Faculty Directory
Faculty Directory

Francis Shen

  • Associate Professor of Law
  • McKnight Land-Grant Professor

University of Chicago, B.A.
Harvard Law School, J.D.
Harvard University, Ph.D.

Office: 330
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor Francis X. Shen joined the faculty as an associate professor in 2012. He also serves as Executive Director of Education and Outreach for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.

Professor Shen completed his B.A. in economics and English at the University of Chicago in 2000, his J.D. at Harvard Law School in 2006, and his Ph.D. in government and social policy at Harvard University and the Kennedy School of Government in 2008. During graduate school he was a doctoral fellow in the Harvard University Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy, supported by the National Science Foundation. From 2007-09, he was a teaching fellow, lecturer, and assistant director of undergraduate studies in the Harvard Department of Government and received five Certificates of Distinction for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center.

In 2009 he joined the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project, at the University of California Santa Barbara, as a post-doctoral research fellow. In 2010-11 he became associate director of the Project and a visiting scholar at Vanderbilt Law School. In 2011-12 he was a visiting assistant professor at Tulane University Law School and The Murphy Institute.

Professor Shen conducts empirical and interdisciplinary research at the intersection of law and the brain sciences. He is co-authoring the first law coursebook on law and neuroscience (forthcoming, Aspen Publishers), and has explored the implications of cognitive neuroscience for criminal law, tort, and legislation in the United States. Additional research areas of focus are criminal law and crime policy, and education law and policy.

His research has been published in a variety of outlets in law, political science, psychology, and education, and he has made more than 50 professional presentations. He has co-authored two books, The Education Mayor (Georgetown, 2007) and The Casualty Gap (Oxford, 2010), and has authored or co-authored 14 articles and 9 book chapters.

For further information on Professor Shen, please see his PDF iconcurriculum vitae and his personal web site.


Criminal Law

Law and Neuroscience

Education Law & Policy

Student Speech: Rights and Regulations



  • Law and Neuroscience (Aspen Publishers, 2014) (coursebook) Owen D. Jones, Jeffrey Schall and Francis Shen
    | SSRN
  • The Casualty Gap: The Causes and Consequences of American Wartime Inequalities (Oxford University Press, 2010) Douglas L. Kriner and Francis Shen
  • The Education Mayor: Improving America’s Schools (Georgetown University Press, 2007) Kenneth K. Wong, Francis Shen, Dorothea Anagnostopoulos and Stacey A. Rutledge

Book Chapters

  • Education Policy and Race, in Oxford Handbook on Racial and Ethnic Politics in America (Mark Sawyer, David Leal & Taeku Lee, eds., Oxford University Press, forthcoming) Jennifer L. Hochschild and Francis Shen
  • Law and Neuroscience in the United States, in International Neurolaw: A Comparative Analysis 349 (Tade Spranger, ed., Springer, 2012) Owen D. Jones and Francis Shen
  • Monetizing Memory Science: Neuroscience and the Future of PTSD Litigation, in Memory and Law 325 (Lynn Nadel & Walter P. Sinnott-Armstrong, eds., Oxford University Press, 2012) Francis Shen
  • Education Mayors and Big City School Boards: New Directions, New Evidence, in The Future of School Board Governance: Relevancy and Revelation 441 (Thomas L. Alsbury, ed., Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2008) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Charter Law and Charter Operation: Re-Examining the Charter School Marketplace, in Charter School Outcomes 131 (Mark Berends, Matthew G. Springer & Herbert J. Walberg, eds., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2007) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Politics and Religion, in Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election (Larry Sabato, ed., Pearson/Longman, 2006) Russell Muirhead, Nancy L. Rosenblum, Daniel Schlozman and Francis Shen
  • When Mayors Lead Urban Schools: Assessing the Effects of Mayoral Takeover, in Besieged: School Boards and the Future of Education Politics 81 (William G. Howell, ed., Brookings Institution Press, 2005) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Political Economy of Charter School Funding Formulas: Exploring State-to-State Variations, in Money, Politics and Law: Intersections and Conflicts in the Provision of Educational Opportunity 171 (Karen DeMoss & Kenneth K. Wong, eds., Eye on Education, 2004) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Does Title I Money Matter? Federal Compensatory Funding and Student Achievement, in Efficiency, Accountability, and Equity Issues in Title 1 Schoolwide Program Implementation 57 (Kenneth K. Wong & Margaret C. Wang, eds., Information Age Pub., 2002) Francis Shen

