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Cultural Foundations

CONTACT INFORMATION

Dr. Natasha Levinson
Coordinator

Cultural Foundations of Education

nlevinso@kent.edu

Dr. Vilma Seeberg
Associate Professor

Cultural Foundations of Education

vseeberg@kent.edu

 

Video: Why Cultural Foundations? 

Students talk about why they chose the Cultural Foundations program.

Overview
The field of cultural foundations of education understands education to be a broad and complex undertaking that is best understood through the lenses of a range of disciplines and fields of study.  Our program brings the "foundational" disciplines of philosophy, history, sociology and anthropology together with various established and emergent fields of study (i.e. Comparative/international education, globalization studies, religious studies, critical theory, deliberative democracy) to bear on the study of education at all levels, in multiple locations, both within and beyond formal schooling.  Our students explore education from normative, interpretive and critical perspectives with a view to discerning the transformative potential of education in contexts characterized by unequal access to both the political process and educational institutions. 

Our faculty specializes in the normative and critical dimensions of education, including the challenges of educating for equality in conditions of social and educational inequality, efforts to address the marginalization of girls and women in many societies via the transformative potential of schooling, teacher mobilization and empowerment in the context of the contemporary school reform movement, the challenges of education for religious pluralism in public and parochial settings, and place-based education in the rural U.S. We also explore issues of identity formation and transformation in relation to education, with a particular focus on narratives of academic success amongst African-American students, religious identity formation and transformation in pluralistic contexts, and teacher identity and agency. While many of our students are drawn to our program because of the particular expertise of faculty, we also attract students with academic foci that do not mirror our faculty expertise, but appreciate the field's ability to cross disciplinary boundaries and our program's ability to wrap around our students' individual interests.  Student interests in this vein range from eco-justice approaches to environmental education, to considerations of the spiritual dimensions of education (in school as well as military settings), entrepreneurship in education and the ethical dimensions of sexuality education. Most of our students are already engaged in satisfying work but plan to use their advanced degree in the Cultural Foundations to open up new opportunities for themselves within their current setting or to move their organizations and institutions in new directions. Others see an advanced degree in the Cultural Foundations as a route to self-formation and transformation that will open up new avenues in their professional lives while contributing also to their communities. In short, our students seek to bring a scholarly orientation to their educational, activist and entrepreneurial  endeavors. 


Graduate

Graduates of the M. A. program will have the knowledge and skills to critique and interpret educational theories, programs and practices, and to promote innovation in education, whether in the private, public, formal, nonformal or informal setting institutional settings and social contexts. The M.A. program has a thesis component which is tailored to individual research interests.

Graduates of the M.Ed. program will have the knowledge and skills to critique and interpret policy and practice, and to promote innovative practices in educational settings and agencies.

 

Ph.D.
Graduates of the Ph.D. program will have the knowledge, critical understandings and interpretive skills to analyze and assess educational policies, theories and practice, and to lead and promote innovation in education, whether in academia or private, public, formal, nonformal or informal settings social contexts, and agencies.

Recent Master’s and Doctoral graduates have enjoyed success in positions in foundations and think-tanks, non-governmental organizations, public and government agencies, K-12 school systems, and higher education, both nationally and internationally.