Elizabeth G. Cohen (1932–2005) was professor emerita of education and sociology at Stanford University. She carried out research on improving competence expectations of low-status youth. Her work began in the laboratory, but extended to desegregated and multilingual schools. She wrote widely on the subjects of cooperative learning, team teaching, the isolation of the teacher, and collegial evaluation.
From 1982 and until her retirement in 1999, Elizabeth Cohen directed the Program for Complex Instruction. Convinced that sociological theories have meaning for education, she worked successfully with hundreds of elementary and middle school teachers in implementing activity-based classrooms for academically, ethnically, and linguistically heterogeneous populations.