Journal Articles

  • Red States, Blue States, and Brain States Issue Framing, Partisanship, and the Future of Neurolaw in the United States, 658 The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 86 (2015) Francis Shen and Dena M. Gromet
  • Reassessing American Casualty Sensitivity: The Mediating Influence of Inequality, 58 Journal of Conflict Resolution 1174 (2014) Francis Shen and Douglas L. Kriner
  • Sentencing Enhancement and the Crime Victim’s Brain, 46 Loyola University Chicago Law Journal 405 (2014) Francis Shen
    | SSRN
  • The Language of Mens Rea, 67 Vanderbilt Law Review 1327 (2014) Matthew R. Ginther, Francis Shen, Richard J. Bonnie, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Rene Marois and Kenneth W. Simons
    | SSRN
  • Legislating Neuroscience: The Case of Juvenile Justice, 46 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 985 (2013) Francis Shen
  • Mind, Body, and the Criminal Law, 98 Minnesota Law Review 2036 (2013) Francis Shen
    | SSRN
  • Neuroscience, Mental Privacy, and the Law, 36 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 653 (2013) Francis Shen
    | SSRN
  • Rape, Money, and the Psychology of Taboo, 43 Journal of Applied Social Psychology 1015 (2013) Francis Shen
  • Community Support for Mayoral Control of Urban School Districts: A Critical Reexamination, 44 Education and Urban Society 342 (2012) Francis Shen
  • How Citizens Respond to Combat Casualties: The Differential Impact of Local Casualties on Support for the War in Afghanistan, 76 Public Opinion Quarterly 761 (2012) Douglas L. Kriner and Francis Shen
  • Brain Scans as Evidence: Truths, Proofs, Lies, and Lessons, 62 Mercer Law Review 861 (2011) (Symposium issue: Brain Sciences in the Courtroom) Francis Shen and Owen D. Jones
    | SSRN
  • How We Still Fail Rape Victims: Reflecting on Responsibility and Legal Reform, 22 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 1 (2011) Francis Shen
    | SSRN
  • Law and Neuroscience: Possibilities For Prosecutors, 33 CDAA Prosecutor’s Brief 17 (2011) (invited essay) Francis Shen
  • Sorting Guilty Minds, 86 New York University Law Review 1306 (2011) Francis Shen, Morris B. Hoffman, Owen D. Jones, Joshua D. Greene and Rene Marois
    | SSRN
  • The Law and Neuroscience Bibliography: Navigating the Emerging Field of Neurolaw, 38 International Journal of Legal Information 352 (2010) Francis Shen
    | SSRN
  • The Overlooked Utility of the Defendant Class Action, 88 Denver University Law Review 73 (2010) Francis Shen
  • Limited War and American Political Engagement, 71 Journal of Politics 1514 (2009) Douglas L. Kriner and Francis Shen
  • Iraq Casualties and the 2006 Senate Elections, 32 Legislative Studies Quarterly 507 (2007) Douglas L. Kriner and Francis Shen
  • Measuring the Effectiveness of City and State Takeover as a School Reform Strategy, 78:4 Peabody Journal of Education 89 (2003) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Big City Mayors And School Governance Reform: The Case of School District Takeover, 78:1 Peabody Journal of Education 5 (2003) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Politics of State-Led Reform in Education: Market Competition and Electoral Dynamics, 16 Educational Policy 161 (2002) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen

Editorials, Commentary & Letters

  • For Better Minneapolis Schools, Embrace Mayoral Control, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sept. 18, 2013 Francis Shen
  • America’s “Casualty Gap”, Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2010, at A25 (op-ed) Douglas L. Kriner and Francis Shen
  • Baseball’s What We Need, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct. 26, 2004, at C15 (op-ed) Francis Shen
  • No Clear Picture Of Charter Schools, San Diego Union-Tribune, July 8, 2001 (op-ed) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Lessons From State’s Charter Schools, Grand Rapids Press, June 22, 2001, at A7 (op-ed) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen

Other Publications

  • Keeping Up with Neurolaw: What to Know and Where to Look, 50 Court Review 104 (2014) Francis Shen
  • Mayors Can Be “Prime Movers” of Urban School Improvement, 29:7 Education Week S11 (Oct. 14, 2009) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Assessing Charter School Performance in Illinois: A Pilot Study Using Error-Band Analysis (National Center on School Choice Working Paper, 2007) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • An Evaluation Of Intradistrict Equity In Massachusetts (Pioneer Institute for Public Policy, 2003) (Research Brief) Martin R. West and Francis Shen
  • Does School District Takeover Work? Assessing the Effectiveness of City and State Takeover as a School Reform Strategy, The State Education Standard 19 (Spr. 2002) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Can School District Takeover Work? Assessing The Effectiveness Of City And State Takeover As A School Reform Strategy, ERIC/CUE Digest EDO-UD-02-3 (2002) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen
  • Rethinking the Fiscal Role of the States in Public Education, 17:5 Government Finance Review 8 (Oct. 2001) Kenneth K. Wong and Francis Shen

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-1000

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