The Department of Education emphasizes the study of education as a social institution and analysis of teaching and learning in interdisciplinary terms. The Educational Studies major is designed for students who wish to prepare for a career in education in elementary or secondary schools, or in the broader community. The curriculum introduces students to learning theory and the social foundations of education, and it allows for experiential learning in the field. This study fits well into a broader liberal arts education and allows time for students to complete a major in an additional field of study, for example, in an area of interest or the discipline one intends to teach. The Educational Studies major does not lead directly to licensure; however, faculty in the Department of Education assist students in creating individually designed plans for obtaining licensure after graduation through a range of graduate and other programs.
- Students will develop competence in academic “tools of inquiry” to sustain their own intellectual and social growth (writing; oral communication; analysis, synthesis, critique).
- Students will learn theoretical foundations of teaching and learning and to apply them in relation to the processes and content of teaching.
- Students will learn theoretical and social foundations of education and to apply them to policy in a diverse, democratic society.
- Students will reflect upon their growth as liberally educated individuals throughout their years of study and experiences in the field of education.
The mission of the Denison University Department of Education is to provide a foundation for:
- thinking critically about teaching and learning in the context of contemporary society;
- critical analysis of important educational issues in our society. The department is committed to developing in students an appreciation of the power of learning to transform people and society, in the sense that individuals have the potential for constant growth and in the sense that education can be a force toward improvement in the life of the community and society at large.
- careers or service in education, for teaching and other leadership in schools or working in non-school settings such as social work, counseling, nonprofit organizations, educational publishing, leadership development, and business-related teaching.
We see ourselves acting in concert with the Denison University mission statement that emphasizes autonomous thought, moral agency, and active citizenship for all Denison students. Each student in the college, and therefore also in the Department of Education, is to become informed broadly by the liberal arts, grounded in one or more chosen disciplines, and capable of thinking across disciplines. The department’s focus on active learning and engagement in the liberal arts grows out of a profound belief in the transformative power of education.
The program emphasizes the development of habits associated with praxis, a concept in which reflection grows out of experience and is prelude and catalyst to action, particularly action that shares power and challenges injustice. Toward this end, we explore the strengths of human diversity as represented in the various facets of our identities: ethnicity, race, culture, language, religion, socio-economic location, ability, sexuality, and gender identity. Our purpose is that our graduates continue to develop powers of analysis concerning both the individual learner and the many institutions within which education takes place. Our commitment is to thinking and acting ethically concerning social equality, educational equity, justice, freedom of thought, peacemaking, and fair distribution of resources and opportunities.
Educational Studies students will have multiple opportunities to communicate original thinking through writing, to explore various genres, and to address diverse audiences through course assignments. Students will learn how to develop a focused, well-supported essay. Also, they will acquire the skills to blend written language with other modes to communicate a message, and how to navigate various formatting guidelines informing the field of education. During their senior year, students will reflect upon a collection of essays they have produced in previous courses through a capstone, portfolio project. The project invites them to assess the themes, areas of growth and quality, and to witness their engagement in writing as a process.
Educational Studies students are encouraged to consider taking a semester off-campus. This option allows for comparative study of education and often, extended apprenticeships in schools. Educational Studies students have studied, for instance, in Chile, England, Denmark, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and The Philadelphia Center. In addition, students can take advantage of applying for our recently launched collaborative learning initiative with Turku University, Finland.