Education and Society Minor Course List

The following is a list of courses eligible to be counted towards the Education and Society Minor in the College, organized by department of program of study. In addition, students in the College may petition for education-related courses not included on this list to be counted towards the Minor.

N.B. that the offerings below represent the entire range of courses taught in recent years which are eligible for the Minor. Not all of these courses will be offered by their respective departments in a given academic year. For specifics on quarterly course offerings, consult the University’s Class Search page. 

Comparative Human Development

CHDV 20100. Human Development Research Designs in Social Sciences (=PSYC 21100)
Instructors: Anna Mueller, Guanglei Hong

This course aims to expose students to a variety of examples of well-designed social research addressing questions of great interest and importance. One goal is clarify what it means to do “interesting” research. A second goal is to appreciate the features of good research design. A third goal is to examine the variety of research methodologies in the social sciences, including ethnography, clinical case interviewing, survey research, experimental studies of cognition and social behavior, behavior observations, longitudinal research, and model building. The general emphasis is on what might be called the aesthetics of well-designed research. Course term: Winter

CHDV 20150. Language and Communication (=LING 20150)
Instructor: Salikoko Mufwene

This course aims to expose students to a variety of examples of well-designed social research addressing questions of great interest and importance. One goal is clarify what it means to do “interesting” research. A second goal is to appreciate the features of good research design. A third goal is to examine the variety of research methodologies in the social sciences, including ethnography, clinical case interviewing, survey research, experimental studies of cognition and social behavior, behavior observations, longitudinal research, and model building. The general emphasis is on what might be called the aesthetics of well-designed research. Course term: Winter

CHDV 20207. Race, Ethnicity, and Human Development (=CRES 20207)
Instructor: Margaret Beale Spencer

Twenty-first century practices of relevance to education, social services, health care and public policy deserve buttressing by cultural and context linked perspectives about human development as experienced by diverse groups. Although generally unacknowledged as such post-Brown v. 1954, the conditions purported to support human development for diverse citizens remain problematic. The consequent interpretative shortcomings serve to increase human vulnerability. Specifically, given the problem of evident unacknowledged privilege for some as well as the insufficient access to resources experienced by others, the dilemma skews our interpretation of behavior, design of research, choice of theory, and determination of policy and practice. The course is based upon the premise that the study of human development is enhanced by examining the experiences of diverse groups, without one group standing as the “standard” against which others are compared and evaluated. Accordingly, the course provides an encompassing theoretical framework for examining the processes of human development for diverse humans while also highlighting the critical role of context and culture.

Prerequisite: Students should have one course in either Human Development or Psychology.

CHDV 20209. Adolescent Development (=PSYC 20209)
Instructor: Margaret Beale Spencer

Adolescence represents a period of unusually rapid growth and development. At the same time, under the best of social circumstances and contextual conditions, the teenage years represent a challenging period. The period also affords unparalleled opportunities with appropriate levels of support. Thus, the approach taken acknowledges the challenges and untoward outcomes, while also speculates about the predictors of resiliency and the sources of positive youth development.

CHDV 20305. Inequality in Urban Spaces (=PBPL 20305, CRES 20305)
Instructor: Micere Keels

The problems confronting urban schools are bound to the social, economic, and political conditions of the urban environments in which schools reside. Thus, this course will explore social, economic, and political issues, with an emphasis on issues of race and class as they have affected the distribution of equal educational opportunities in urban schools. We will focus on the ways in which family, school, and neighborhood characteristics intersect to shape the divergent outcomes of low- and middle-income children residing with any given neighborhood. Students will tackle an important issue affecting the residents and schools in one Chicago neighborhood.

CHDV 32411. Mediation, Moderation, and Spillover Effects (=PSYC 23411, STAT 33211)
Instructor: Guanglei Hong

This course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students from social sciences, statistics, health studies, public policy, and social services administration who will be or are currently involved in quantitative research. The course is focused on methodological issues with regard to mediation of intervention effects, moderated intervention effects, cumulative effects of treatment sequences, and spillover effects in a variety of settings. Research questions about why an intervention works, for whom, under what conditions, in what sequence, and whether one individual’s treatment could affect other individuals’ outcomes are often key to the advancement of scientific knowledge yet pose major analytic challenges. Readings will reflect the current development and controversies around these issues. All students will contribute to the knowledge building through participating in a big study group and, when applicable, will be encouraged to bring ongoing empirical work for class discussion.

