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Susan Edgerton, Ph.D.

Chair

MCLA Education Department

Mark Hopkins, Room 211

375 Church St., North Adams,  MA  01247

413-662-5379

Susan.Edgerton@mcla.edu

 

EDUCATION

  • Ph.D. in Curriculum Theory, Louisiana State University, 1992

  • M.S. in Organic Chemistry, Louisiana Tech University, 1982

  • B.A. in Chemistry, Louisiana Tech University, 1977

BIOGRAPHY

I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in curriculum, educational research, and foundations.  With philosophy professor Matt Silliman I co-direct the MCLA Honors Program, and am currently chair of the education department. I previously taught curriculum studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to that I taught high school science, including chemistry, biology, physics, and anthropology, in Shreveport, LA. My interests have always been interdisciplinary and eclectic; as a science teacher, for example, I always explored with students the history and philosophy, and sometimes literature, around the discipline we were studying. As a graduate student in curriculum studies I was naturally drawn to cultural studies as a theoretical framework for my research as it is by definition interdisciplinary, and even in certain ways "anti-disciplinary." Favored approaches include philosophical, historical, and psychoanalytic modes of interpretation. Current interests include the effects of audit on institutional culture, education for environmental awareness and sustainability, and cultural habits of mind that are embedded in traditional, standardized, and unintended curricula. I am author of  Translating the Curriculum: Multiculturalism into Cultural Studies, 1996, published by Routledge, still in press and awarded an American Educational Studies Association "Critic's Choice" award for 1997. It has been reviewed in the following journals: Educational Theory, Educational Research, Journal of Curriculum Studies, and Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. I co-edited with Gunilla Holm, Toby Daspit, and Paul Farber Imagining the Academy: Higher Education and Popular Culture, 2005, published by Routledge. I have also authored a number of journal articles and book chapters, helped to found a new conference entitled "Curriculum & Pedagogy" that has been running for over ten years now, served as secretary for the curriculum division of the American Educational Research Association and vice president of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies. My most recent challenge, chairing the education department, has inspired me to re-examine my own notions about what makes a good teacher education program, and to explore new possibilities for the future of our programs at MCLA. 

I have been teaching at MCLA since 2004. Besides my academic work, I have been involved in another major project that informs and is informed by my work as a teacher: I had a small, highly energy efficient house built in the southern Green Mountains of Vermont, twelve miles from MCLA. The challenges of winter, learning about new (solar) and old (fire wood) technologies for living in rural Vermont, and the incredible natural beauty of the place have all been transforming.