4. Overview of the Proposed Program

The long-term objective of this program is to provide the research base needed to help solve the urgent problems of urban education; to this end it specifically seeks to prepare students to complete significant research in the field of urban education. In order to meet these objectives, the course of study leading to the degree will consistently emphasize two themes: (1) the interdependence of reasoning about curriculum issues and reasoning about policy issues, and (2) the interdependence of critical, reflexive insight into research methodology and sophisticated epistemological and disciplinary understandings.

New students in the program will elect one of two Concentrations:

(1) Curriculum Studies, or
(2) Policy Studies

and within Curriculum Studies one of two study Options:

(a) Curriculum Studies in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies, or
(b) Curriculum Studies in Mathematics, Science, and Technology

and will meet on a continuing basis with a faculty advisor whose research interests coincide with the student's own initial broad area of interest. They will also attend a Colloquium in which they will have an opportunity to meet other faculty members and gain insight into current research issues and concerns in the field. In their Core courses (see below) each cohort of students will work together across disciplinary and concentration lines, to better understand the relevance of policy to curriculum and curriculum to policy issues.


Proposed Program Structure

Core Courses (15 credits)

1st semester

1. The Structure of Social Knowledge
2. Historical Contexts of Urban Education

2nd semester

3. Logics of Inquiry
4. Pedagogy and the Urban Classroom

Summer term

5. Educational Policy (includes internship)

-------- First Examination ---------

Research Methods Courses (6 credits)

Qualitative Methods (see list, section 8)
Quantitative Methods (see list, section 8)

Program Concentration and Options (24 credits)

Area Seminars
Courses in other CUNY doctoral programs

-------- Second Examination ---------

Dissertation Research

Dissertation Cluster Seminars

[Transfer Credits: Up to a maximum of 30 credits, for a program total of 60+ credits]

The program will draw upon existing courses in doctoral programs in many partner disciplines, such as sociology, political science, history, linguistics, and psychology for advanced methodology courses and on these and other disciplines in the arts and humanities for the electives within each concentration and option. This will serve to insure that research students understand the logic of these disciplines and their methods, and will afford them great freedom and flexibility in constructing a course of studies relevant to their emerging research interests. Students will need considerable guidance in this, and it will be the role first of the Advisor and then of the Studies Committee, and particularly of its Chair, who will then act as the student's principal advisor, to insure that selection and sequencing of coursework for each student provides a coherent and well-focused basis for dissertation research.

In their first two semesters and the following summer students must take 5 Core courses (see descriptions in Section 7 below):

1. The Structure of Social Knowledge
2. Historical Contexts of Urban Education

3. Logics of Inquiry
4. Pedagogy and the Urban Classroom

5. Educational Policy

The first two semesters' courses will be paired as shown, so that in the first case, students can examine issues in the epistemology of social knowledge in the context of their specific historical studies of urban education, and in the second pair, examine issues of research methodology while identifying research questions and appropriate methods in the actual school settings of the Core 4 course. Issues of policy will be raised throughout the first two semesters, but specific questions of policy analysis methodology and the study of decision-making and policy implementation in complex institutional contexts will then become the focus of the culminating Core 5 course, which will include a summer internship. (For rationale and discussion of the internship see under Core 5 and the Policy Studies program concentration below.)

By taking the Core courses as cohort groups, across concentration and option lines, students will begin the process of collaborative inquiry which is central to the structure of this program. The interdisciplinary structure of inquiry in education requires such collaborative approaches to address and act on significant real-world educational problems. At every stage of their doctoral studies, students will learn to articulate their research questions, procedures, and outcomes with those of other students who are approaching related problems from different perspectives.

Students will extend their coursework beyond the Core requirements (which total 15 credits) with one advanced qualitative research methods and one advanced quantitative research methods course (6 credits), and a program of elective courses within their Concentration and Option (24 credits), as negotiated with their Advisor and later their Studies Committee (see section 8 below). Together with an anticipated maximum of 15 credits accepted from prior graduate study, this work will provide a minimum of 60 credits toward the degree. (Students may begin elective work at any time with the approval of their Advisor.)

Upon successful completion of the Core courses students will be eligible to take the First Examination; they must pass the examination before proceeeding beyond 45 credits. After passing the First Examination, students will assemble, with the help of their Advisor, a Studies Committee of at least three members of the doctoral faculty associated with the program (at least one appointed or co-appointed to this program, others may be appointed in other programs). The Studies Committee will then guide the student through to the Second Examination (at completion of coursework) and on to Advancement to Candidacy. At the time of approval of a dissertation proposal, it will be succeeded by the formal Thesis Committee, perhaps overlapping or even identical in membership.

The First Examination will cover the topics of the Core courses, including an announced list of specific readings drawn from the course bibliographies (see Appendix A.) The Second Examination will cover (a) advanced research methodology, and (b) special topics in the student's concentration and option as determined by the Advisory Committee. The Second Examination will likely be given in two separate parts.

Students will be expected to conceptualize their dissertation research in the context of larger, compelling issues in urban education. Students who may not already have had prior teaching experience in elementary or secondary education will normally be expected to acquire such experience in the course of their work in the program. Clusters of such focussed dissertation studies, alongside the continuing research programs of the faculty, will constitute research centers for the study of these issues. Such centers have an important role to play in the renewal of urban education. This focussed research approach will aim to triangulate studies in both curriculum and policy areas to achieve the objective of providing a research base that will be genuinely useful for the solution of contemporary educational problems.