Bears at the Head of the Class

Ursinus students can now major and earn a bachelor’s degree in educational studies.

An interdisciplinary field, educational studies brings a rigorous, liberal arts approach to the study of education, which includes but also extends beyond questions pertaining to schools. Educational studies majors will gain insight into social, political, cultural, historical and philosophical domains of education.

“The new major asks students to think more broadly about education,” says Stephanie Mackler, an associate professor of education and assistant dean of the college.

Drawing from both existing courses and new ones, the educational studies major is an expansion of Ursinus’s non-certification education minor. The creation of the major is a response to a growing demand for educational studies from Ursinus students. It is also becoming more common at other selective liberal arts institutions, according to Mackler and John Spencer, associate professor and chair of the education department.

The new major consists of 36 credits and is designed for students interested in higher education, education policy, school counseling and careers in a variety of educational organizations. New courses will include Education and Culture, Education and Inequality, Educational Innovation and Reform, and Educational Theory and Philosophy.

“I am excited for this opportunity to more fully meet and develop students’ curiosity about the many realms of educational inquiry,” says Seamus Mulryan, an assistant professor of education.

The new Ursinus core curriculum is being designed around four main questions, which echoes the approach in the new educational studies major and in the Department of Education overall.

“We believe in inquiry-driven learning,” Mackler says, “which extends to the way our faculty teach Ursinus teaching certification students to teach their own students.”

Students may declare as educational studies majors beginning in the 2018-19 academic year and may opt to minor in educational studies (20 credits).

Students who wish to earn state certification to become teachers will continue to enroll in the Teaching Certification Program and major in the subject they wish to teach. Those students may also take two additional four-credit education courses to add educational studies as a second major. —By Ed Moorhouse