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Year Three (PhD)

The PhD path focuses more on research and theory. Students explore the political economy of American urban education and the relationship between educational policy and the law. In addition to the required courses, students will take 1 elective and be expected to complete and defend their dissertation proposal.

Required courses

The dissertation seminars are designed to support students while working on their dissertations. Questions, dilemmas, conflicts, tensions related with the topic, design and delimitations of the study, the review of literature, and of organization will be addressed in these seminars.  Topics such as how to conceptualize a particular problem, how to define and clarify both the objectives and the object and limitations of the study,  how to analyze, conceptualize, assess, evaluate, select, use and present critically data will be presented and discussed in a seminar format in order to help students progress as closely as possible on schedule. As part of these seminars, students will learn how to submit the documentation necessary for IRB approval, write, submit for approval and defend a dissertation proposal and then proceed to  conduct the study, complete the analysis,  work with his/her committee and finally submit and successfully defend a written thesis. The seminars are complementary to the work to be done with the student’s Dissertation Committee and its Chair. It is also designed to provide guidance and individualized support within a given structure and schedule to provide students with the opportunity to progress at their own pace.

A continuation of Dissertation Seminar I. 

This seminar has been designed to analyze and debate issues emanating from the interaction of global challenges and local needs and their impact in education leadership and policy. Students will discuss how globalization is not a monolithic process and needs to be understood as a set of globalization processes of particular localities. In so doing students will unveil different forms of globalization (from the top and from below) and how local challenges have been determining different approaches towards schools. Issues such as the nationalization and internationalization of standards as well as the autonomy and interdependence of schools will be discussed with examples from real life situations.

This colloquium will provide a forum to explore the links between language ideology, language planning and inequality in the United States.  Students and faculty will examine examples of successful efforts to use language policies in education to assert the rights of linguistic minorities in the United States and abroad.  Case studies may be international in scope and may include cutting-edge analyses of important language policy debates relevant to us in the United States.

In this course students will explore how power relations between different economic, political, and social groups shape educational policy and practice. Utilizing historical and sociological perspectives, topics in political science, economics, theories of justice, and the roles of government and their relation with educational policy will be highlighted. Specific topics discussed include the economic value of education, education as an allocator of economic roles, education and social class, education and income distribution, and education and discrimination, education and demographics, diversity, new forms of government, unemployment, and inequality.

In this course students will analyze how to measure the effect of a program. They will learn about multi-methods approaches (ethnographic methods; case studies; experimental and quasi-experimental) and about some new econometric methods. Students will be able to understand an evaluation study in great detail and form a well-grounded critical judgment about its value. Complemented with appropriate technical background or assistance, they will learn how to design, develop, and implement an evaluation study best suited for a program and the practical constraints at hand.

Advanced seminar electives

This seminar is designed to help students analyze and understand the relation edified by the legal and economic apparatuses and educational policies aimed at dealing with disenfranchised segments of American Society such as linguistic and ethnic minorities, women, and students with learning and physical disabilities. In this seminar students will review the constitutional and statutory provisions of federal and state law and the judicial decisions interpreting those laws, the costs implicated in it, and how these have translated into actual practice.  Emphasis will be placed on how educating these groups impact current expectations for school improvement and how assessment tools and practices may be used in ways that may ameliorate or further inequities for members of these groups. The seminar takes a critical view of the knowledge economy, and human and intellectual capital policy development in educational institutions.

In this seminar students will deepen their study of the origin, nature and consequences of educational reform in the United States with a special focus on the movement towards increased accountability and development of national standards in education and professional preparation.  Emphasis will be given to exploring current reform efforts, trends and policies and in imagining what is or should be happening next. Throughout seminar students will also review how leadership in education has evolved and where it might be headed.

In this seminar students will learn about what is critical theory in education, how it has evolved and its impact on curriculum theory and educational thought. Current issues and trends in the field will be examined. Special attention will be paid to the interface between critical frameworks and post/structural approaches.  In this seminar students will be able to explore designing research projects on educational issues using the critical theory framework analysis and methodology.

This seminar examines globalization as a web of multifarious forms underpinning global, local and regional institutions and regimes allowing space for transnational politics and policies. Students will be confronted with state of the art analyses involving several forms of globalization and examine how democracies have been a fundamental ideological, political, economic and cultural currency of social legitimation. The course will emphasize the relations and tensions between neo-liberal forms of globalization and globalization from below strategies and the impact of such tensions in democracy and social justice. We will explore issues such as social and cognitive justice, economic justice, cultural justice and how these impact education policy and practice.

In this seminar students will review how educational institutions strive to develop educational opportunity for life chances and emancipation of individuals and communities through knowledge creation, intercultural development and civic engagement. Throughout the seminar students will master the ideological, economic, and cultural assumptions underpinning the tensions of education and citizenship and the tensions of education and work and their impact on educational policy. In this seminar they will also explore the notions of education for economic development, education for national defense and security; education for redistribution of wealth, and education for participatory democracy.

In this seminar students will examine how the western ideological underpinnings of mainstream approaches to nation‐building are reshaping indigenous communities, and how indigenous peoples are facing renewed pressures and unforeseen threats from western culture. This course brings to the fore the importance of other methodological approaches besides the traditional dominant research forms. Students will learn that research on indigenous people naturally challenges existing paradigms, yet it also affords opportunities to contribute to the body of knowledge about indigenous peoples. In this seminar students will also examine the differences between research done within an indigenous context using Western methodologies and research done using indigenous methodologies which integrates indigenous voices.

In this seminar students will examine the role(s) that the goal of eliminating the minority achievement gap has had throughout the ages in eliciting change and reform in contemporary American Education. Students will also examine how this goal continues to be used to promote data driven planning and accountability as well as a shift from the idea of an equal opportunity to an equal achievement outcome based on minimums rather than excellence. Students will critically reflect on whether the focus on the minority achievement gap is still useful or whether a new paradigm shift is needed or is taking place in American schools, particularly that of  benchmarking ourselves against other countries performance on educational efficacy to maintain or improve our international competitiveness and strategic advantages.

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