First Year Courses - Educational Studies Skip Navigation

Educational Studies (EDUC)

Chair: M. Stern

The Department of Educational Studies offers two distinct undergraduate programs: (1) a major or minor in educational studies and (2) a preparation program for students intending to teach at either the elementary or secondary level. Both programs have a social justice focus.

The department also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program for students preparing to teach at the secondary level. Given these programs, the department offers a comprehensive study of formal and informal educational institutions and practices, and the ways they are affected by social forces. Interdisciplinary by design, classes draw on diverse methods of inquiry to analyze critically the historical and contemporary ways that people educate and are educated in the United States and societies across the globe. Theory, research, and practice work together to help students become more informed as consumers and producers of knowledge in a variety of educational contexts. Students learn to ask questions about the relationships between knowledge, power, and identity in educational contexts and to reimagine education and its contribution to a democratic society.

Courses are designed for liberal arts students interested in studying the problems and prospects of education, the nature and function of educational inquiry, the processes and outcomes of educational practice, and the relation of educational institutions to other social institutions. In these courses, students learn about a variety of methodologies and perspectives. In addition, we move students beyond the borders of Colgate by offering them a variety of opportunities to apply the theoretical knowledge they gain through coursework to practical endeavors in local schools and community centers.

In particular, we encourage first-year students to consider taking our introductory course, EDUC 101 (also offered as FSEM 182).

For further details on programs and courses, consult the University Catalogue, our web page, and/or the department chair.  Students interested in entering our elementary and secondary teacher education programs are encouraged to contact the department as soon as possible during their first semester at Colgate. Also note the brief description of our teacher education programs.


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EDUC 101, The American School
An introductory analysis of American education. Readings from varied texts provide exposure to cultural, political, historical, philosophical, and social foundations of schooling, contemporary problems, and the possible future of American education.

FSEM 182, The American School
Faculty Profile for Professor Woolley

The American School: Race, Class, and Educational Inequity

You have done a lot schooling by this point, but do you know why the American School is such a controversial institution? Because schools are a major socializing force, their roles and responsibilities are highly politicized and fraught topics. What makes a school public? Is education a public good? Who gets to decide what is taught? Are schools responsible for correcting or managing inequalities? What economic and structural arrangements are fair in education? What kinds of pedagogical practices should be used in classrooms? This course looks at the American School as a historical and contemporary institution central to social values and processes of citizenship, equality, achievement, power, fairness, access, and opportunity. We will ask what it means to school and be schooled within a democracy, examining the role that differences of class, race, gender, sexuality, ability, religion, and politics play within educational systems. We will discuss how these differences are created, maintained, and challenged within schools, and how schools both contribute to and mitigate structural inequalities. In doing so, you’ll be asked to examine your own schooling experiences and your identity as a student. How have you been schooled? Students are evaluated through a range of written, collaborative, and multimedia assignments. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for EDUC 101 and satisfy one half of the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry requirement.

Professor Woolley teaches in Educational Studies and LGBTQ Studies, and she is the interim director of Women's Studies. Her scholarship focused on gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ topics in schools.