Shira E. Epstein

Associate Professor, Social Studies and English Education Program Director


North Academic Center





Shira E. Epstein


Shira Eve Epstein entered the field of education as a middle school teacher in New York City. She joined CCNY’s School of Education in Fall 2008.  She is the director of the Social Studies Education and English Education Programs and teaches graduate and undergraduate English education courses in teaching methods, curriculum design, youth civic engagement, and other topics.  In her research, she explores different forms of civic education and how teachers and students address social problems during the school day and during out-of-school programs.  Her work can be found in journals including Teachers College Record, The Journal of Social Studies Research, English Journal, The Urban Review, and Journal of Teacher Education.  Her first book, Teaching Civic Literacy Projects: Student Engagement with Social Problems, was published by Teachers College Press.  She advocates for robust, democratic civic education in K-12 schools, serving on the executive committee of DemocracyReady NY and enacting professional development programs on civic education with practicing teachers.


Ed.D.  in Curriculum and Teaching, May 2007, Teachers College, Columbia University
M.A.   in Curriculum and Teaching, May 2003, Teachers College, Columbia University
B.A.    in English and History, May 1999, Rutgers College, Rutgers University

Courses Taught

EDSE 1100E (grad)/EDSE 44100 (undergrad) –Methods of Teaching Secondary English
EDSE 7300E (grad)/EDSE 45101 (undergrad) –Curriculum Development in Secondary English
EDSE 2300E (grad)/EDSE 45102 (undergrad) - Curriculum Development for Secondary Social Studies
EDSE 1200E (grad)/EDSE 41200 (undergrad) - Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum
ENGLE 4200C - Reading Non-Fiction Texts
PSCE 6200C - Civic Participation of Youth
And others

Research Interests

Civic literacy
Urban education
Multicultural education


Some of Professor Epstein's publications include:

Epstein, S. & Levy, B. L. (2021).  Learning to teach for civic engagement:  Opportunities and

constraints for three teachers in one urban elementary school.  Teachers College Record. 123(13).      

Epstein, S. (2020).  Supporting students to read complex texts on civic issues:  The role of

scaffolded reading instruction in democratic education. Democracy and Education. 28(2), 1 – 12.   

Epstein, S. (2019).  Voices of ambivalence:  White teachers’ reflections on race talk.  The Urban

Review. 51, 477 – 502.
Epstein, S. (2019).  Liberation psychology and urban civic education.  Citizenship Teaching and Learning. 14(1), 47 - 65.  

Epstein, S. & Lipschultz, J. (2017).  Talking about schools:  Fourth and fifth graders address segregation and equity.  Social Studies and the Young Learner. 30(1), 27 – 32.

Epstein, S. (2017).  Supporting global awareness:  A proposal for youth civic engagement.  Schools: Studies in Education.  14(1), 141 – 154.

Ratner, A. & Epstein, S. (2016).  A vision of possibility:  The role of cooperating teachers in preparing the next generation of audacious educators.  The English Record.  67(1), 43 – 60.

Epstein, S. & Ratner, A. (2015).  "How can I help?"  Secondary education classrooms as sites for service and learning.  Issues in Teacher Education. 24(2), 101 – 118.

Epstein, S. (2014).  Teaching civic literacy projects:  Student engagement with social problems.  New York:  Teachers College Press. 

Epstein, S. (2013).  Independent voices, social insight, and action:  An analysis of a social action project.  The Journal of Social Studies Research. 37, 123 – 136.

Epstein, S. & Lipschultz, J. (2012).  Getting personal?  Student talk about racism.  Race Ethnicity and Education, 15(3), 379 – 404.

Epstein, S. (2010).  Activists and writers:  Student expression in a social action literacy project.  Language Arts 87 (5), 363 - 372.

Agarwal, R., Epstein, S., Oppenheim, R., Oyler, C., Sonu, D. (2010).  From ideal to practice and back again:  Beginning teachers teaching for social justice:  Negotiating the status quo.  Journal of Teacher Education 6(3), 237 – 247.  

Epstein, S. (2010).  "Who are your friends?"  Complexities in multicultural education.  The Urban Review 42(1), 39 – 57. 

Epstein, S. (2009).  "To carve out new orders in experience":  Imagination in a social action literacy project.  English Journal 99(2).