Deborah Loewenberg Ball is the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of education at the University of Michigan, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, and the director of TeachingWorks. She taught elementary school for more than 15 years, and continues to teach mathematics to elementary students every summer. Ball serves on the National Science Board and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Board of Trustees, and is the 2017–18 president of the American Educational Research Association. She served as dean of the University of Michigan School of Education from 2005 to 2016.
Ball studies the practice of teaching as the active work of building relationships with children to support their learning and flourishing. Ball uses elementary mathematics as a critical context for investigating the challenges of helping children develop agency and understanding, and of leveraging the power of teaching to disrupt racism, marginalization, and inequity. She focuses on what it is involved in working across difference, especially the relational, communicative, and content-understanding entailments of that work. Ball is an expert on teacher education, and her current work centers on ways to improve the quality of beginning teaching, particularly for children of color and low-income children.
Ball has authored or co-authored more than 150 publications and has lectured and made numerous major presentations around the world. She has also developed distinctive collections of video records of practice that are broadly used to make practice visible and to study the work of teaching. Her research has been recognized with several awards and honors, and she has served on several national and international commissions and panels focused on policy initiatives and the improvement of education, including the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. She has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, and is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the American Educational Research Association.