Specialization Coordinator: Bob Hampel

The Sociocultural and Community-Based Approaches to Research and Education (SCA) specialization views education as contextual, dialogic, and relational. We recognize that learning is shaped by institutions, cultures, communities (including online communities), practices, technology, and histories. We are interested in how teachers, students, families, community members, and the society at large “make sense” of the principles and practices of education in complex and sometimes contradictory ways. We seek to investigate the purposes of education and to create models of equitable quality education.

Our perspective includes, but is not limited to, research done in the area of situated cognition, critical pedagogy, critical race theory, feminist theory and disabilities studies. It also encompasses social science approaches grounded in sociology, psychology, anthropology and history.

The SCA specialization emphasizes the development of expertise in conducting high-quality research on significant issues in sociocultural and community-centered approaches to education. We also strive to prepare teacher educators who will engage preservice and in-service teachers, educational leaders and policy makers, and families and students in the work of examining and developing equitable educational communities.

Current SCA students can find additional program information on the Sakai Student Site.

Specialization Courses

In addition to the Doctoral Core Courses, the following specialization courses are required of all SCA students:

  • EDUC 854: Topics in Equity in Education
  • EDUC 855: Topics in Sociocultural Theories of Education

Note: EDUC 732: Community Based Practicum fits into the curriculum in lieu of a third specialization course (in the “required coursework” chart on the Required Coursework page).

Sample Course Schedules

Sample SCA course schedules for students who enter the Ph.D. program in the following semesters are available through the links below.

Additional Specialization Requirements

All Ph.D. students in SCA must complete the following additional requirements.

Methods Core Courses

Students in SCA must chose the following three qualitative methodology courses to satisfy the research Methods Core requirement.

  • EDUC 852: Critical and Interpretive Methods in Education Research
  • EDUC 858: Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • EDUC 859: Ethnographic Research

Specialization Area Exam

The specialization area exam in SCA is designed to prepare doctoral students’ broad areas of expertise around their dissertation research.  The content of the exam will be helpful for at least three future professional endeavors: preparing students for their job talks, building areas of teaching interest, and learning how to develop new expertise in their research interests.  Although the exam has both formative and summative functions, we view this assessment more as formative, preparing for dissertation research, rather than summative, considering whether the student should stay in the program or not after spending three years in it.

The student generally takes the exam upon completion of their coursework and when they have developed general ideas for their future dissertation topic. Along with their advisor, the student will determine the members of the specialization area exam committee, based on the student’s area of interest. The committee will consist of three faculty members that need to include the student’s advisor and one additional faculty member from the SCA specialization area.  This committee may also serve as the student’s dissertation committee, but it is not required.

The exam is composed of two parts, a written exam and an oral question-response discussion of the written exam.

Affiliated Faculty

For more information about this specialization, contact the area coordinator Dr. Bob Hampel. Faculty affiliated with the SCA specialization area include: