Dr. Corey Bunje Bower

Dr. Corey Bunje Bower

Assistant Professor of Leadership and Policy

Office Location:
DePaul Hall 213
Office Hours:
Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10-11am & Friday 3-6pm
Curriculum Vitae:


Corey Bunje Bower is Assistant Professor of Leadership & Policy at Niagara.  His research and teaching interests center on urban poverty and social/educational policy.  His current research focuses on how psychosocial factors and conditions experienced by those living in urban poverty affect children and families – particularly relating to educational outcomes – and examines the ability of social and educational policy to mitigate these effects and narrow achievement gaps.  He is currently working on a book synthesizing research on how neighborhoods/housing, health/health care, and family/home environment affect the academic performance of the urban poor and exploring possible policy responses.

He came to Niagara in the fall of 2012, largely due to the school’s commitment to serving the poor and the oppressed.  He was raised in a home with a similar ethos; his father is a Pastor and teacher and his mother is a social worker.  He’s currently the College of Education’s faculty liaison for service learning, led a service trip to Camden, NJ in January of 2013, is Co-Leader of the new EntrepreNU social entrepreneurship competition, and is always working on exciting new initiatives confronting problems with poverty and urban redevelopment in the region.

Corey grew up in Detroit and Pittsburgh and then attended Drew University in New Jersey, where he majored in Political Science and Economics and spent countless hours with the swim team and student government.  He still swims semi-regularly, competes in triathlons, and is an active member of the Buffalo Triathlon Club.  He's also taken up curling and cross-country skiing since moving to the Buffalo/Niagara region.

After college, he joined the NYC Teaching Fellows and taught Sixth Grade and coached debate at a low-performing (and since-closed) middle school in The Bronx.  After his second year, he had the pleasure of teaching 6th grade math in the Summer on the Hill program designed to catch-up low-income students through both academic classes and various enrichment opportunities throughout the summer and on weekends during the school year.  He then left teaching to pursue a Ph.D. in Leadership & Policy Studies at Vanderbilt University.

His dissertation evaluates and synthesizes the existing evidence linking social factors and environmental conditions disproportionately experienced by those living in poverty with academic performance, with the goal of tying together disparate strands of research and beginning to answer whether and how social policy can significantly narrow the achievement gap.  Other research examines education policy (including teacher attrition, school discipline, and school climate), housing policy (particularly public housing redeveloped under the HOPE VI program), and Promise Neighborhoods (coordinated services designed to improve the health and well-being of children, improve schools, reduce poverty). He writes about current events and research on his blog, Thoughts on Education Policy.

Focus of Teaching

At Niagara, Corey has taught PhD-level courses in Social Policy, Organizational Assessment, GIS, Ethics, and Qualitative Research Methods; a Master's course in Research and Statistics; and an undergraduate course in Foundations of Education. Other interests/experience include Public Policy, Urban Poverty, Social Context of Education, and the Achievement Gap.

Educational Background

Ph.D. Leadership and Policy Studies, Vanderbilt University (2013) 
M.S. Elementary Education, Mercy College (2006) 
B.A. Political Science/Economics, Drew University (2004)