Professional Biography

Dr. Puckett teaches courses and seminars in American education reform, history, policy, and practice; education and the American city; and John Dewey. He served as associate dean of Penn GSE from 1998–2004 and again in 2006–2007. Dr. Puckett chaired the Educational Leadership Division from 1999–2000 and the Education Policy Division (EPD) from 2007–11. He also served on the School’s Executive Committee for eleven years. Dr. Puckett’s background includes six years of teaching and administrative work in public and private secondary schools in North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. He holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before coming to Penn in 1987, Dr. Puckett was director of research and development for REAL Enterprises, a non-profit organization that helped catalyze school-based economic development projects in the rural South.

At Penn, Dr. Puckett has been actively involved in building partnerships with West Philadelphia schools. From 1988–1992, he worked with Ira Harkavy to develop the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Community Partnerships, which is now called the Netter Center. In conjunction with the Netter Center and the School of Arts and Sciences’ Urban Studies Program, he teaches undergraduate academically-based community service seminars that focus on school and neighborhood improvement projects in West Philadelphia. He has co-authored a number of journal articles and book chapters with faculty affiliated with the Netter Center, advancing the development of university-assisted community schools and academically-based community service.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Dr. Puckett is the author of Foxfire Reconsidered: A Twenty-Year Experiment in Progressive Education (University of Illinois Press, 1989); Leonard Covello and the Making of Benjamin Franklin High School: Education As If Citizenship Mattered (Temple University Press, 2007), with Michael C. Johanek; Dewey’s Dream: Universities and Democracies in an Age of Education Reform (Temple University Press, 2007), with Lee Benson and Ira Harkavy; and Becoming Penn: The Pragmatic American University, 1950–2000 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015).


Ph.D. (Education) University of North Carolina, 1986

M.A. (Education) University of Georgia, 1980

B.A. (German) Davidson College, 1970

Areas of Expertise

Civic education and community schooling
University-community relations
The American research university
The American high school
History of American education

Selected Publications

Puckett, J. L., & Lloyd, M. F. (2013, October). Penn’s great expansion: Postwar urban renewal and the alliance between private universities and the public sector. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography137(4), 381–430.

Puckett, J. L., & Lloyd, M. F. (2011). Martin Meyerson’s dream of “one university”: The Penn presidency, 1970-81, and beyond. Journal of Planning History, 10, 193–218.

Puckett, J. L., Benson, L., & Harkavy, I. (2007). Dewey’s dream: Universities and democracies in an age of education reform. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Puckett, J. L., & Johanek, M. C. (2007). Leonard Covello and the making of Benjamin Franklin High School: Education as if citizenship mattered. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Puckett, J. L. (2004). The state of civic education: Preparing citizens in an era of accountability. In M. Lazerson & S. Fuhrman (Eds.), Institutions of democracy: The public schools. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Puckett, J. L., Benson, L., & Harkavy, I. (2000). An implementation revolution as a strategy for fulfilling the democratic promise of university-community partnerships: Penn-West Philadelphia as an experiment in progress. [Special issue]. Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 29<(1), 24–45.

Puckett, J. L., & Forgey, E. (2000). History as public work. In I. Harkavy & A. Donovan (Eds.), Service learning and the disciplines: Current developments in historical scholarship. Washington, D.C.: American Association of Higher Education.

Puckett, J. L., Harkavy, I., & Romer, D. (2000, Fall). Action research as an approach for improving service, teaching and research. [Special issue]. Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning, 113–18.

Puckett, J. L., & Harkavy, I. (1999). University-assisted community schools and strategic academically-based community service. In E. Clinchy (Ed.), Reforming education from the bottom to the top, (pp. 150–170). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Puckett, J. L., & Harkavy, I. (1999). The action research tradition in American social science: Toward a strategy for revitalizing the social sciences, the university and the American city. In D. Greenwood (Ed.), Action, research: From practice to writing in an international action research development program (pp. 147–167). Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

Puckett, J. L., & Harkavy, I. (1994). Lessons from Hull House for the contemporary urban university. Social Service Review, 68(3), 299–321.

Puckett, J. L. (1989). Foxfire reconsidered: A twenty-year experiment in progressive education. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.