Education and Society

EDSO 23008 Approaches to K-12 Teaching and Learning: Critical Issues in Urban Education (=CHDV 27822)

Instructor: A. Seeskin

This class will explore contemporary approaches to K-12 teaching and learning, looking at how the theoretical foundations that ground each approach lead to different perspectives on the purpose of public education, what students should learn, and how teacher should teach. The class will put these approaches in conversation with one another, exploring areas of agreement and conflict. Students will learn to observe and analyze classroom instruction, and hear firsthand from local practitioners about how each approach manifests in schools.  For students interested in K-12 education, this class will provide a helpful survey of some of the current debates around teaching and learning in public education.  

EDSO 23002. Schooling and Identity

Instructor: L. Rosen

This course examines the dynamic relations between schooling and identity. We will explore how schools both enable and constrain the identities available to students and the consequences of this for academic achievement. We will examine these relations from multiple disciplinary perspectives, applying psychological, anthropological, sociological, and critical theories to understanding how students not only construct identities for themselves within schools, but also negotiate the identities imposed on them by others. Topics will include the role of peer culture, adult expectations, school practices and enduring social structures in shaping processes of identity formation in students and how these processes influence school engagement and achievement. We will consider how these processes unfold at all levels of schooling, from preschool through college, and for students who navigate a range of social identities, from marginalized to privileged. 

EDSO XXXX. Education and Social Inequality

Instructor: L. Rosen

How and why do educational outcomes and experiences vary across student populations? What role do schools play in a society’s system of stratification? How do schools both contribute to social mobility and to the reproduction of the prevailing social order? This course examines these questions through the lens of social and cultural theory, engaging current academic debates on the causes and consequences of social inequality in educational outcomes. We will engage these debates by studying foundational and emerging theories and examining empirical research on how social inequalities are reproduced or ameliorated through schools. Through close readings of anthropological and sociological case studies of schooling in the U.S, students will develop an understanding of the structural forces and cultural processes that produce inequality in neighborhoods and schools, how they contribute to unequal opportunities, experiences, and achievement outcomes for students along lines of race/ethnicity, class, gender, and immigration status, and how students themselves navigate and interpret this unequal terrain. We will cover such topics as neighborhood and school segregation; peer culture; social networks; elite schooling; the interaction between home, society and educational institutions; and dynamics of assimilation for students from immigrant communities.


ECON 26700. Economics of Education
Instructor: Derek Neal

This course explores economic models of the demand for and supply of different forms of schooling. The course examines the markets for primary, secondary, and post-secondary schooling. The course examines numerous public policy questions, such as the role of government in funding or subsidizing education, the design of public accountability systems, the design of systems that deliver publicly funded (and possibly provided) education, and the relationship between education markets and housing markets.

Prerequisite: ECON 21020 or ECON 21030

History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine (HIPS)

HIPS 23000. The Organization of Knowledge

Instructor: W. Sterner

This course explores several structures of knowledge that students may have encountered in their core and specialized education, with the goal of enabling students to identify and explore the implications of these different structures. We ask whether all knowledge is relative, and if so, to what? When things are structured differently, does that mean that knowledge is lost? Or are there several diverse ways of structuring knowledge, each of which may be viable? We read a wide range of classical and modern thinkers in various disciplines.

