a case method teacher of school administrators exists in her Cases in Educational Administration (Longman).

Internationally, she has edited four volumes of cases about classroom practice in South Africa, Chile, Brazil and a forthcoming volume from Jordan. In the charter field, she completed a two-year study examining best practices in high performing urban charter schools which culminated in the award-winning book, Inside Urban Charter Schools (Harvard Education Press). Merseth was awarded a Harvard Initiative on Teaching and Learning (HILT) award to explore the use of a new technology platform to enhance the teaching of controversial topics. She also was named as one of 15 outstanding professors at Harvard and was awarded, in 2018, the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Prize for excellence in teaching. Merseth taught in the General Education Program of Harvard College. Merseth served as a curriculum developer, teacher, and administrator in K-12 schools. In addition to her Harvard doctorate, Merseth holds a bachelor's in pure mathematics from Cornell University, a master's in pure mathematics from Boston College, and a master of arts in teaching secondary mathematics from Harvard.

Click here to see a full list of Katherine Merseth's courses.

Areas of Expertise

Lincoln Greis Distinguished Alumna Award, Od Trail School Bath, Ohio,(2013)

Massachusetts Mathematics Educator Hall of Fame Member,(2007)

Morningstar Award for Excellence in Teaching


Merseth, K., with Cooper, K., Roberts, J., Tieken, M., Valant, J., and Wynne, C. (2009). Inside urban charter schools: Promising practices and strategies in five high-performing schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Windows on Teaching: Cases of Secondary Mathematics Classrooms, ed., (2003).

Case Studies in Educational Administration, (1997).

"Cases and Case Methods in Teacher Education," in Handbook of Research in Teacher Education, (1996).

"Weaving Stronger Fabric: The Pedagogical Promise of Hypermedia and Case Methods in Teacher Education," in Teaching and Teacher Education (with C. Lacey), (1993).

"How Old is the Shepherd? An Essay on Mathematics Education," in Phi Delta Kappan, (1993).

"Cases, Hypermedia, and Computer Networks: Three Curricular Innovations for Teacher Education," in Journal of Curriculum Studies (with C. Lacey), (1993).

"First Aid for First Year Teachers," in Phi Delta Kappan, (1992).


Urban Mathematics Leadership Network, (Austin, TX),(2004-present)

Advisory Board, Change Leadership Group (Cambridge, MA),(2002-present)

Advisor, Roxbury Community Prep Charter School (Roxbury, MA),(2001-present)

Board Member, Media and Arts Technical Charter High School (Boston, MA),(1999-present)

Board Member, Fresh Pond Education (Cambridge, MA),(1997-present)

Board Member, Shackleton Schools (Boston, MA),(1997-present)

American Association of Educational Research,(1978-present)

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics,(1969-present)

Advisory Board, Education and Human Resource Division, National Science Foundation,(2003-2006)

Board Member, Consortium on Math Applications Project (Lexington, MA),(1996-2004)

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