Yi-Hwa Liou

EDS Researcher / PostDoc

Yi-Hwa Liou is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego. In the summer of 2010, she earned her Ph.D. degree in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also received a M.S. degree. Her dissertation research, titled Relational Trust and Knowledge Sharing: An Investigation of Principal Trust and School Social Networks, has been awarded the 2010 David L. Clark National Graduate Student Research Seminar scholar. In her dissertation, Yi-Hwa examined professional relationships among teachers and principals within professional learning community (PLC) schools from a social capital’s perspective. She conducted her research in high-performing PLC schools in the Midwest area in the U.S. that had been undertaking reform initiatives around reading literacy programs. She used a mixed-methods design integrating quantitative and qualitative methodologies and social network analysis to deepen the understanding of the relational, structural, and cognitive aspects of professional relationships as well as the way in which these high-performing PLC schools design their professional communities for learning.

At the Department of Education Studies, Yi-Hwa continues working collaboratively with Prof. Dr. Alan Daly on multiple projects on systemic change across all levels of education with a particular focus on the application of social network analysis. She is also working with Dr. Nienke Moolenaar and Dr. Frank Cornelissen on studies around the co-evolution of social networks and educational change as well as the school-university partnerships for the development of professional knowledge of educators. Examining reform practices in high-performing PLC environments in conjunction with those in under-performing and highly diverse settings, Yi-Hwa’s research interest focuses on the ways in which practitioners across settings access, receive, exchange, and advance contextually situated practices in enacting reform efforts from the lens of social, human, and intellectual capital theory and the use of social network theory and analysis. She aims to bring the research methods and practices of social network analysis to the world of leadership practices and development, school reform, and policy reflection to understand several complex areas of organization-level research such as leadership for organizational development, principal and teacher leadership, professional learning community, data-driven decision making, and professional development.

Previously, Yi-Hwa served as a research coordinator at the National Academy for Educational Research, where she oversaw the Taiwanese student performance on multiple international assessments such as PIRLS, TIMSS, and PISA, and worked with scholars in the field of literacy studies in coordinating the development of major domains, concepts, and knowledge necessary for the 21st century skills. In addition to the experience of using assessment data to guide decision making at the national level, during her graduate studies at UW-Madison, Yi-Hwa also participated in another national level project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation—Data-Driven Instructional System (DDIS)—that looks at how school leaders design systems of learning that help teachers collect, use, analyze, and reflect on student data to guide their instructional decision making in support of reform initiatives in systemic change for school improvement. Prior to her graduate studies, Yi-Hwa also served as a school teacher in a K-6 setting, which led to her further interest in studying leadership, dynamic school climate, and practices for systemic school reforms.