Public Policy 

PBPL 25120. Child Development and Public Policy (=CHDV, PSYC 25120)

Instructor: A. Kalil

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the literature on early child development and explore how an understanding of core developmental concepts can inform social policies. This goal will be addressed through an integrated, multidisciplinary approach. The course will emphasize research on the science of early child development from the prenatal period through school entry. The central debate about the role of early experience in development will provide a unifying strand for the course. Students will be introduced to research in neuroscience, psychology, economics, sociology, and public policy as it bears on questions about “what develops?”, critical periods in development, the nature vs. nurture debate, and the ways in which environmental contexts (e.g., parents, families, peers, schools, institutions, communities) affect early development and developmental trajectories. The first part of the course will introduce students to the major disciplinary streams in the developmental sciences and the enduring and new debates and perspectives within the field. The second part will examine the multiple contexts of early development to understand which aspects of young children’s environments affect their development and how those impacts arise. Throughout the course, we will explore how the principles of early childhood development can guide the design of policies and practices that enhance the healthy development of young children, particularly for those living in adverse circumstances, and thereby build a strong foundation for promoting equality of opportunity, reducing social class disparities in life outcomes, building human capital, fostering economic prosperity, and generating positive social change. In doing so, we will critically examine the evidence on whether the contexts of children’s development are amenable to public policy intervention and the costs and benefits of different policy approaches.

PBPL 25405. Child Poverty and Chicago Schools (=CRES 25405)
Instructor: Chad Broughton

This discussion- and debate-based course begins with a sociological and historical examination of child poverty, focusing on its origin, experience, and perpetuation in disadvantaged Chicago communities. Class meetings will involve debating school reform efforts, such as “turnaround” schools, charter schools, Promise Neighborhoods, and stepped-up teacher evaluations. Further, the barriers that have contributed to the failure of previous reform initiatives-barriers that include social isolation, violence, and the educational system itself-will be identified and analyzed in-depth.

PBPL 25860. Crime, Justice, and Inequality in the American City (=SOCI 20255)
Instructor: Ariel Kalil

We will study the social and policy contexts aimed at promoting the development, health, and well-being of young children, with an emphasis on our host nation and the European Union. Topics to be covered include family policies such as fertility and related family planning policies; marriage and family formation; policies targeting working parents (i.e. parental leave); income support policies for lone or low-income parents; as well as child care and early education programs targeted directly to children.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Barcelona Public Policy Program

PBPL 27809. Violence in the Early Years
Instructor: Anjali Adukia

This course will address issues related to children’s exposure to violence. Classes will cover topics including, but not limited to, the history of violence against children (infanticide, etc), children’s literature, parental violence towards children, school-related violence, practices such as female genital mutilation, and other policy-relevant issues related to violence in children’s lives. We will analyze policies and reforms, review relevant research on each topic, and examine implications of the findings to policy and practice.

PBPL 27821. Urban Schools and Communities

Instructor: W. Kennedy

This course focuses on schools located in communities, neighborhoods, cities, and systems that are often referred to as ‘urban.’ The term ‘urban’ is highly contested, and its definition is often highly dependent on the standpoint of the speaker and/or the audience. Similarly, ‘school,’ does not have a simple or shared cultural definition. A study of ‘urban’ ‘schools,’ therefore, requires a deep examination of both the history and purpose of schooling as well as an inquiry into the changing relationship between schools and urban centers in the US. With a heavy focus on our city, Chicago, this course is an invitation to consider the ways that schools and their communities are and are not in dialogue with one another.

PBPL 27919. Research in School Improvement

Instructor: E. Allensworth and D. Johnson

Research evidence and data play an increasingly important and complex role in efforts to reform under-performing school systems in the United States.  Both education policy and practice increasingly rely on sophisticated understandings of a dynamic interplay of complex organizations, systems, and policymaking.  This course introduces students to cutting edge models for using research and data public school reform efforts, including examples of randomized control trials, district-based research, research-practice partnerships, and quality improvement strategies.  The course includes concrete illustrations of research that reshaped educational practice drawn from the UChicago Consortium on School Research.

PBPL 28350. Education and Development: Policy and Research
Instructor: Anjali Adukia

This course covers policy issues related to education in developing contexts. We will analyze education policies and reforms, review relevant research on each topic, and examine implications of the findings to policy and practice. Topics include understanding factors that influence educational decisions, provision of basic needs in schools, teacher pay and incentives, school choice, discrimination and inclusion in education, early childhood education, and education in emergency settings. We will often have guest speakers who are working in policy and practice share their on-the-ground experiences followed by a class-led discussion about related academic papers.

