Examination of the federal role in K-12 education policy over the course of the 20th century and its impact on states and districts.
A broad analysis of education using basic sociological concepts, including schools as organizations, socialization, stratification, and ethnic relations.
This course encourages students to think critically about the social, economic and political context of urban education. Topics include housing policies, gentrification, racial and socio-economic segregation, school closures, privatization and school choice
An examination of the link between education and social inequality in Western societies, questioning whether schools are a mechanism of social mobility, enabling poor and disadvantaged children to get ahead in life, or whether schools perpetuate the hardships faced by poor and minority populations. Topics include the importance of quantity and quality of schooling for adult success; the ways in which race/ethnicity, sex, and social class background structure students educational experiences; the role of tracking and ability grouping within schools; and the link between schooling and the economy.
An examination of sociological research on the structure and operation of classrooms. Particular attention to the processes of stratification, socialization, legitimation, and social organization.
Sociologists define the life course of individuals by when, and in what order, people assume key social roles, such as becoming an adult or moving from the workforce to retirement. This course looks at the sociology of the life course. Focusing on how historical and societal factors combine with the personal characteristics of individuals to produce unique life course patterns.
An examination of sociological research on the structure and operation of schools. Particular attention to the processes of socialization, stratification, and legitimation as well as social organization and the sociology of school curriculum.
Introduction to concepts, theories, and research in the sociology of organizations and the related interdisciplinary field of organization studies, as they apply to schools and other organizational settings in education. Topics covered will include internal organizational dynamics, organizations and their environments, organizations as contexts for human identity and agency, and organizational learning and improvement.
This course provides a basic introduction to the sociology of organizations and then places organization theory in conversation with the sociological literature on race, diversity, and equity to address the question of how schools can be organized to be humane, effective, equitable, and just contexts for adults (teachers, administrators, etc.) and students who are diverse, and often marginalized, along characteristics such as race/ethnicity, social class, gender identity and sexual orientation, culture and religion, language, indigenous or immigration status, residential mobility and homelessness, and dis/ability.
Permission required. Intensive readings and discussions of basic literature in sociology of education, with attention to common issues and research strategies.
This course covers four broad topics of interest to sociologists of education, as well as to other education practitioners, researchers, and policy makers: (1) how the occupations of teaching and leadership are socially organized within schools and school systems; (2) how the work of teaching and leadership in schools and school systems is affected by, and in turn affects, social forces in the larger social environment; (3) the social dynamics of diversity in teaching and leadership; and (4) the impact of teachers and leaders on school outcomes. The course will explore how the knowledge base about the sociology of teaching and leadership has evolved – how the research questions have changed over time, what the body of theory and empirical evidence looks like, including the methods used to study teaching and leadership, and what the cutting-edge knowledge frontiers are.
Relationship between research problem and study design, choice of population, sampling methods, instrument construction, interviewing, data processing, and analysis.
Analysis of local and national education systems through application of sociological perspectives and organization theory, with special attention to problems of equity, effectiveness, and the embeddedness of education systems in their larger contexts.
The sociology of knowledge analyzes the process by which "reality" becomes constructed within a social context. With a focus on education and social welfare policies, this class will explore the "reality" of public policies with real material consequences and how this reality has been constructed around a set of assumptions defining the "problems" that need to be solved. This course helps students step back from a focus on "implementing" educational reform and examine instead how such a reform movement became the focus.
This course examines how racial discrimination in American education intersects with gender norms and stereotypes in ways that shape everyday school life, particularly how educational policies at the school, district, and federal level either perpetuate or transform these dynamic intersections. After exploring personal histories of race, gender, and schooling through memoir, the course begins with a theoretical and conceptual overview of race, gender, and sex, and the history of race and patriarchy in the U.S. context. Popular culture and discourse, as well as key issues and debates in the field are taken up thereafter, with a focus on race and gender equality/access in urban school settings, and gender dynamics in relation to racial bias, class privilege, and sexuality (e.g., LGBTQIA issues). The goal of the course is to reconsider what constitutes effective schooling for all students across social and cultural contexts.
This course is designed to assist students in conceptualizing and designing research projects – for Master’s Theses or Doctoral Dissertations – that examine, interrogate and evaluate public policies in the fields of education and social welfare through methodological approaches we commonly think of as qualitative. The curriculum emphasizes the benefits and limitations of qualitative methods for studying particular policy issues and programs with the goal of defining when a qualitative approach is most helpful. We will explore qualitative case studies as a research design as well as several different data collection methods employed by qualitative researchers, including interviews, observations, ethnography, and document analysis. The class also addresses what sort of research questions can best be answered through qualitative data collection, and how qualitative researchers can frame their inquiry in a manner that speaks to public policy debates and issues. Furthermore, the course will require students to appreciate the significance and meaning of a more contextual approach to education policy analysis. This course, therefore, fulfills the qualitative research methods requirement for the Sociology and Education Program and other programs across the EPSA Department.
As interest in multi-method and mixed methods research continues to mushroom in the field of education, this 3-credit advanced methods course enables students with a foundation in both quantitative and qualitative methods to design and evaluate mixed methods studies. Moving beyond the traditional paradigms of quantitative versus qualitative approaches, we will dive into current advancements, issues, and debates surrounding mixed methods as an emergent third research community. As a class we will explore together the following: What are the underlying philosophical underpinnings and epistemological aims of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research, respectively? What is the rational for utilizing quantitative and qualitative approaches together in a single study? What does and does not constitute a mixed study? How do researchers make and validate meta inferences from combined quantitative and qualitative data? What are important decisions to be made in mixed methods design, sampling, data collection, and analysis? When does mixing, or integration, of the data occur? What are future directions for mixed methods in the field of education research? If you have not completed both an introductory quantitative methods course and an introductory qualitative methods course, it is recommended that you consult the instructor to assess whether you have the appropriate foundational knowledge that the course anticipates. All students from different disciplinary backgrounds with an array of research interests are welcome.
This class is an introduction to classical sociological theory. The epistemological foundations of sociological inquiry as well as its core concepts and methods will be examined. Problems and concepts to be covered will include alienation, class, legitimation, power, anomie, exploitation, culture, ideology, development, and individuation. The texts to be examined will be mainly from the three ‘founders’ of sociology: Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. In addition, theorists who worked within the classical sociological tradition and who have played a significant role in shaping contemporary social theory will also be studied; such theorists may include: Friedrich Engels, Marcel Mauss, George Simmel, Sigmund Freud, and Norbert Elias.
This class will examine how the classical works of Weber, Durkheim and Marx have been augmented and revised by contemporary social thinkers. The readings will cover the American traditions of functionalism, pragmatism, and behaviorism as well as competing traditions such as neo-Marxism, structuralism, and discourse analysis. The readings will also address substantive issues such as globalization, digitization, consumerism, suburbanization, identity politics, racial formation theory and social control. The class will give students a broad overview of contemporary social theory as well as an understanding of how theory has addressed current social problems.
An introduction to the evaluation of social and educational programs. Topics include evaluation to inform program conceptualization and design; measuring program implementation; impact assessment, including randomized experiments; cost-effectiveness analysis; and the social and political context of program evaluation.
Students wishing to complete a master's integrative project instead of taking the master's exam will design a study, provide a relevant literature review of theory and research, collect and analyze data, and write a comprehensive report of their work.
Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in catalog on Registration for Ed.D./Ph.D. degrees.