Elizabeth Wood


Thomas Ehrlich Award for Excellence in Service Learning (2015)
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
School of Liberal Arts
Department of Museum Studies


Elizabeth (Elee) Wood received a BA in Dramatic Arts from Macalester College in 1993, a master's of education in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota in 2001, and a PhD in Work, Community, and Family Education in 2005, also from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Wood has been an associate professor with joint appointments in the Museum Studies program, IUPUI School of Liberal Arts and Urban Education, and the IU School of Education since 2011, and was appointed Director of the Museum Studies Program in 2013. In addition, she serves as the public scholar of museums, families, and learning in a joint appointment at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

Her research interests include object-based learning, informal learning in community settings, and critical museum pedagogies. Dr. Wood teaches courses in Museum Education, Museums and Audiences, Museum Theatre, Social Foundations of Education and Social Studies Methods for Elementary School. In her nine years on the IUPUI faculty, Dr. Wood has taught more than 20 courses that were officially listed as service learning courses. "Many of her other courses also incorporated service learning or community-based research; these projects were transformative learning experiences for the hundreds of students in those classes and were of great benefit to the community partners." A strong example of this is a student-formed consortium that emerged as a result of her Museum Theatre class; the Indianapolis Consortium on Audience Research and Evaluation. Because Dr. Wood directed students in numerous audience research studies that produced valuable results, members from almost all of the local museums now meet regularly to support the advancement of audience research at their institutions.

Dr. Wood contributes significantly to the scholarship of service learning, public scholarship and civic engagement. She was active as a Boyer Scholar on Service Learning and Civic Engagement; she conducted a research project with staff of the Center for Service and Learning to map the quality and communication of university-community partner relationships using the SOFAR methodology. Dr. Wood has presented internationally on phenomenological studies of people and objects at the International Human Science Research Conference and World Archaeological Congress, and regularly presents at American Educational Research Association, American Association of Museums, and Visitor Studies Association.