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Ph.D. Program in Foundations of Education
Department of Foundations of Education
College of Education
The University of Toledo
Approved by the Graduate Council, Fall 2005
College of Education Philosophy
The following vision statement guides the College of Education at the University of Toledo: “Individuals at the center of their own learning within a rich intellectual environment characterized by choice.” This vision is understood to require a shift to a “learning paradigm”:
The intent of the College of Education is to provide learning opportunities that place individuals at the center of their own learning. To achieve this, the College provides students with rich intellectual learning experiences characterized by choice.
The phrase “individuals at the center of their own learning” signifies a shift in orientation toward a learning-centered educational philosophy – a shift from an instructional to a learning paradigm. At the core of this shift is a movement away from understanding education as the delivery of instruction to conceiving it as the production or facilitation of student learning. The former focuses on inputs, the latter on outcomes. In the learning paradigm the central educational practice is the construction of learning environments within which students can grow and learn. Rather than the education being primarily conceived as the delivery of instruction, the learning paradigm conceives it as the facilitation of student learning and growth. (See link to Strategic Plan at http://education.utoledo.edu/home.asp)
An Inquiry-Based Model
The Ph.D. Program is devoted to the study of the Foundations of Education, defined as the:
- Exploration of the philosophical, historical, sociological, and psychological phenomena and principles that shape educational ideas, practices, and problems;
- Development of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, applied statistics, measurement, and program evaluation;
- and Application of the understanding of these phenomena and principles and methods of inquiry in educational and other human service activities.
The study of Foundations of Education is based upon various academic disciplines, including: history, philosophy, developmental and cognitive psychology, research and measurement, and sociology.
The Program is concerned with the essential importance of foundational understanding for teachers and other professionals. We endorse reflective practice and affirm that an understanding of social-cultural and psychological phenomena and knowledge of methods of research and assessment inform reflection. This knowledge enhances the interpretive, evaluative, and decision-making capacities of educators and other professionals.
The Program is grounded in the philosophy of the College of Education. At the doctoral level of study this orientation is implemented in terms of an inquiry-based model of graduate education. The program is organized in terms of a thematic, research question-based approach. The driving force of doctoral study in this model is a set of research questions determined by the student in consultation with the doctoral advisor and committee. These research questions are explored in the Foundations Professional Seminar, supervised research experiences, and in dialogue with the advisor and doctoral committee as well as other program faculty. The student’s plan of study, comprehensive exam, and dissertation are structured in terms of the student’s research questions and interests. This approach places the student at the center of their own learning in the context of an intellectual environment comprised of inquiry, discovery, and discourse. In this model the research interests of the student in concert with faculty expertise drive doctoral study. The process is illustrated below:
Program Hours (post-masters)
10 hrs. (Minimum)
The Ph.D. program in Foundations of Education offers concentrations in:
Educational Research & Measurement
Philosophy of Education
History of Education
Foundations of Education
The Educational Psychology concentration in the Department of Foundations of Education at The University of Toledo offers MA and Ph.D. degrees in Educational Psychology. Educational psychology is devoted to the study of the psychological dimensions of education, teaching, learning, and human development.
The Educational Psychology Program offers two areas of specialization:
- Human Development. Human development concerns the study of developmental age trends; the causes and consequences of individual differences in cognitive, social, and emotional development; and the unfolding of human development in various cultural contexts, including the development of cultural identity.
- Learning and Cognitive Science. Learning and cognitive science explores student learning as well as complex cognitive processes and their impact in educational contexts. This area also considers the impact of affective and cultural influences, including motivation, on cognitive processing.
The following questions constitute broad categories of inquiry that frame the inquiry-based model of graduate education in Educational Psychology:
- What is the nature of learning?
- What is the relationship between motivation and learning?
- What is the impact of social and cultural factors on learning?
- What is the relationship between affect and cognition?
- What is the nature of human development?
- What constitutes development through the life cycle?
- What is the impact of social and cultural forces on human development?
- What is the impact of the knowledge of learning and human development on educational theory, policy, and practice?
Each area of specialization incorporates the most recent trends in psychology with
implications and applications for education and other social
service settings. Graduates of the program find employment in university teaching
and research, government agencies, and business.
Educational Research and Measurement
The Research and Measurement concentration in the Department of Foundations of Education
at The University of Toledo offers MA and Ph.D. degrees in
Educational Research and Measurement with specializations in measurement, program
evaluation, qualitative research methods, and statistics.
The central focus of the concentration is applied research with emphasis in one or more of the following areas:
- Measurement provides students with fundamentals necessary for the development of applied and theoretical research, including the construction of assessment instruments, evaluation of instrument performance, exploration of outcomes, and tools for application and presentation. Modern (Rasch), classical (Thurstone) and traditional measurement techniques are included.
- Program evaluation concentrates on performance assessment, cost-benefit analyses, and qualitative and quasi-experimental designs related to the evaluation of educational programs.
- Qualitative Research provides students with fundamental methods of participant-observation, field notes, interviewing, and transcription, and models of qualitative research, including the their history and theoretical underpinnings, theoretical frameworks and research design; managing, analyzing and interpreting data; collaboration between researcher and researched; using computers in analysis.
- Statistics provides instruction in traditional statistical methods, research design, and applications. Specialization in advanced statistical analysis is offered including techniques related to hierarchical linear modeling (HLM), structural equation modeling (SEM), meta-analysis, survey research, and non-parametric statistical methods.
The following questions constitute broad categories of inquiry that frame the inquiry-based model of graduate education in research and measurement:
- What is the nature of objectivity?
- What is the nature of subjectivity?
