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Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning
Carol Rolheiser

Carol Rolheiser
Professor Emerita


Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Research Overview

Professor Rolheiser's research research interests include: teacher education and teacher development; cooperative learning and other models of teaching/learning; authentic assessment approaches (e.g., portfolio assessment, peer and self-assessment); school improvement; school/district/university partnerships; the design, implementation and evaluation of professional development; system reform; managing educational change; and teaching in higher education.

She has published widely on these topics and consults regularly on curriculum and instructional program design.

Academic History

Dr. Carol Rolheiser is Professor Emeritus with the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning and former inaugural Director of the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) at the University of Toronto. Carol's previous school-based roles included work as an elementary teacher, school administrator, and district consultant. Her previous university-based roles included elementary coordinator, Associate Chair, Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, Associate Dean, Academic Development, and Associate Dean, Teacher Education, of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. Carol is an award-winning educator and researcher, with a Ph.D. in teacher education from the University of Oregon.

Teaching Overview

Professor Rolheiser has taught in the elementary pre-service teacher education (B.Ed. and MT) program and the graduate program in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning. As well, she taught instructors and graduate students across varied disciplines at the University of Toronto through a range of programs offered through the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI).

Professor Rolheiser's passion for teaching is at the core of her professional work.

Representative Publications

Professor Rolheiser’s scholarship has resulted in a range of publications; her books have been distributed widely and translated into French, Lithuanian, Mongolian, and Thai. Sample publications:

Books Authored:

  1.        Bennett, B. & Rolheiser, C. (2001).  Beyond Monet: The artful science of instructional integration.  Toronto, ON: Bookation.  388 pp.
  2.        Rolheiser, C., Bower, B. & Stevahn, L. (2000).  The portfolio organizer: Succeeding with portfolios in your classroom.  Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. 166 pp.
  3.        Bennett, B., Rolheiser-Bennett, C. & Stevahn, L. (1991).  Cooperative learning:  Where heart meets mind.  Toronto, ON:  Educational Connections. 344 pp.

Books Edited:

  1.        Rolheiser, C., Carbone, A., Macnab, E., & Ye, J. (Eds.). (2019). The scholarship of leading: Mini-cases of educational leadership in action. Toronto, ON: Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, University of Toronto. also available at
  2.        Rolheiser, C., Evans, M., & Gambhir, M. (Eds.). (2011). Inquiry into practice: Reaching every student through inclusive curriculum. Toronto, ON: OISE Initial Teacher Education Program. 132 pp.
  3.        Rolheiser, C.  (Ed.). (1996).  Self-evaluation...Helping students get better at it.  Ajax, ON: VisuTronX.  116 pp.

Chapters in Books:

  1.        Rolheiser, C. & Evans, M. (2006).  Teaching for depth in teacher education. In K. Leithwood, P. McAdie, N. Bascia & A. Rodrigue (Eds.), Teaching for deep understanding: What every educator should know (pp. 165-174).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
  2.        Fullan, M., Rolheiser, C., Mascall, B., & Edge, K. (2004). Accomplishing large scale reform: A tri-level proposition.  In F. Hernandez & I.F. Goodson (Eds.), Social geographies of educational change (pp. 1-14). Norwell, MA: Kluwer.
  3.        Rolheiser, C. & Anderson, S. E. (2004).  Practices in teacher education and cooperative learning at the University of Toronto. Commissioned by the International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education, in E. Cohen, C. Brody & M. Sapon-Shevin (Eds.) Teaching cooperative learning:  The challenge for teacher education (pp. 13-30).  Albany, NY: State University of New York Press (SUNY).
  4.        Ross, J. A. & Rolheiser, C. (2003).  Student assessment practices in cooperative learning, In R. Gillies & A. F. Ashman (Eds.),Cooperative learning: The social and intellectual outcomes of learning in groups (pp. 119-135). New York, NY: RoutledgeFalmer.
  5.        Rolheiser, C. (1999).  Redesigning teacher education: The delicate, demanding dance of  “Ready, Fire, Aim”. In M. Wideen & P. Lemma (Eds.), Ground level reform in teacher education: Changing schools of education (pp. 119-148). Calgary, AB: Detselig  Enterprises.    
  6.        Rolheiser, C. & Stevahn, L. (1998).  The role of staff developers in promoting effective teacher decision-making.  In C. M. Brody & N. Davidson (Eds.), Professional development for cooperative learning: Issues and approaches (pp. 63-78).  New York, NY: State University of New York (SUNY) Press.

Refereed Guide

  1. Ellis, D.E., Chu, S.T.L., Popovic, C., Rolheiser, C., Le-May Sheffield, S., Wolf, P., & Wright, W.A. (2018). Educational Development Guide Series: No. 3. Centre Reviews: Strategies for Success. Ottawa, ON: Educational Developers Caucus.

