‣ Chief Program Officer, Grantmakers for Education
‣ Vice President of Partnership and Research, Education Reimagined
‣ Former VP of the Public Education and Business Coalition
‣ Former Executive Director, Colorado Boettcher Teacher Residency
‣ Acclaimed Author of ‘The Future of Smart’
Ulcca is currently Chief Program Officer at Grantmakers for Education, a member organization of education philanthropists in the US. She is also associate director of national outreach and partnerships for Education Reimagined, building an ecosystem of partners that support educators as they pioneer learner-centered environments around the country.
Prior to joining Education Reimagined, Ulcca served as VP of the Public Education and Business Coalition and and executive director of the Colorado Boettcher Teacher Residency, the largest statewide teacher residency program in the country serving both urban and rural school districts.
She developed strategic plan for the expansion/scaling of the Colorado Boettcher Teacher Residency to become a statewide pipeline for effective teachers. She developed and oversaw a strategy for merging the programs, operations and budgets of two organizational programs into one Education Team. Oversaw a budget of $3.5 million, a staff of 16 and an overall team of fifty.
Prior, Ulcca was Associate Director to the Technical Advisory Group to the State Council for Educator Effectiveness, Colorado Legacy Foundation. She coordinated 12+ work groups that are assisting the Council to develop recommendations regarding the development, rollout and implementation of an educator effectiveness framework implemented into law by CO Senate Bill 191 in May 2010.
Ulcca began her career in the classroom as an elementary teacher in Newark Public Schools. Ulcca holds a BA from Drew University and a certificate in early childhood and elementary education, with a focus on special education. She also earned her Ph.D. in Education and Philosophy from Oxford University and a JD from Harvard Law School.
Ulcca’s new book, The Future of Smart, was officially launched! It debuted as the #1 New Release on Amazon and hit #1 in ten individual categories including Education Policy, Education Theory and Research & Education and Teaching. Early reviewers are confirming that it provides innovative insights into how we can shift the education system to support the potential of all students.
Below is a synopsis of The Future of Smart, which is now available on Amazon.
“In her compelling new book, THE FUTURE OF SMART: How Our Education System Needs to Change to Help All Young People Thrive (Capucia Publishing; September 14, 2021), Ulcca Joshi Hansen, PhD, JD, draws on her education transformation and policy work, and experience as an educator, to explore how we arrived at our basic assumptions about the aims of education and how we can—and must—do better. Hansen goes beyond the usual conversation about why the conventional, factory model of school fails our children, and explores the underlying values and worldview that birthed this system as well as so many of the other systems society is critically examining now. She cites a massive shift during the Scientific Revolution that led to a dominant worldview that changed the very meaning of education. Only by fully understanding this shift, its connection to racial, social and economic injustice, and contemporary education, can we ever hope to change our education system.”
The Future of Smart: Reclaiming the Wisdom of Indigenized Approaches to Education
BY Dr. Ulcca Joshi Hansen
Every young person deserves an education that helps them to find their place in a dynamic and complex world. This was never the goal of conventional educational systems aimed at providing schooling to the masses.
These approaches were birthed in Europe and exported around the globe through colonization, displacing local education traditions that enabled young people to develop a sense of belonging and identity alongside the practical skills they needed to contribute to their communities.
The audience will be invited to explore a new vision for what the purpose and practice of education can look like – a vision far more aligned with what young people will need to thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.
Building the Future of Smart: Ecological Design Principles as a Pathway to Transformation
BY Dr. Ulcca Joshi Hansen
The pace of technological change and the latest research about the interplay between human development and neurological growth make it clear that we can no longer afford to tinker around the edges of conventional approaches to education. Change has been elusive but during the pandemic we saw individual schools and systems rise to meet the challenge of historic levels of social disruption.
The audience will learn about research identifying key similarities in their approaches, namely, a long-standing commitment to ecological design principles. How can we learn from the early adopters of transformational innovation to nurture and sustain changes in education from the level of individual practice in classrooms up through policy and governance systems.
Engaging the Extended Mind: Research-based Strategies for Cultivating Deeper Learning
BY Dr. Ulcca Joshi Hansen
We have been taught to think of cognition and learning as brain-based endeavors. This belief drives our reliance on instructional and classroom management practices that aspire to increase young people’s capacity to exercise, grow and focus their brain on learning.
More recent neuroscience research provide us a far better sense of just how brain-bound conceptions of learning and thinking prevent us from designing learning experiences and environments that reflect the reality of our “extended minds”, a term which encompasses three types of cognition that fly in the face of mainstream educational practices: embodied cognition, situational cognition and socially distributed cognition.
Participants will learn about the research that drives our understanding of the extended mind, and have opportunities to apply the ideas to their own practice, identifying ways to better tap into the broader cognitive capabilities of young people.
This workshop may be of most interest to educators, parents and school leaders. It would also be relevant to system-level leaders who are responsible for assessing and credentialling learning, accountability and adult preparation.
Cultivating Pluralistic Leadership for Educational Transformation Within Classrooms and Communities
BY Dr. Ulcca Joshi Hansen
In spite of research that demonstrates the ways that conventional education flies in the face of how young people grown and learn, change has been elusive. Within our dominant worldview, we often attempt to effect change through increased pressure from the outside. But in human-centered systems and leadership, transformation happens by creating conditions that invite change from within.
These deeper changes eventually radiate outward at all levels, transforming the system as a whole. Building on the themes of Dr. Hansen’s keynote, “Building the Future of Smart,” this workshop will enable educational leaders at the school, province or national level to take a deeper dive into the hallmarks of leadership that fosters the creation of more human-centered systems.
Participants are invited to sign up for this session if they are willing to engage in group-based, interactive exercises designed to engage them fully in the kinds of shifts in leadership they will want to embody in their professional roles.
This workshop may be of most interest to school- and systems-level leaders, though the content will be relevant to educators in their role as leaders of their learning communities.