Aydin Bal



(608) 698-4139

403 Education Building

1000 Bascom Mall

Madison, WI 53706

Bal, Aydin

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Aydin Bal is a professor of education at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. His research focuses on the interplay between culture, learning, and mental health across local and global education systems. Dr. Bal examines the social justice issues in education, family-school-community-university collaboration, and systemic transformation. He has developed a Culturally Responsive Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports framework and the Learning Lab methodology. In Learning Labs, local stakeholders (students, families, educators, policy makers, and community representatives), especially those from historically marginalized communities, collectively design and implement culturally responsive behavioral support systems. As a practitioner and researcher, Dr. Bal has worked with youth from minoritized communities experiencing academic and behavioral problems in schools, hospitals, and prisons from the United States, Turkey, South Sudan, Syria, the Russian Federation, Anishinaabe Nation, and Brazil. Dr. Bal was the recipient of the 2019 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Scholars of Color Early Career Contribution Award.


  • PhD Special Education: Cultural-Linguistic Diversity and Behavioral Disorders, Arizona State University, 2009
  • MA Special Education: Behavioral Disorders, Arizona State University, 2002
  • BS Psychology, Hacettepe University, 1997

Select Publications

  • Bal, A., Betters-Bubon, J., & Fish, R. (2019). A multilevel analysis of statewide disproportionality in exclusionary discipline and the identification of emotional disturbance. Education and Urban Society, 51(2), 247-268.
  • Bal, A., Afacan, K., & Caki, H. I. (2019). Transforming schools from the ground-up with local stakeholders: Implementing Learning Lab for inclusion and systemic transformation at a middle school.. Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, 50(3), 359-387. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10780-019-09353-5.
  • Bal, A., (2017). System of disability. Critical Education, 8(6), 1-27. http://ices.library.ubc.ca/index.php/criticaled/article/view/186166.
  • Bal, A., & Trainor, A. A. (2016). Culturally responsive research rubric for experimental intervention studies: The development of a rubric for paradigm expansion.. Review of Educational Research, 86(2), 319-359.
  • Bal, A., (2016). From intervention to innovation: A cultural-historical approach to racial disproportionality in special education.. Interchange: A Quarterly Review of Education, 47, 409-427.
  • Engeström, Y., Sannino, A., Bal, A., Lotz-Sisitka, H., Pesanayi, T., Chikunda, C., & Lee, Y. J. (2016). Agentive learning for sustainability and equity: Communities, cooperatives and social movements as emerging foci of the learning sciences. C.-K. Looi, J. Polman, U. Cress & P. Reimann (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) 2016, 2, 1048-1054. Singapore: ISLS.
  • Bal, A., Sullivan, A., & Harper, J. (2014). A situated analysis of special education disproportionality for systemic change in an urban school district.. Remedial and Special Education, 35(1), 3-14.
  • Bal, A., (2014). Becoming in/competent learners in the United States: Refugee students’ academic identities in figured worlds of difference.. International Multilingual Research Journal, 8(2), 271-290.
  • Bal, A., Kozleski, E. B., Schrader, E. M., Rodriquez, E. M., & Pelton, S. (2014). Systemic transformation from the ground–up: Using learning lab to design culturally responsive schoolwide positive behavioral supports. Remedial and Special Education, 35(6), 327-339. doi:10.1177/0741932514536995 .
  • Bal, A., (2008). Posttraumatic stress disorder in Turkish child and adolescent survivors three years after the Marmara Earthquake.. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 13(3), 134-139.

Select Presentations

  • Bal, A., Afacan, K., & Cakir, H. A multi-site formative intervention study for inclusive organizational design in the United States. Paper 35th European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) Colloquium, Edinburgh, UK.
  • Bal, A. Construindo coalisões universidade/escola/comunidade sob a perspectiva da justiça social nos Estados Unidos (Builiding university-school-community coalitions for social justice in the United States). Keynote/Plenary Address XII Diálogos desde el Sur, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Bal, A., Afacan, K., Cakir, H., Clardy, T., Love, L., & Ko, D. Radical possibilities of transforming schools with local stakeholders: A formative intervention study for expansive learning. Paper American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
  • Bal, A. What’s Marx got to do with the racialization of disability? Paper American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
  • Bal, A. Designing school-wide behavioral support systems with families, students, and community members. Keynote/Plenary Address International Congress on Early Childhood Intervention (ICECI), Antalya, Turkey.
  • Bal, A. Educational equity and participatory social justice. Keynote/Plenary Address 10th Foro de Lenguas, Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Bal, A., Afacan, K., Cakir, H., & Clardy, T. Disrupting the racialization of discipline: Culturally responsive behavioral support at an urban middle school. Paper American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX.
  • Bal, A., & Harper, J. Madison Learning Lab: A collaborative systemic transformation project to address the racialization of behavioral problems. Paper American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, San Antonio, TX.
  • Bal, A., Goff, P., & Park, S. Racial disproportionality in identification of behavioral disorders: A longitudinal analysis of contextual factors. Paper American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
  • Bal, A. Culturally responsive school-wide positive behavioral supports: An equity-oriented systemic change model to address minority disproportionality. Paper American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, Canada.

Select Awards and Honors

  • Early Career Award, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2019
  • Senior Scholars Award, The Fulbright Program, (2018, 2019)
  • Outstanding Mentor, Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2018
  • Review of Research Award, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2017
  • Distinguished Achievement Award for Community-Engaged Scholarship, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2016