Prerequisite: A microeconomics course and a statistics course. This course is intended for third- and fourth-year students; first-year students not admitted; second-year students require instructor consent.

PBPL 29120. Poverty Law and Policy Reform (HMRT, LLSO 29120)
Instructor: Andrew Hammond

This course explores how legal institutions protect and punish children in the United States. We will spend the first part of the course exploring the child welfare system, which purports to protect children from abuse and neglect through various mechanisms including foster care and the termination of parental rights. We will spend the second part of the course exploring the juvenile justice system, which purports to prosecute and rehabilitate children for their criminal acts in a system separate from the criminal justice system. In the final part of the course, we will consider special topics in this area of law and policy including “cross-over youth” (i.e. children involved in both systems), unaccompanied immigrant children, homeless and runaway youth, and the so-called “school-to-prison-pipeline.” This course will place special emphasis on the judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, and social workers that comprise these legal institutions.

Political Science

PLSC 22819. Philosophy of Education (=CHDV, PHIL 22819)

Instructor: Bart Schulz

What are the aims of education?  Are they what they should be, for purposes of cultivating flourishing citizens of a liberal democracy?  What are the biggest challenges—philosophical, political, cultural, and ethical—confronting educators today, in the U.S. and across the globe?  How can philosophy help address these?  In dealing with such questions, this course will provide an introductory overview of both the philosophy of education and various educational programs in philosophy, critically surveying a few of the leading ways in which philosophers past and present have framed the aims of education and the educational significance of philosophy.  From Plato to the present, philosophers have contributed to articulating the aims of education and developing curricula to be used in various educational contexts, for diverse groups and educational levels.  This course will draw on both classic and contemporary works, but considerable attention will be devoted to the work and legacy of philosopher/educator John Dewey, a founding figure at the University of Chicago and a crucial resource for educators concerned with cultivating critical thinking, creativity, character, and ethical reflection.  The course will also feature field trips, distinguished guest speakers, and opportunities for experiential learning.


Undergraduate-Level Courses

PSYC 20100. Psychological Statistics
Instructor: Daniel Yurovsky

Psychological research typically involves the use of quantitative (statistical) methods. This course introduces the methods of quantitative inquiry that are most commonly used in psychology and related social sciences. PSYC 20100 and 20200 form a two-quarter sequence that is intended to be an integrated introduction to psychological research methods. PSYC 20100 introduces explanatory data analysis, models in quantitative psychology, concept of probability, elementary statistical methods for estimation and hypothesis testing, and sampling theory. PSYC 20200 builds on the foundation of PSYC 20100 and considers the logic of psychological inquiry and the analysis and criticism of psychological research.

PSYC 20250. Introduction to Statistical Concepts and Methods

Instructor: Daniel Yurovsky

Psychological research is a project of understanding the ways in which people are similar while grappling with the ways in which they are different. Statistical methods are a powerful tool for managing the tension between the two. This course introduces the statistical methods most commonly used in psychology, as well as their use in the R programming language. Topics involve exploratory data analysis, sampling and randomization, and hypothesis testing.

PSYC 20400. Cognitive Psychology
Instructor: Marc Berman

Viewing the brain globally as an information processing or computational system has revolutionized the study and understanding of intelligence. This course introduces the theory, methods, and empirical results that underlie this approach to psychology. Topics include categorization, attention, memory, knowledge, language, and thought.

PSYC 20500. Developmental Psychology (=CHDV 25900)
Instructor: Katherine O’Doherty

This is an introductory course in developmental psychology, with a focus on cognitive and social development in infancy through early childhood. Example topics include children’s early thinking about number, morality, and social relationships, as well as how early environments inform children’s social and cognitive development. Where appropriate, we make links to both philosophical inquiries into the nature of the human mind, and to practical inquiries concerning education and public policy.

