Educational Foundations and Policy

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Studies

Bob Bain, Pamela Moss, and Camille Wilson

Educational Foundations and Policy faculty members

The Educational Foundations and Policy (EFP) concentration engages a diverse community of doctoral students and faculty members in reimagining education as central to transformation, in order to create more inclusive and just societies. Students participate in a trans-disciplinary course of study that integrates philosophical, historical, sociological, cultural, anthropological, organizational, political, and psychological perspectives. Within this course of study, students examine diversity, structured inequality, and equity as matters central to the past, present, and future of education. Students also examine how researchers, policy makers, leaders, and reformers can collaborate with practicing educators to transform schools and society. The foundation for this work is preparation in multiple, complementary theoretical and methodological traditions that support both critical and practical educational research and scholarship.

Human diversity encompasses differences related to individuals' and groups' experiences, meaning making, and identities; and thus, their learning assets, needs, opportunities, and challenges. The importance of educators and other professionals appreciating, responding to, and learning from diversity in a way that fosters educational equity is stressed. Equity encompasses the provision of high quality education to all students. Part of doing equity-oriented work entails our doctoral students developing a sophisticated understanding of extant social and structured inequalities, and the historical processes that created them. Emphasis, therefore, is placed on students not only understanding inequality in terms of educational outcomes, but also understanding how inequality can be structured into sense-making, relationships, and systems, and how such inequities can be inadvertently reproduced or intentionally challenged and overcome via educational practices, policies, discourses, and approaches to inquiry.

Examining the interplay, then, among policy, practice, inquiry, public discourse and educational reform is central to students' preparation. Working within a wide array of methodological traditions, faculty members facilitate students' efforts to engage in a critical analysis of educational issues by, in part, considering power differentials, relationships, sociocultural contexts and outcomes, and issues of privilege, marginalization, and agency. Students are also encouraged to critically explore educational issues across micro, meso, and macro contexts, and in local, national, and international settings. They are further motivated to explore transformative possibilities for change and develop specific recommendations for educational improvement.

The EFP concentration is housed within the Educational Studies program, which fosters links among students and faculty in the School of Education and throughout the University. The concentration offers students flexibility in planning their doctoral study and supports transdisciplinary learning by prompting them to also take University courses outside of education. Thus, our students can be found taking relevant courses in places like the Business School, the Ford School of Public Policy, the School of Social Work, the Institute for Social Research; also, in the philosophy, history, political science, sociology, anthropology, Afroamerican and African Studies departments; and, in Latina/o Studies and other programs.

Our doctoral students attend the University full-time and work closely with academic advisers. They are typically engaged in research projects with other students and faculty members. Faculty advisers assist students in planning their doctoral studies and mentor them in ways that encourage academic success, meaningful and enjoyable engagement in the School and University communities, professional growth, and overall well-being.

Students in the EFP concentration thus participate in an intellectually, culturally, and professionally diverse community, the members of which collaborate to bring multiple perspectives, domains of expertise, and action repertoires to bear on advancing knowledge, improving practice, and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Plan of Study

Course planning sheets outline the School of Education course requirements. 

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610 E. University Avenue, Room 4218
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259

Phone: 734.763.9497

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