Educational Studies is an interdisciplinary field that employs qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methodologies to examine and address educational research, policy, theory, pedagogy, and related practices. Students who pursue course work in Educational Studies develop richly informed perspectives on the role of education in society. They go on to become leaders in a wide-range of fields: discipline-based research in higher education (e.g., anthropology, English, linguistics, psychology, sociology, math education, science education, computer science); museums and out-of-school learning, general education including teaching, school leadership and policy; community organization and development; clinical psychology, counseling, English as a second language, evaluation research, special education, social work; medicine; and law.
Students hone their research skills in upper-level courses, and, during the summer, they can apply for support to pursue further training through work on a professor’s project, or their own research interests. Experiences of this type provide students with a rich base from which to investigate their thesis questions as seniors at the College.
The Department of Educational Studies at Swarthmore College is committed to anti-racism, social justice, and sustainability in the pursuit of liberation for all people. We believe children and youth deserve educational environments where they can experience joy as learners and thrive. Our mission exists in partnership with broader global struggles against anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant policy and practice, as well as structural racism and other intersecting systems of oppression. As a community of students, faculty, and staff, we aim to be reflective, innovative and collaborative in how we contribute to a more just and equitable world. Our goals reflect this mission.
In an era of anti-racist and anti-oppressive movements, students and faculty in Educational Studies at Swarthmore use research, theoretical frameworks and pedagogical practices from a range of disciplines to explore and question. We are committed to helping our students become critical practitioners, researchers, and/or policy makers who are positioned to create, and advocate for, caring and inclusive communities of learning both at Swarthmore and in the larger communities in which we work.
Our scholarship and practice
Faculty members in the department conduct engaged scholarship: research and practice that is grounded in partnerships with schools, practitioners, and communities, in suburban and urban settings that range from classrooms to community programs. Students often contribute as research assistants and collaborators. Some recent examples of faculty projects on which students have assisted include:
- identifying effective curricular support for bilingual and multilingual classrooms [Elaine Allard]
- exploring the reciprocal teaching and learning of literacies and identities in local communities [Diane Anderson]
- supporting agency in students and teachers working for racial justice [Jennifer Bradley]
- urban school and neighborhood partnerships, youth-led research and sanctuary-focused action for social change, a K-16 critical racial/ethnic studies curricular database, and sustaining an online journal of Critical Education Policy Studies (#CritEdPol) [Edwin Mayorga]
- tracking positive educational pathways for black boys [Joseph Nelson]
- examining the intersection of racism and ableism in educational policies and teacher education [Jennifer Phuong]
- promoting and assessing middle school students’ development of conceptual understanding, equity, and executive functions through collaborative work in mathematics [Ann Renninger]
- promoting teacher leadership [Lisa Smulyan]