- What distinguishes a social from a researchable problem?
- How does one identify a research problem?
- How does one select an appropriate method for exploring a research problem?
- How are quantitative and qualitative analysis distinguished as well as related?
- What is the nature of a research paradigm?
- What distinguishes research paradigms?
- What are their underlying assumptions?
- What is the history of quantitative and qualitative methods?
- What attributes are quantifiable?
- What makes an attribute quantifiable?
- What is the meaning of quantified data?
The core goal of the concentration is the development of expertise in the design, execution, and interpretation of applied research, both quantitative and qualitative, and a deep understanding of the theoretical foundations of research and measurement.
Graduates of the concentration are employed in a variety of jobs, both academic and professional, that involve research, measurement, program evaluation, and statistical analysis. There is currently significant demand for individuals with this expertise in university teaching and research, educational institutions, business, and government.
Philosophy, History, Educational Sociology, and Foundations of Education
The Educational Theory and Social Foundations area offers concentrations in the philosophy of education, history of education, educational sociology, and interdisciplinary foundations of education.
Areas of Concentration:
- Philosophy of Education: This concentration seeks to provide students with a rigorous methodological and theoretical
training in philosophical research. The general purposes of the program are to foster
the understanding and development of educational
theory in the context of the broader questions of philosophy and to develop the capacity
to engage in effective discussion of theoretical
problems pertaining to education, especially educational justice, peace, and democracy.
- History of Education: This concentration seeks to provide students with a rigorous methodological and theoretical
in historical research, so that they acquire and are able to advance a deep understanding
of the origins and development of American
education within the context of American social and intellectual history. This concentration
involves an understanding of the history of
social injustice and the political and economic history of the social and educational
reproduction of inequality.
- Educational Sociology: This concentration seeks to provide students with a rigorous methodological and theoretical
in sociological research. Sociology of education explores the school-society/educational-cultural
interface – how socio-cultural
forces define the limits and possibilities of schooling and how education impacts
society. Of particular interest is an understanding
of how social institutions produce injustice/justice, the nature and dynamics of social
stratification, an understanding of the dynamics of
racial, gendered, and ethnic discrimination, and the nature and development of a pluralistic
- Foundations of Education: This concentration seeks to provide students with a rigorous methodological and theoretical training in interdisciplinary research involving sociology, philosophy and history of education.
The strength of the faculty and thus the current organizing focus of these concentrations is social justice. We seek to critically examine the multidimensional nature of justice and education in a way that explores the basic assumptions, policies, and practices of our educational institutions in order to contribute to the creation of a more just, peaceful, and democratic society and world. We believe that at the core of an education for democracy and justice is the capacity for critical reflection. Reflection is a process of examination and analysis that is significantly informed by an understanding of the phenomena that underlie and contextualize educational ideas, practices and problems. We seek to understand education as it is shaped by social, cultural, and ideological forces in order to enhance the reflective practice and thus decision making of educators, leaders, and scholars.
The following questions constitute broad categories of inquiry that frame the inquiry-based model of graduate education in the field of Educational Theory and Social Foundations.
- Social Justice
- What is the nature of social justice?
- What constitutes educational and social justice in a democracy?
- In what ways and to what degree are American (and other) educational systems just or unjust?
- How is educational and social justice enacted?
- What is the relationship between justice, education, and peace?
- What is the impact of our knowledge of justice and foundations on educational theory,
policy, and practice?
- What is the nature of power?
- What is the current and historical distribution of power in American society?
- How should power be distributed in a democratic society?
- What implications does a particular distribution of power have on education and other social institutions?
- What are the power dynamics in schools and classrooms?
- Is there are a relationship between school and classroom power dynamics and those of the larger society?
- How is power exercised in society and in educational institutions?
- What is the relationship between power and justice?
- What is the source(s) of power?
- What is the relationship between power and wealth?
- What is the nature of knowledge?
- What does it mean to know something?
- What is the difference between belief and knowledge?
- Is there a relationship between knowledge and power?
- Are there various ways of knowing and forms of knowledge?
- Is knowledge socially and culturally constructed?
- What knowledge is most valuable?
- In what ways does knowledge define teaching and learning?
- Do race, gender, and ethnicity influence what and how we know?
- What is culture?
- Is reality culturally constructed?
- What is the relationship between power, knowledge, and culture?
- Do schools reflect the culture of the society within which they are situated?
- What constitutes a just response to cultural diversity?
- What is the nature of multicultural education?
- Is justice culturally relative?
- Is there a cultural mismatch between the school and the student’s home life?
- What is the nature of ideology?
- Do all societies have an ideology?
- Is justice defined by ideology?
- What is the relationship between power and ideology?
- Do schools promote ideological hegemony – a dominant ideology?
- What is the relationship between knowledge and ideology?
- Does ideology drive politics?
- Is the curriculum shaped by the dominant ideology?
- Does ideology justify a particular distribution of power and wealth in society?
- What role does schooling play in this distribution?
- What is the relationship between ideology and religion?
- Is there a relationship between American democracy and imperialism?
- What is the nature of society?
- What is the relationship between social structures and forces and social institutions?
- What is the relationship between power and social structure?
- What is the nature of the school-society interface?
- Does schooling reflect the nature of the society’s structures?
- What is the nature of the “good” society?
- Are schools social institutions?
- What is the relationship between dominant social institutions (government, economy, media, military-industrial complex, etc.) and educational institutions?
- In what ways are power, knowledge, and ideology institutionalized?
The interconnected relationship between democratic justice and these dimensions is depicted in the following diagram:
These issues and questions are explored through both disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses – philosophy, sociology, and history, singly or in combination.