Department of Curriculum and Instruction Webpage

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Carla C. Johnson

Professor of Science Education
Associate Dean for Engagement and Global Affairs
Department of Curriculum and Instruction


  • Professor Johnson’s research interests include two main areas: science education reform and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) policy implementation.
  • Dr. Johnson primarily uses case study research to conduct longitudinal investigations of science teacher reform including professional development, particularly for diverse populations in urban settings and has explored outcomes including teacher quality, teacher beliefs, student achievement, and student attitudes toward science. Further, she has developed grounded theory (educational turbulence) to detail the impact of both formal and informal educational policies (federal, state, local) on science education reform and classroom practice.
  • Professor Johnson is also engaged in longitudinal study of state and national level STEM policy. Specifically, she is investigating state and national STEM education policy implementation ranging from emerging STEM schools to regional STEM partnerships and STEM professional development programs. An additional STEM policy implementation focus is impact of efforts on community awareness of STEM. 



Implications of Research for Educational Practice Award
Association for Science Teacher Education


Outstanding Science Teacher Educator Level I Award
Association for Science Teacher Education


Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching and Student/Faculty Relationships
University of Cincinnati


Excellence in Integrating Science and Mathematics Award
School Science and Mathematics Association


University of Cincinnati Women’s Leadership Institute Participant
Nominated and competitively selected, program to prepare mid-career faculty for senior leadership in higher education

2006 Outstanding Early Career Scholar Award
School Science and Mathematics Association

Outstanding Doctoral Student of the Year Award
University of Cincinnati


Upward Bound Award of Distinction
Teaching Excellence Award, University of Cincinnati


Franklin B. Walter Award
Teaching Excellence Award, Ohio Department of Education


University Graduate Scholarship Recipient
University of Cincinnati

Appointments on National/International Organizations

  • Editor
  • School Science and Mathematics journal


University of Cincinnati, 2003, Curriculum & Instruction: Science Education
M.Ed. University of Cincinnati, 2000, Curriculum & Instruction: Instructional Design & Technology
Eastern Kentucky University, 1997, Integrated Science Education


