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College of Education
Educational Foundations

Wist 113
1776 University Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7817
Fax: (808) 956-9100

*D. P. Ericson, PhD (Chair)-philosophy of education, educational policy
*A. Awaya-history and social foundations
*E. R. Beauchamp, PhD-history, comparative education, higher education
*V. N. Kobayashi, PhD-comparative education, philosophy
*B. J. Lum, PhD-philosophy of education, policy studies, social and cultural studies, human development, moral education
*H. McEwan-curriculum theory, philosophy of teaching
*G. G. Reed, PhD-social and cultural foundations, values and education, comparative education
*E. H. Tamura, PhD-history of education, history of education in Hawai'i, Asian-American history

Cooperating Graduate Faculty
A. R. King Jr., EdD-philosophy, history of curriculum, sociology, higher education
L. K. Menton, PhD-history of education, history of education in Hawai'i, 19th-century Hawaiian history

Affiliate Graduate Faculty
M. A. Raywid, PhD-school restructuring, philosophy of educations
Y. Takei, PhD-sociology, comparative/international education

*Graduate Faculty

Degrees Offered: MEd in educational foundations

The Academic Program

Educational foundations (EDEF) is a broadly conceived field whose concepts and theory are drawn from academic disciplines such as history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, and religion; areas of study found within the broad frame of comparative, international, global, environmental, and multicultural concerns; educational policy studies; and efforts toward school renewal and community organization. Department faculty are committed to the use of interdisciplinary perspectives in understanding and assessing educational controversies and issues, contributing to educational change and school renewal, and advancing theoretical understanding.

The multiple perspectives embraced in educational foundations stand in opposition to the idea that a single intellectual and moral outlook and its associated behavior are compatible with education and schooling in a democracy.

Graduate Study

Master of Education in Educational Foundations

The department offers programs of graduate study leading to a MEd in educational foundations with concentrations in history of education, philosophy of education, social/cultural foundations of education, or comparative/international education. 

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the MEd in educational foundations degree normally possess credits in undergraduate professional education equivalent to the requirements for the BEd degree at the University. BA degree holders without supervised student teaching may be accepted provided they make a commitment to education, have equivalent experience (such as the Peace Corps), or make up such experience before admission to candidacy. Students from foreign countries, where English is not the dominant language, must also submit the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum score is 580, representing approximately the 64th percentile.

Degree Requirements

Advancement to candidacy is based on the quality of the student's work while in the program.

Both Plan A and Plan B are available. Both programs require at least 30 credit hours. The following are departmental course requirements: EDEF 651, 660, 669, and 683. Courses in fields of study other than educational foundations are normally concentrated in one or two of the following: American studies, anthropology, Asian studies, economics, history, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology, or other graduate fields within the College of Education. 

Through a study of educational theory and practice using the fields of history, philosophy, and the social sciences, MEd in educational foundations graduates are expected to be able to analyze alternatives in educational thought, policy, and practice related to the social and moral problems faced by schools and other educational agencies at the state, national, and international levels. The great majority of students who do course and degree work in educational foundations plan to become or already are employed in school, college, or university teaching; improvement programs in the schools; departments of education; and governmental or private agencies. Graduates already possessing a basic teaching certificate are eligible for Hawai'i state certification at the professional level.

Plan A (Thesis) Requirements

The Plan A program may include a maximum of 10 credit hours in approved courses other than educational foundations if related to the candidate's announced goals. The thesis carries 6 credit hours. One seminar in the department is required, and no more than 2 credit hours of directed research (699) may be included in Plan A. The candidate's committee, including two members from the department and one member from outside the department, conducts an oral examination on the thesis, which constitutes the final examination.

Plan B (Non-thesis) Requirements

There are four options (strands) within the Plan B Program including a summers only option. Depending upon the option chosen, the program may include 6 credit hours in approved courses other than educational foundations if related to the candidate's announced goals. Either one or two seminars in the department are required and either 6 or 9 credits of directed research (699) may be included. Plan B requires a committee of two, one of whom is a graduate faculty in Educational Foundations. One option requires a final comprehensive examination. For the others, the presentation of a project of an educational nature along with a paper describing and analyzing the project constitutes the final examination in the Plan B.

Master of Education in Teaching

The Master of Education in Teaching (MEdT) is a two-year, master's level, teaching preparation program. Students are admitted each fall in cohorts of approximately 25 students, and each cohort is composed of both elementary and secondary education student-teachers. Students work closely together over the two years of study in school groups at appointed professional development schools. The program also has a strong academic component, and emphasis is placed on student inquiry and action research. In the first year of the program, students spend 15 hours a week in the field. They write a portrait of the school, team teach, and develop curriculum. As part of the academic course work, students are required to study research methods and to pursue several educational inquiries. Twelve credits of course work are also required for the area of specialization. The second year of the program focuses on classroom teaching and is composed of a semester-long, pre-internship practicum and a final semester of paid internship in a public school. A Plan B paper is required to complete the degree work. 

Applicants must have completed a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree and be highly motivated to enter a challenging two-year graduate program resulting in a master's degree and state teacher certification. The MEdT requires a full-time commitment for two academic years and the intervening summer. Cohorts are available at the elementary and secondary levels; however, specialization areas for the secondary level are currently restricted to specific subject areas. The program is based upon four principles:

1. Professional learning should take place in the context of thinking and acting as a teacher. The primary vehicle for the professional content in the program will be realistic school and classroom situations. Students will be placed in partnership schools and will be provided with many opportunities to participate in school and classroom activities.

2. To become independent professionals, students should be actively involved in and responsible for their own learning. The inquiry mode of problem solving will be the primary teaching/learning activity. Students will study and learn in small groups with a faculty mentor and be actively engaged in shaping their own educational program.

3. To learn to work collaboratively in schools, students should collaborate with one another and with practicing professionals. Throughout the program, tasks will be assigned to groups of students who will share responsibility for their completion. Students will also plan and implement their instructional activities in conjunction with experienced classroom teachers and with MEdT faculty.

4. To develop a thoughtful and self-critical attitude toward professional practice, students should routinely evaluate and be evaluated on their learning and performance. Students' explanation, justification, and assessment of their professional judgments and actions will be a planned part of the program. MEdT faculty and professional teachers will be regularly involved in the developmental evaluation of student performance in every part of the program.

Further information can be obtained from the MEdT Web site:

Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD) is a college-wide degree awarded for distinguished academic preparation for scholarly professional practice in the field of education.

Educational foundations is a specialization under the PhD program of the College of Education. The program prepares educational professionals with an understanding of the historical, philosophical, cultural, social, and political contexts of education so that they can make informed and wise decisions about educational problems and policy issues. Graduates with the PhD are expected to exert leadership in the field of education and deal with those aspects and problems in society that need to be taken into account in advancing educational thought, policy development and practice, especially where these concern the social role of the school and other educational agencies. The program of study varies in the number of credits, depending upon the candidate's qualifications and will include the following: two 9-credit-hour semesters (not necessarily consecutive); college courses required of all students enrolled in the PhD program of the College of Education; department courses required of all students with a specialization in educational foundations; area of emphasis course work focused in history, philosophy, comparative or social/cultural foundations of education; cognate-field course work usually taken outside of the College of Education; a field project or an internship; qualifying and comprehensive examinations; and the dissertation.

For further information concerning the College of Education PhD program, see "Doctoral Degrees," or write to the Graduate Chair, Department of Educational Foundations, 1776 University Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96822.

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