Refereed Journal Articles:

  1. Najafi, N., Rolheiser, C., Harrison, L., & Heikoop, W. (2018). Connecting learner motivation to learner progress and completion in massive online open courses.  Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 44(2), 1-22
  2. Najafi, H., Rolheiser, C., Håklev, S., & Harrison, L. (2017). Variations in pedagogical design of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) across disciplines. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 5(2), 47-64.
  3. Najafi, H., Rolheiser, C., Harrison, L., & Håklev, S. (2015). University of Toronto instructors’ experiences with developing MOOCs. The International Review of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 16(3). Retrieved from
  4. Stewart, G., Seifert, T. A., & Rolheiser, C.  (2015). Anxiety and self-efficacy’s relationship with undergraduate students’ perceptions of the use of metacognitive writing strategies. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 6(1), 1-17.
  5. Burnett, M., Carpenter, S., Rolheiser, C., & Korpan, C. (Eds). (2014). Preparing graduate students for a changing world of work [Special Issue].Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 44(3).  
  6. Rolheiser, C., Evans, M., Gambhir, M., & Broad, K (2012).  Connecting inquiry and practice: Lessons learned from a multi-year professional learning partnership initiative. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, V, 13-21
  7. Ross, J.A., Rolheiser, C., & Hogaboam-Gray, A. (2002).  Influences on student cognitions about evaluation.  Assessment in Education, 9(1), 81-95.
  8. Rolheiser, C. & Schwartz, S. (2001) Preservice portfolios: A base for professional growth. Canadian Journal of Education, 26(3), 283-300.
  9. Ross, J. A.,Rolheiser, C., & Hogaboam-Gray, A. (2000).  Effects of self-evaluation training on narrative writing.  Assessing Writing, 6(1), 107-132.
  10. Ross, J.A.,Rolheiser, C., & Hogaboam-Gray, A. (1998).  Effects of collaborative action research on the knowledge of five Canadian teacher-researchers. Elementary School Journal, 99(3), 255-274.
  11. Ross, J. A., Rolheiser, C., & Hogaboam-Gray, A. (1998).  Student evaluation in cooperative learning: Teacher cognitions. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 4(2), 299-316.


Research Grants and Contracts

Recent research projects include: "Assess Targeted Objectives of the Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) Project"(2017-2020, PI/Faculty Lead);"Hatch, match, and dispatch: Examining the relationship between student intent, expectations, behaviours and outcomes in six Coursera MOOCs at the University of Toronto" (2013-2014, PI and Faculty Lead, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Athabasca University, MOOC Research Initiative); "Active Learning: Online Redesign (ALOR)" (2013-2014, PI and Faculty Lead, supported by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) Productivity and Innovation Grants); and, "Ontario Consortium for Graduate Professional Skills Development" (2013-2014, Faculty Lead, supported by Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) Productivity and Innovation Grants).

Past funded research includes a focus on increasing knowledge about the complex processes of large-scale reform, developing the curriculum (e.g., literacy and mathematics) expertise of teachers and school leaders, teacher education partnerships focused on research into practice, and professional development designs to build instructional capacity. Large scale reform projects have been undertaken in Edmonton Catholic Schools, Toronto District School Board, York Region District School Board, Chicago Public Schools, and the state of Louisiana, to name a few. As well, SSHRC and Ministry of Education funding supported studies on student evaluation in cooperative learning, student self-evaluation, and its impact on teaching strategies and student outcomes. External funding has also supported a range of initiatives, including a two year teacher education pilot and teacher education models focused on urban education.

Honours and Awards

Professor Carol Rolheiser was honoured to receive the Vivek Goel Faculty Citizenship Award, Awards of Excellence, University of Toronto, 2020.

In 2014, Carol was awarded the Outstanding Educator Award from Phi Delta Kappa International, University of Toronto Chapter.

In April 2006, Carol was one of five inaugural recipients of the University of Toronto's President's Teaching Award, honouring a career commitment to excellence in teaching, research in teaching, and the integration of teaching and research. Award recipients were designated as the first members of the University of Toronto's Teaching Academy and received $50,000 stipend to further their work in education. Carol continues to serve as Chair of the Teaching Academy.

In capacity as Associate Dean, Teacher Education the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, received the 2009 Wisniewski Award for Teacher Education from the Society of Professors of Education. Presented at AERA 2010.

Elected Fellow, University of Toronto St. Michael's College, September 2004

Teacher of the Year Award, OISE/UT Student Union, 1999

Award for Distinguished Leadership, Urban Network To Improve Teacher Education (UNITE), 1996

Teacher of the Year Award, Canadian College of Teachers, 1988

Professional Activities

Professor Rolheiser integrates her research in education with her teaching experience. As a leader in educational change, she has contributed to significant innovations in teacher education at the University of Toronto, including cohort-based programming, a two-year Master of Teaching degree, and multi-divisional collaborations, such as the Concurrent Teacher Education Program. She has also initiated and supported a range of initiatives to support the enhancement of teaching at the University of Toronto. As well, she has contributed to a range of school district, government, non-profit, university and professional organizations through long-term consultancy, leadership, field development and training.

Other Information

In addition to her commitment to the University of Toronto, Professor Rolheiser's work as a researcher and consultant has had a direct impact on teaching and learning in elementary and secondary schools across Ontario. Her curriculum and instruction program design skills and teaching expertise are also sought after by organizations worldwide, including those in Canada, the United States, Asia, Australia, and Central and Eastern Europe.