  • Johnson, C.C., Bolshakova, V.L.J., & Waldron, T. (in press). When Good Intentions and Reality Meet: Large-Scale Reform of Science Teaching in Urban Schools With Predominantly Hispanic ELL Students, Urban Education.
  • Czerniak, C.M. & Johnson, C.C. (in press). Interdisciplinary Science and STEM Teaching. Invited handbook chapter to appear in Lederman, N.G. & Abell, S.K. (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Science Education 2nd Edition, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
  • Saylor, L. & Johnson, C.C. (2014). The Role of Reflection in Mathematics and Science Teachers’ Training and Development. School Science and Mathematics, 114(1), 30-39.
  • Johnson, C.C. & Fargo, J.D. (accepted). A study of the impact of Transformative Professional Development (TPD) on Hispanic student performance on state-mandated assessments of science. Science Education.
  • Johnson, C.C. (accepted and in progress). Educational Turbulence: Navigating Reform in the Era of Accountability. Information Age Publishing.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2013). Educational turbulence: The influence of macro and micro policy on school reform, Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24(4), 693-715.
  • Johnson, C.C. & Saylor, L. (2013). Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL): The journey of a large middle school into the 21st century. Journal for Computing Teachers, 9(1) 1-7.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2013). Becoming relevant: Developing culturally relevant pedagogy in middle school science. Middle Ground, 16(3), 24-25.
  • Milner, A., Sondergeld, T., Demir, K., Czerniak, C.M., & Johnson, C.C. (2012). Elementary Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching Science and Classroom Practice: An Examination of Pre/Post NCLB Testing in Science. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 23 111-132.
  • Johnson, C.C., Kahle, J.B. & Zhang, D. (2012). Effective science instruction: Impact on high stakes assessment performance, Research in Middle Level Education, 35(9), 1-14.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2012). Implementation of STEM education policy: Challenges, progress, and lessons learned. School Science and Mathematics, 112(1), 45-55.
  • Breiner, J., Harkness, M., Johnson, C.C., & Koehler, C. (2012). What Is STEM? A Discussion about Conceptions of STEM in Education and Partnerships, School Science and Mathematics, 112(1), 3-11.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2011). Secondary STEM Educational Reform, Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Johnson, C.C., & Bolshakova, V.L.J. (2011). STEM Stakeholder Response to Enacted Educational Policy, in Johnson, C.C. (Ed.) Secondary STEM Educational Reform, Palgrave MacMillan, p. 159-192.  
  • Johnson, C.C. (2011). Preface: Defining Turbulence in STEM Educational Reform, in Johnson, C.C. (Ed.) Secondary STEM Educational Reform, Palgrave MacMillan. p. vx-vxiii.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2011). Postscript: Targeting turbulence: Lessons learned –            potential solutions to challenges, in Johnson, C.C. (Ed.) Secondary STEM Educational Reform, Palgrave MacMillan, p.193-195.
  • Jennings-Bolshakova, V., Johnson, C.C., & Czerniak, C.M. (2011). “It depends on what science teacher you got”: Urban science self-efficacy from teacher and student voices. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 6(4), 961-997.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2011). The Road to Culturally Relevant Science: Exploring how teachers navigate change in pedagogy. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48(2), 170-198.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2010). Transformative Professional Development for In-Service Teachers: Enabling change in science teaching to better meet the needs of Hispanic ELL students in Sunal, D.W., Sunal, D.S., Mantero, M., & Wright, E. (Eds.) Teaching Science with Hispanic ELLs in K-16 Classrooms, Information Age Publishing, p. 233-252.
  • Johnson, C.C., Fargo, J.D., & Kahle, J.B. (2010). The Cumulative and Residual Impact of a Systemic Reform Program on Teacher Change and Student Learning of Science. School Science and Mathematics, 110(3), 144-159.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2010). Making the Case for School-Based Systemic Reform in Science Education. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 21(3), 279-282.
  • Johnson, C.C. & Fargo, J.D. (2010). Urban school reform through transformative professional development: Impact on teacher change and student learning of science. Urban Education, 45(1), 4-29.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2009). Appropriate Practice for Linguistically Diverse Science Learners in Gess-Newsome, J., Luft, J. & Bell, R. (Eds.) Reforming Secondary Science Education, a National Science Foundation Commissioned Monograph, National Science Teachers Association Press, p. 91-101.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2009). An Examination of Effective Practice: Elimination of Achievement Gaps in Science. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 20(3) 287-306.
  • Johnson, C.C. & Marx, S. (2009) Transformative professional development: A model for urban science education reform. Journal of Science Teacher Education.20(2), 113-134.
  • Franklin, B.M. & Johnson, C.C. (2007). What the Schools Teach: A Social History of the American Curriculum since 1950 in Connelly, F.M., He, M.F., & Phillion, J. Handbook of Curriculum and Instruction. SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, p. 460-477.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2007). Whole school collaborative professional development and science teacher change: Signs of success. Journal of Science Teacher Education.18 (4), 629-662.
  • Johnson, C.C., Kahle, J.B., & Fargo, J. (2007) Effective Teaching Results in Increased Science Achievement for All Students. Science Education.91(3), 371-383.
  • Johnson, C. C. (2007) Technical, political, and cultural barriers to science education reform. International Journal of Leadership in Education. 10(2), 171-190.
  • Johnson, C.C., Kahle, J.B., & Fargo, J. (2007) A study of sustained, whole-school, professional development on student achievement in science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 44(6), 775-786.
  • Franklin, B.M. & Johnson, C.C. (2007) El Curricul sobre la educación adaptada a la vida, Profesorado: Revista de curriculum y formacion del profesorado. 11, (3), 1-12.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2007) Effective science teaching, professional development, and No Child Left Behind: Barriers, dilemmas, and reality. Journal of Science Teacher Education. 18(2), 133-136.
  • Franklin, B. & Johnson, C.C. (2006) The conflict over life adjustment education. Zeitschrift fuer paedagogische Historiographie, 12(2), 1-18.
  • Franklin, B. & Johnson, C.C. (2006). Comments on Jürgen Oelkers’ child or curriculum.Zeitschrift fuer paedagogische Historiographie, 12(1), 43-44.
  • Franklin, B.M. & Johnson, C.C. (2006). Lo que ensenan las escuelas: Una historica social del curriculumen los estados unidos desde 1950. Profesorado. Revista de Curriculum y formación del profesorado, 10 (2), 1-29.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2006) Effective professional development and change in practice: Barriers teachers encounter and implications for reform. School Science and Mathematics. 106(3), 1-12.
  • Johnson, C.C. & Hanegan, N. (2006). No Child Left Behind – What does this mean to middle school science teachers? Science Scope. 29(11),12-16.
  • Johnson, C. (2006) Enabling all students to learn science: Using portfolios for instruction. The Science Teacher. 73(2), 32-37.
  • Johnson, C.C. (2005). Making instruction relevant to language minority students at the middle level. Middle School Journal 37(2), 10-14.
  • Johnson, C. (2005) Exploring Ecosystems: Inquiry-based plant and animal science. Level Line Journal15(2) 12-16.
  • Johnson, C. (2004) Science teachers missing the link between National Science Education Standards and classroom practice. Level Line Journal, 14(2), 1-8.
  • Johnson, C. (2004) NASA rocks: Problem based learning in Earth science. Science Scope, 28(1), 47-49.
  • Johnson, C. (2004) Roller coaster inquiry: How to relate science to students of all backgrounds. The Science Teacher 71(6), 61-63.
  • Johnson, C. (2003) Bioterrorism is real-world science: Inquiry-based simulation mirrors real life. Science Scope 27(3), 19-23.
  • Johnson, C. (2003) Chapter Seven: Cross-Cutting Issues in Kelly, M.K. & Johnson, I. (Eds.) Ohio’s Narrowing Achievement Gaps in Math and Science Conference Proceedings.