PSYC 22580. Child Development in the Classroom
Instructor: Katherine O’Doherty

This discussion-based, advanced seminar is designed to investigate how preschool and elementary students think, act, and learn, as well as examine developmentally appropriate practices and culturally responsive teaching in the classroom. This course emphasizes the application of theory and research from the field of psychology to the realm of teaching and learning in contemporary classrooms. Course concepts will be grounded in empirical research and activities geared towards understanding the nuances and complexities of topics such as cognitive development (memory, attention, language), early assessment systems, standardized testing, “mindset”, “grit”, exercise/nutrition, emotion regulation, and more.

PSYC 23200. Introduction to Language Development
Instructor: Susan Goldin-Meadow

This course addresses the major issues involved in first-language acquisition. We deal with the child’s production and perception of speech sounds (phonology), the acquisition of the lexicon (semantics), the comprehension and production of structured word combinations (syntax), and the ability to use language to communicate (pragmatics).

PSYC 23800. Introduction to Learning and Memory
Instructor: D. Gallo

This course examines basic questions in learning and memory. We discuss the historical separation and division of these two areas as well as the paradigmatic differences in studying learning and memory. We also discuss basic research methods for investigating learning and memory and survey established and recent research findings, as well as consider several different kinds of models and theories of learning and memory. Topics include skill acquisition, perceptual learning, statistical learning, working memory, implicit memory, semantic vs. episodic memory, and memory disorders.


Undergraduate-Level Courses

SOCI 20112. Applications of Hierarchical Linear Models

Instructor: Steve Raudenbush

A number of diverse methodological problems such as correlates of change, analysis of multi-level data, and certain aspects of meta-analysis share a common feature-a hierarchical structure. The hierarchical linear model offers a promising approach to analyzing data in these situations. This course will survey the methodological literature in this area, and demonstrate how the hierarchical linear model can be applied to a range of problems.

SOCI 20192. The Effects of Schooling
Instructor: R. Stolzenberg

From at least the Renaissance until some time around the middle of the twentieth century, social class was the pre-eminent, generalized determinant of life chances in European and, eventually, American societies. Social class had great effect on one’s social standing; economic well-being; political power; access to knowledge; and even longevity, health, and height. In that time, there was hardly an aspect of life that was not profoundly influenced by social class. In the ensuing period, the effects of social class have receded greatly, and perhaps have even vanished. In their place formal schooling has become the great generalized influence over who gets access to the desiderata of social life, including food, shelter, political power, and medical care. So it is that schooling is sociologically interesting for reasons that go well beyond education. The purpose of this course is to review what is known about the long-term effects of schooling.

School of Social Service Administration

SSAD 21000. Race and American Public Schools
Instructor: Eve Ewing

This course explores the fundamental role that race and racism have played in the structure, stratification, and social functioning of American public schools. Working from a historical perspective that then moves into contemporary policy challenges, we will use both theoretical and empirical texts to explore questions of identity, otherness, and justice. What can the histories of black and indigenous schooling reveal about the educational project of the nation? How does the notion of whiteness as property shape public presumptions about what makes a “good” school? How have attitudes toward immigrant students changed as demographic and migration patterns have shifted? Perhaps most fundamentally, can schools be engines for racial justice, and if so, how?

SSAD 63412. Cultural Studies in Education

Instructor: Shantá Robinson

The course begins with an introduction to the history, development, and basic tenets of cultural studies. Throughout our work together, we will examine how social class, race/ethnicity, and gender are represented in literacy, language, and cultural theories and research that examine reproduction and resistance.Using cultural studies as the point of departure, this course explores the intersection of culture, power, and language (both oral and written) within schools and school systems. In accordance with the tenets of cultural studies, the course is guided by the presumption that culture (as it is realized through the functioning of schools and their agents and the experiences, knowledge, expressions, dispositions, and meaning-making of people of color, women, and low-income or working class individuals) is critical for understanding and intervening in the reproduction of social and economic inequality. In order to understand the reproduction of inequality we will examine theories and empirical investigations that explore how structures of domination and subordination are reproduced and social difference and inequality are reinscribed through the cultural practices that are reflected in schools. We will also analyze the extent to which the cultural practices and experiences of marginalized individuals simultaneously contribute to the process of reproduction and also affirm the emancipatory possibilities of resistance.

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