9 Area and Program Seminars, Colloquia, and Electives

Following successful completion of the core courses and the First Examination, students will enroll in area seminars specific to their studies specialization. The purpose of these seminars will be to promote disciplinary sophistication in critical contemporary research issues in Arts and Humanities Education; Mathematics, Science, and Technology in Education; and Educational Policy Studies. Participation in the seminars will inform students of the state of the art in research in their specialized field of interest and help them to formulate significant topics for their own dissertation research.

Focus topics for each seminar will be announced in advance of registration for the following semester. Course numbering for the area seminars will correspond to special topics within a studies specialization; students may not repeat area seminars with the same topic designation. Area seminar credits are counted toward the 24-credit total for the studies specialization.

Area seminars in Policy Studies will provide students not only with introductions to current urban education policy issues, but also with expertise in the methods of policy analysis applied to education. Area seminars in the other two specializations will provide both in-depth study of relevant specialist research literatures and practice in applying relevant research methods to specific topics.


Area Seminars in Arts, Humanities, and Social Studies Education

(3 credits each semester)

This seminar provides opportunity for discussion of contemporary research issues in the fields of arts, humanities, and social studies education. Each semester one or two special topics are selected as the focus of the work of the seminar. Prospective topics include:

Area Seminars in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education

(3 credits each semester)

This seminar provides opportunity for discussion of contemporary research issues in the fields of mathematics, science, and technology in education. Each semester one or two special topics will be selected as the focus of the work of the seminar. Prospective topics include:

Area Seminars in Educational Policy Analysis

(3 credits each semester)

The area seminars in Educational Policy Analysis will provide an opportunity for in-depth study and critique of policy issues currently confronting the field. In these seminars students, senior scholars from the faculty, and invited guests will examine a variety of issues to advance policy analysis in these areas. Each semester one or two focal topics will occupy the work of the seminar. Prospective topics include:

Program Seminars

To encourage students to integrate diverse disciplinary perspectives, particularly curriculum studies and policy perspectives, in their work and to address complex educational issues that reach across all three studies specializations, each term one seminar will be designated as a program seminar. Students in all three studies specializations will be encouraged to register for program seminars. Program Seminars are distinguished from Area Seminars by a focus on the integration of curriculum and schools research issues with policy issues, whereas the latter will have more specialized focus as described above. The topics for the program seminars will be drawn initially from the four research priority areas. Prospective topics include:

Core and Program Colloquia

The two-semester, weekly, noncredit core colloquium will be a required element of the first-year program for all students. In the informal setting of the colloquium, new students will meet program faculty members, hear presentations on faculty research interests, reflect on prearranged visits to city schools and other city educational institutions and agencies, and be introduced to the logic and expectations of the program as a whole and particularly the process of conceptualizing, carrying out, and writing up research on the scale of a Ph.D. dissertation. Core colloquium sessions will be open only to first-year students, but will meet jointly with the program colloquium to hear presentations by distinguished visitors.

The program colloquium, open to all program students and other interested members of the CUNY community, will offer a forum for the discussion and debate of significant research and policy issues in Urban Education. We intend to seek outside funding to support invitations to distinguished visitors from outside the New York metropolitan area to participate in the colloquium (and in sessions of relevant seminar courses), and we hope to sponsor visits jointly with other doctoral programs at The Graduate Center. Keeping Urban Education issues in focus, the colloquium will aim to become an important interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of new intellectual perspectives in all our partner disciplines.

The program colloquium will also sponsor nonpublic seminar sessions, open only to program faculty and students, in which students will make presentations on their own work, and in which the faculty will provide guidance to the research literature of various topics, upcoming conferences, and other professional activities. We hope that these sessions will provide a supportive structure beyond the first year for all program students.

Elective Courses in Other Programs

To provide students with the multiple disciplinary perspectives and diverse research methodologies that we believe are necessary for sophisticated research on Urban Education, all program students will be encouraged by their Studies Committees to register for elective courses in other doctoral programs at the CUNY Graduate Center.

In many cases, courses in other doctoral programs can be offered more frequently because of the added demand for them from Urban Education students, and faculty in some programs have expressed a willingness to select course readings of particular relevance for our students. We anticipate for example that courses in urban history, philosophy of education, educational sociology, history and sociology of science and mathematics, urban ethnography, public finance economics, urban politics, sociolinguistics, language and culture, urban language and dialects, and policy analysis would attract significant numbers of our students. In addition, many courses in Educational Psychology and in Developmental and Social Psychology would also be available to Urban Education students. Contacts with Executive Officers in these programs have been made, and there will be continuing liaison to identify the most appropriate courses to recommend to our students and coordinate registration for particular semesters.

At least initially our students will take their research methodology courses beyond the core by registering for approved elective courses in other doctoral programs at The Graduate Center. Appendix B lists the range of such courses that would be available to our students with permission of the offering program.

New Elective Courses

The doctoral program in Urban Education will from time to time introduce new elective courses of special significance for our students. The first such elective will be "Technology and Education: Critical Perspectives." 

We are aware of the intent to propose a new Interactive Technology (IT) and Pedagogy Certificate Program at The Graduate Center. If this proposal is approved, our elective course will be designed to complement, and not duplicate courses in its proposed curriculum. The IT Certificate Program will be designed for doctoral students in all fields who wish to acquire a specialization in Instructional Technology in higher education. The two core courses of the certificate program aim to discuss principles and policy issues in the field, and to present exemplars of effective use of instructional technology in higher education, respectively. To the extent that it is possible to design these courses around K-16 education, Urban Education students will be likely to register for them. It may be that a special section of the course would be offered with a K-16 emphasis, or that the Urban Education elective course would take one or both of the certificate core courses as prerequisites. The Urban Education program might also sponsor one or both of the certificate core courses. These decisions will be made after the proposals for the IT Certificate Program are completed; representatives of the prospective Urban Education faculty will participate in the development of the certificate proposals.

Program Elective (New Course)

Technology and Education: Critical Perspectives (3 credits) [contact hours]

Course Description

In this course students will examine current curriculum and policy issues regarding the use of new information and communications technologies in education in their larger social, historical, and political contexts. Economic, legal, ethical, instructional, and institutional issues, as well as questions of the validation of knowledge sources, will be discussed, and students will gain direct experience developing and participating in individual and group projects utilizing advanced communications and information technologies.


New information and communication technologies are creating both new opportunities and new dilemmas for educators concerned with curriculum and policy issues. This course will situate contemporary concerns about technology and education in their larger social and historical contexts, offering critical perspectives on such issues as economic pressures to adopt new technologies, the history of American technological optimism, technologies as media for social control, and the assessment of technological effectiveness in education. Beginning with views of the larger role of technology in urban social ecologies and the history of education, the course will aim to examine current curricular, legal, ethical, and political issues surrounding the adoption of multimedia and networked computer technologies in schools.

Educators need conceptual frameworks for examining such issues as resistance to the imposition of technological change in the workplace, possible gender bias in software and interface design, legal and ethical issues of uncensored access to information in schools, and teachers' and students' rights to publish their views on networks. We also need to examine critically the potential impact of nonlinear, interactive, multimedia genres of expression, argumentation, and communication on the curriculum and on the culture of schools. New communications technologies integrated with learning may also radically change the institutional networks, and so the roles and relationships, among students, teachers, administrators, and the many potential mentors and knowledge providers outside traditional school structures.

In this course students will not only gain experience with analyzing curricular and policy issues involving the use of new educational technologies but will also participate in and develop individual and group projects using such technologies as computerized simulations and visualizations, multimedia authoring systems, Intranet groupware, and Internet communication and resource design tools. Students will be expected to have already achieved basic levels of computer literacy independently or through noncredit workshops available in existing Graduate Center computer labs. The course will also aim to take advantage of the various research and development projects in educational and telecommunications technology at The Graduate Center, including those at the Center for Media and Learning and at the Stanton-Heiskell Center for Public Policy in Telecommunications and Information Systems.

Expected Enrollment: 10-15 students per year.

1. HPS (History and Philosophy of Science) and SST (Science, Technology, and Society) are two major curriculum movements within contemporary science education in the U.S. and several other countries.