External  Funding

  • PI        P-STEM, Partnership for Advancing Integrated STEM Education, Indiana Department of Education Mathematics and Science Partnership Program, $450,000, 2013-16.
  • PI        School Science and Mathematics Association, funding for School Science and    Mathematics Journal, $210,000, 2011-16.
  • PI        National Center for Research and Development on STEM Policy seed funding, Duke Energy, $52,000, 2010-11.
  • PI        STEM Explorers -- Time Warner Cable partnership, funding to support my concept for a live STEM program for students in grades 4-8. Funding to UC reflects planning support and Time Warner will support over $1,000,000 in production and marketing costs. STEM Explorers will be broadcast across the nation to all Time Warner markets, $85,000, 2009-10.
  • PI        FUSION Professional Development Outreach -- Duke Energy partnership, Funding to support the FUSION professional development programming including the Let's Explore program, $50,000, 2009-10.
  • PI        Cincinnati STEM Partnership -- "Cincy STEM", Ohio Board of Regents, Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program to provide scholarships to Hughes STEM High School students to become secondary STEM teachers, $262,000, 2009-14.
  • PI          INSPIRE Teaching Fellows Program, United States Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Teacher Quality Research in Math and Science Program, program implementing Transformative Professional Development model with elementary science teachers, $1,500,000, 2009-12.
  • PI         Cincinnati STEM Hub Partnership -- STEM School Funding, Partnership for Continued Learning/Ohio Board of Regents, funding to continue support development of the Hughes STEM High School, $341,354.31, 2008-09.
  • Co-PI    Cincinnati STEM Hub, Battelle Memorial Institute/Ohio STEM Learning Network, funding to establish the Cincinnati STEM Partnership and to support the Hughes STEM High School, $1,500,000, 2008-2011.
  • Co-PI    Improving STEM Teacher Preparation: A long term commitment, Ohio Board of Regents, Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program, collaborative proposal between University of Toledo, Miami University and Cleveland State University, scholarships for future science/math teachers and funding for graduate program for in-service teachers and principals, $2,747,000, 2008-2012.
  • PI         Toledo Urban Mathematics and Science Alliance, Ohio Board of Regents, Regents Summer Academy program, future science/mathematics teacher recruitment/pre-college experience program for high school juniors and seniors, $340,000, 2007-08.
  • PI         Involving Neighborhood Stakeholders in Partnerships to Reach Excellence (INSPiRE) Research Project, implementation of Transformative Professional Development Model in Toledo Public Schools, Owens Corning Foundation and Toledo Community Foundation, $120,000, 2007-2019.
  • Co-PI    NWO-SCI Math and Science Partnership, Math and Science Partnership grant program, peer coaching and mentoring research component, Ohio Department of Education, $1,500,000, 2006-07.
  • Co-PI    Northwest Ohio Centers of Excellence Grant, Ohio Board of Regents, science teacher professional development $216,000, 2006-08.
  • PI         Utah's Improving Teacher Quality Initiative. United States Department of Education: Institute of Education Sciences, Teacher Quality Research in Math and Science Program, Transformative Professional Development Model research study in Ogden City Schools, Utah, $913,620, 2005-09.
  • PI         Secondary Science Institute Partnership (SSIP). Utah Math and Science Partnership Grant Program, $50,000, 2005.
  • Co-PI    UToledo. UTeach. UTouch the Future (UT3). United States Department of Education: Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants Program for Partnerships, Research on Professional Learning Communities for University Faculty and Professional Development for Teachers and Principals $6,000,000, 2005-2009.



Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, College of Education, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Chair of Middle Childhood Education Program, School of Education, College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH


Associate Professor, Chair of Middle Childhood Education Program, Chair of Curriculum & Instruction Program, School of Education, College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH


Associate Professor, Director FUSION STEM Center, School of Education, College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH


Associate Professor, Director CATALyST STEM Center, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Judith Herb College of Education, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH


Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Judith Herb College of Education, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH


Assistant Professor, Department of Secondary Education, College of Education, Utah State University, Logan, UT


Assistant Professor, College of Education, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY


Adjunct Assistant Professor, Division of Teacher Education, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH