Dr. Elena Aydarova is an incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a fellow with the National Education Policy Center and an associate editor with Anthropology and Education Quarterly.

Dr. Aydarova’s interdisciplinary scholarship lies at the intersections of educational policy, anthropology of education, as well as comparative and international education. She examines educational policies and their implications for equity, diversity, and social justice through the lens of theater. Rooted in critical theories, her research focuses on intermediary organizations’ advocacy and the ensuing technocratic reforms. She also explores various dimensions of educators’ policy advocacy, looking for opportunities to mobilize more people to work towards more equitable and just education for all. 

Dr. Aydarova’s publication record includes more than thirty journal articles and book chapters. Her work has appeared in such journals as in Educational Researcher, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, Educational Policy, Teaching and Teacher Education, Comparative Education, and many others. Dr. Aydarova’s book Teacher Education Reform as Political Theater (2019, with SUNY Press) has won the 2021 Outstanding Book Award from the Society of Professors of Education, the 2020 Outstanding Book Award from the Council on Anthropology and Education, and the 2020 Critics’ Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association.

Dr. Aydarova’s work has been supported by a number of fellowships and grants, including a 2021-2022 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a 2019-2020 American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women, a Spencer Small Research Grant, and a Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship. She was a recipient of the 2016-2017 Concha Delgado Gaitan Presidential Fellowship and a 2020 Doug Foley Early Career Award (honorable mention) from the Council on Anthropology and Education, as well as a 2019-2020 Global Teacher Education Fellowship from the Longview Foundation. Her Action in Teacher Education article co-authored with Drs. Nancy Dana and James Rigney received Taylor and Francis 2023 Outstanding Article Award from the Association of Teacher Educators. Her research has also won awards from Division K of the American Educational Research Association, the Eurasia Special Interest Group of the Comparative and International Education Society, as well as TESOL International.

Born in Russia and raised in Ukraine, Dr. Aydarova taught in Ukraine, China, and the United Arab Emirates. She earned her MA in Linguistics at the University of South Carolina, a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education at Michigan State University and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Arizona State University.