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Philosophy of Education


One of the leading programs in philosophy of education in the world, we view philosophy as a critical and reflective activity central to sound educational policy, practice, and research. Drawing on diverse philosophical traditions, our students explore educational aims, concepts, and practices across a range of settings, including the nature of the teacher-student relationship, the possibilities and limitations of technology in education, liberal education, the ethics of teaching, critical thinking, aesthetic education, education and human rights, and what makes a “public” school public.


The faculty in this program each have established international reputations. They include:

  • Nicholas C. Burbules teaches and writes about dialogue in education, professional ethics, technology issues in education, and critical social theory. He has written or edited sixteen books, several of which have been translated into other languages, and published over two hundred journal articles and book chapters. He is the Education Director of the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics and is the Editor of Educational Theory.
  • Rebecca Taylor uses philosophy and philosophically-grounded mixed methods to investigate questions of ethics and justice in educational policy and practice. She is currently developing a volume of normative case studies and commentaries on ethical dilemmas in higher education, which is under contract with Harvard Education Press. Her research has been funded by the Spencer Foundation and the Center for Ethics and Education at University of Wisconsin, and she received the National Academy of Education/Spencer Research Development Award in 2020. She currently serves as the Program Chair of the Philosophical Studies in Education SIG for the American Educational Research Association.

Department: Education Policy, Organization and Leadership

Who should apply

Graduate students looking to fill faculty and leadership positions in universities and other educational institutions who want to:

  • Develop conceptual and analytical skills in thinking about educational problems
  • Explore crucial normative and value questions about the aims and methods of education
  • Learn to engage colleagues collaboratively in bringing philosophical perspectives into contact with other fields of study

Our recent graduates occupy faculty and leadership positions in universities and other educational institutions around the globe.

·        Maria Cynthia (MC) Anderson, College Ready Project, Illinois Board of Higher Education

·        Jane Blanken-Webb, Assistant Professor, Wilkes University

·        Roman Friedman, Global Learning Specialist, LAS International Programs, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

·        Heather Greenhalgh-Spencer, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Associate Dean of Graduate School, Texas Tech University

·        Liz Jackson, Professor and Head of Department of International Education, the Education University of Hong Kong

·        Katherine Jo, Director of Program Development and Design, The Purpose Project at Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University

·        Mark Keitges, Director of the Graduate English Language Learners Program, Assistant Director, Writing Program, Rutgers University

·        Seamus Mulryan, Assistant Professor, Educational Studies, Ursinus College

·        Emily G. Wenneborg, Executive Director, Pascal Study Center and Assistant Professor, Urbana Theological Seminary



The philosophy of education program is also a leader in producing two major publications in the field:

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