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School of Education Highlights Doctoral Education Policy and Equity Students

11/05/2020

The School of Education's Ph.D. in Education Policy and Equity (EPE) program, now in its second year, is an in-residence, interdisciplinary doctoral degree program at Saint Louis University focused on advanced training in education and social science research methods where students learn to evaluate educational practices and analyze issues in education policy from a social justice perspective.  

The students come from a wide range of professional backgrounds including a Teach for America alumni, current and former school board members, current school administrators, policy researchers, and community advocates. The EPE program offers flexibility for students to select courses that align with their individual interests and to specialize while meeting the specific requirements of the degree. This flexibility allows students from varied backgrounds to develop research that arises from their experiences and reflects their strengths. 

Renaldo Jackson
Renaldo Jackson

Renaldo Jackson, a current school administrator in East St. Louis, knew that SLU's program would help him excel in his career. 

“I chose SLU because of the stellar reputation for providing rigorous, exceptional, and high-quality educational programs," he said. "As a school leader, the education policy and equity doctoral program will prepare me for conducting groundbreaking and relevant research related to my educational practice.”

The program allows students who are working or serving in the education field to critically analyze their experiences in the world of education practice through the lens of current education policy research. Students gain familiarity with the processes by which education policies are created and implemented, and how they influence various populations.

Dorothy Rohde-Collins
Dorothy Rohde-Collins

Dorothy Rohde-Collins, a current St. Louis Public School board member, was motivated to join the program by her past experiences in the field.

“From my work in education over the past 15 years, I have seen firsthand the vast differences within our regional education system and how it has created inequitable opportunities for young people.  I was drawn to the education policy and equity program at SLU for its emphasis on social justice and the interdisciplinary nature of the coursework," she said.  "By learning about the ways in which education intertwines with economics, politics, law, and public policy we can design societal systems to create lasting change and undo generations of injustice, inequality, and inequity.”  

Students in the program develop a solid foundation in research methodology along with an ability to conceptualize educational problems through different disciplinary perspectives. Interdisciplinary coursework centers methodological rigor and draws on the strengths of programs and departments across the SLU campus. Outside of coursework, EPE students have the opportunity to conduct research that can inform policy, influence students and schools, and support school and community leaders in making data-driven decisions. Through student-faculty research collaboration, EPE students produce work that shapes education practice in local school districts and aims to create a more equitable system of education for all students.

Aaron Park
Aaron Park

Aaron Park, a graduate assistant in the School of Education, noted that, “The School of Education’s PRiME Center bridges the gap between researchers in academia and practitioners in the state by providing data and research that will inform evidence-based education policies. As a graduate assistant at the PRiME Center, I am growing as an education policy researcher who disseminates scholarly work to all stakeholders using most appropriate tools.”

SLU's Ph.D. in Education Policy and Equity program prepares students for careers in academia, public service, and the nonprofit sector.  Assistant Professor Cameron Anglum, Ph.D., shared that he is “very excited to help shape the development of the program as the faculty seeks to train new generations of education policy researchers focused on equitable student and community outcomes.” 

Much of Anglum’s current research is focused on education policy issues in Missouri, which he hopes will have a positive impact on local education outcomes and broader concerns in local social policy.

Jennifer Buehler, Ph.D., program director, indicated that the program is valuable for students from many backgrounds.

“The EPE program is designed for students from a range of personal and professional backgrounds," she said. "Some have gone through teacher education programs, others have earned master's degrees in education, and many have worked as teachers, but all members of the program share the goal of working as advocates for social justice and equity-based educational change.”

SLU's School of Education is currently accepting applications for the fall 2021 semester. Cohorts begin each fall semester and the deadline to apply is June 15.  To be considered for a graduate assistantship, please apply by January 15. 

For more information about the Ph.D. in Education Policy and Equity program in the School of Education at Saint Louis University, please contact Jennifer Buehler, Ph.D., program director of graduate programs in educational studies at jennifer.buehler@slu.edu .