Elizabeth G. Cohen, 73; Founded Innovative Instruction Method

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Elizabeth G. Cohen, 73, founder of Complex Instruction, a groundbreaking teaching method that applied sociological theory to promote equity in the classroom, died of cancer March 12 at her home on the Stanford University campus.

Cohen founded Stanford’s Program for Complex Instruction in 1979 and directed it until her retirement in 1999. The program, which has been adapted for use in elementary and middle schools, uses special strategies of teaching and support for teachers whose classes are culturally and academically diverse.

A native of Worcester, Mass., Cohen received her bachelor’s degree from Clark University in Worcester and her master’s and PhD from Harvard University.


She was appointed an assistant professor in Stanford’s School of Education in 1966 and became its first female full professor in 1975. She later received a joint appointment in sociology.