Regents approve new undergraduate degree program in education studies

Educational Policy studies

Regents approve new undergraduate degree program

The University of Wisconsin System’s Board of Regents in February approved a new undergraduate degree program in education studies at UW–Madison.

The Bachelor of Science in Education Studies is designed to meet the needs of a growing number of undergraduate students who are interested in becoming involved in the realm of education, but not as teachers in the classroom.

Pull quote new programGraduates completing the new major will be given the framework and skills to interpret education reform proposals and to understand the many connections between education and other social institutions — including the justice, healthcare and family advocacy systems.

In addition, the program will give students insight into education-related areas of social development, both domestically and globally.

“This new undergraduate degree is unique because it’s arguably the only program of its kind in the nation to give undergraduates the multidisciplinary training needed to answer questions regarding both domestic and global education policy,” says Adam Nelson, chair of the Department of Educational Policy Studies, which will be the academic home of the new program.

Adds Nelson: “This program will leverage the School of Education’s distinctive interdisciplinary strengths in an effort to help our faculty and students address complex educational problems in the state, in the nation and around the world.”

Nelson says that a diverse range of experts from the School of Education played important roles in developing the new major and explains that students entering the program will learn from scholars across the School in fields such as educational policy studies, educational psychology, and curriculum and instruction, to name a few.

“We are seeing a growing number of students who are interested in careers in the field of education, but not necessarily as classroom teachers,” says Nelson. “This new program is for students who may have an interest in working at local and state policy-making agencies, parent-based organizations for schools or community social service organizations.”

Adds Nelson: “This program will also give students the knowledge and tools they need to pursue careers in education and social policy think tanks, workforce development offices or agencies doing business in the realm of international education. There are numerous organizations that need people with a solid background in education studies.”

New programThis new major also supports the School of Education’s strategic priorities reflecting a shared commitment to “produce high quality leaders for rapidly-changing learning environments at all levels,” to “promote equity and increase diversity,” and to “foster community engaged scholarship to enrich lives, transform communities and better the world.”

Nelson says it’s expected that most students who major in education studies will be able to earn their bachelor of science degree in four years, and students can be admitted to the program as freshmen. All the courses required to support the education studies program are currently being offered at UW–Madison.

The first cohort of students to enroll in the new major will begin taking classes during the upcoming fall semester. It is estimated that within five years, program enrollment will consist of around 70 students — with 25 students graduating each year.
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