Our program in curriculum studies takes a broad, philosophical approach to understanding curriculum in all its dimensions, while applying theory to practice. Curriculum development is a theoretically informed practical and dialogic activity. We encourage a process in which educators seek the most defensible course of action in specific circumstances; this requires a thorough understanding of the sociocultural and political context of the circumstances, knowledge of a variety of approaches worth considering, and the analytical ability to think critically about broader purposes and consequences. We consider educators to be not only classroom teachers, but others in a variety of positions where they interact with students (including in higher education, community organizations, etc.) The curriculum in this program has a theoretical base so that educators become knowledgeable about different ways of thinking about curricular issues, and so they can draw on a variety of theoretical lenses when analyzing options and creating alternatives. Educational environments, especially urban educational environments, are complex; creating viable options within them requires a rich knowledge base and the ability to think conceptually about issues. Our program aims to strengthen these areas of student expertise.
As our students engage in collaborative curriculum deliberation in the program, they engage with a community of learners (their peers in the program, the faculty, and others) and draw from the experiences of colleagues in the Chicago area, including those in urban, suburban, and rural schools, and other educational settings or initiatives including those outside of formal school settings. Our program reflects an educator-scholar model where practice and theory are recognized as being integrally related and necessary for promoting socially just educational programs. The program does not focus explicitly on particular areas of curriculum (e.g, science education, literacy), but enables students to use the conceptual ideas in the field of curriculum to guide decision-making processes and to think more critically about how educators organize their work for instructional purposes, often within more specialized curricular areas. Students bring their particular areas of curricular interest and experience to the program, thus creating a rich cross-disciplinary basis for class discussions, and often, a focus for research.
Students in this concentration come from a wide variety of backgrounds, some from formal school settings, others from community-based educational initiatives, and some from within university and college settings. Graduates from the program, similarly, work in a wide range of institutional settings as teachers and professors, curriculum specialists, program developers, to name just a few of the possibilities.
Doctor of Education (Ed.D) 76 quarter hours
8 quarter hours of dissertation research
Doctoral dissertation and oral defense