Jeff Claus

Jeff Claus

Emeritus Professor , Department of Education
Faculty, Latin American Studies

Specialty:Social and Cultural Issues in Education -- Multicultural Education and Culturally Responsive Teaching

I've been retired now a few years and am an Emeritus Professor. I can still be reached at my Ithaca College email address of

My primary teaching, research, and community interests centered around: multicultural education and the preparation of culturally competent teachers; the education/opportunity gap; issues of race and racism in education; other issues of equity, diversity, and social justice in education; anti-racist teaching and education; cultural learning style differences; the sociocultural dynamics of classrooms, schools, and communities, as these influence the teaching/learning process; effective collaboration between educators and parents/caregivers; service learning; education for social change/social justice; democratic, project-oriented instruction; and the role and value of the arts in education for social change. 

Much of my work revolved around trying to help make K-12 schools, classrooms, and communities more welcoming and supportive places where ALL young people and their families are respected, valued, and guided toward full engagement, participation and success.  As part of this work, I have collaborated with others, both on campus and in the community, to help educate about issues of diversity and equity and to create programs that contribute to a multicultural society founded on mutual respect, understanding, and fair opportunity. On campus I was chair of the Diversity Awareness Committee and a faculty associate with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar Program, and with students in one of my courses, I created the WISE website -- Working to Improve Schools and Education -- which provides information, resources, and research about many major topics in education.

Social and Cultural Foundations of Education; Education and Society; Culture and Community in Education and Teaching; and Education for Social Change.

A research project I completed in the years just before retiring focused on interviews with parents of African American youth about their experiences with issues of race and racism in school. In 2008-09 I conducted the interviews, in 2009-10 I did a number of workshops with local teachers based on preliminary findings, and in 2011-12 I presented papers about the study at a number of national conferences.  

In 2010-2011 I was the faculty advisor for a student led, Dana Foundation funded project in which a research team of IC ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) students interviewed other IC ALANA students about their experiences with issues of race, racism, and bias on campus and in the Ithaca community. The purpose of the study was to document and develop greater awareness and understanding of these experiences in order to help the college and Ithaca create a more welcoming, supportive, and empowering environment for ALANA members of our community. The students presented this research at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, 2011, and on campus. 

I'm currently a member of the board/boosters group for the College Discovery Program, a program run out of the Ithaca Youth Bureau for the purpose of providing full year support and guidance starting in the 6th grade and following through high school graduation, for youth from groups underrepresented in higher education. The program serves a very diverse group of students and their families, and it and has a success rate of 80%. I'm also a recently past President of the Board of the Center for Transformative Action, an organization affiliated with Cornell University that provides support services and non-profit status for 25 innovative social entrepreneurship projects working to address important social/environmental issues. I was a board member and vice-president of Ithaca's Southside Community Center for ten years, where, among other things, I assisted as a grant writer and program developer to help create a recording studio program for youth of limited resources. And, I've been a member of the site council/advisory board for Beverly J. Martin Elementary School, Ithaca's most diverse elementary school; a co-presenter and designer of an Ithaca City School District staff development workshop series titled, "Closing the Education Gap Now;" a co-director and primary grant writer of the Community Unity Multicultural Music Education Program; a co-director of a conference at Ithaca College, "Creating Culturally Affirming Education for Students of Color: Integrating the Performing Arts and Academics"; a board member of The Learning Web, a community-based apprenticeship and service learning program for youth; and, in its early years, a member of the steering committee of the Village at Ithaca, another community-based organization dedicated to addressing the achievement gap in Ithaca.

"Parents of African American Children Talk about Their Experiences with Issues of Race and Racism in School: Institutional Racism, Racial Microaggressions, and the Need for Anti-Racist Educators." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, BC, 2012.

"It's Often a Subtle Thing" and "I Wish Teachers Would Really Listen": An Interview Study with Parents/Caregivers of African American Youth about Their Families' School-Related Experiences with Issues of Race and Racism." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Studies Association, St. Louis, 2011.

An Empowering, Transformative Approach to Service.  With C. Ogden.  In J. Devitis and L. Irwin (Eds.) Adolescent Education: A Reader.  New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2010.

Service Learning for Youth Empowerment and Social Change. With C. Ogden. (Eds.) Part of the Adolescent Cultures, School and Society Series. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2001.

Service Learning for Youth Empowerment and Social Change: An Introduction. With C. Ogden. In J. Claus and C. Ogden (Eds.) Service Learning for Youth Empowerment and Social Change. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2001.

An Empowering, Transformative Approach to Service. With C. Ogden. In J. Claus and C. Ogden (Eds.) Service Learning for Youth Empowerment and Social Change. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2001.

Service Learning for Social Change: The Importance of Community Collaboration and a Critically Reflective Framework. With Teresa Michel. In T. O'Connor (Ed.) Cornell Service-Learning Symposium Working Paper Series, Volume 2. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Public Service Center, 1999.

"You Can't Avoid the Politics:" Lessons for Teacher Education from a Case Study of Teacher-Initiated Tracking Reform. Journal of Teacher Education, 1999, 50(1): 5-16.

Reflection as a Natural Element of Service: Service Learning for Youth Empowerment. With C. Ogden. Equity and Excellence in Education, 1997, 30(1): 72-80.

I'm also a musician who has performed and recorded extensively with two bands, and who, with my wife, Judy Hyman, composes and records for feature films and television documentaries. For more about this part of my life:  -- -- --

"Education without social action is a one-sided value because it has no true power potential.Social action without education is a weak expression of pure energy.  Deeds uninformed by educated thought can take false directions. When we go into action and confront our adversaries, we must be armed with knowledge... Our policies should have the strength of deep analysis beneath them..."  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.