Academic Department Introduction

Education is an interdisciplinary field that employs historical, political, and sociocultural approaches to studying schools. Students can examine teaching and learning in classrooms while also exploring broader societal issues reflected in schools such as the impact of race and culture on students’ educational experiences, the consequences of high-stakes testing on student mental health, and programs that support multilingual learners. Our holistic and practical approach connects research, theory, and practice. We encourage students to blend classwork with hands-on experience in local schools and communities.

Students can declare a major in education studies or they may opt to declare one of our two minors: education studies or teaching and learning studies. Through the Wellesley Teacher Scholars Program, students can also attain Massachusetts teacher licensure in secondary schools, which is transferable to all other states. Whether working in K–12 schools, higher education, children’s publishing, AI innovations, or education policy, our graduates apply their understanding of education research, policy, and practice to a wide range of professional pursuits.

Learning goals

  • Explore the various educational settings where teaching and learning occurs.

  • Examine the purposes and goals of schooling and the ways in which educational institutions have been shaped by the larger society.

  • Study how class, race, immigration, and the evolution of communities have influenced educational policies and practices.

  • Apply learning in school classrooms and other communities, where educational problems and change efforts can be observed in their full contexts.

Programs of Study

Education major

Students make connections between theory, policy, and practice through the education studies major, an interdisciplinary exploration of education, schools, and society.

Education minors

The education studies minor allows students to explore the connections between education, schools, and society. The teaching and learning studies minor allows students an opportunity to learn about the multidimensional aspects of teaching, learning, and innovation in the classroom.

State teacher licensure

Students attain Massachusetts state teacher licensure in secondary education and are qualified to teach full-time upon graduation. Licensure is transferable to all 50 states.

Course Highlights

  • Adolescents are developing socially, cognitively, and civically in their online and offline worlds, transforming how formal and informal learning takes place. Students in this course will digest research findings and reflect on their own experiences about how social technologies (e.g., Instagram, gaming, mobile phones) can influence wellbeing during the tween and teen years. Harnessing personal narratives that appeal to different stakeholders, we will develop timely and accessible strategies to inform adolescents, educators, families, youth workers, and policymakers about the implications of these findings. This interdisciplinary course spanning education, psychology, media studies, and health communication fields  involves transforming research into digestible, brief, non-academic pieces intended for the general public and provides opportunities for students to explore their own interests. Sample assignments include a policy brief, op-ed, e-newsletter, 2 minute podcast, social media messaging campaign, and strategic writing for UX design. Each week, fellow classmates critique each other’s work in a friendly, constructive environment while guest writing coaches and industry professionals provide useful tips to hone each piece to its creative potential. (EDUC 328 and PSYC 322 are cross-listed courses.)
  • Schools have historically been a point of public fascination. Consequently, societal debates on inequality, pluralism, and social movements have played out in the TV- and film-inspired hallways and classrooms of K-12 schools. What do these popular portrayals of school and society teach us about our societal values and the role of public education in a pluralistic society? How does Abbott Elementary reinforce and challenge our conceptions of under-resourced urban schools? How does saviorhood lie at the root of teacher heroism in Dangerous Minds? What do documentary films like The Lottery teach us about education policies related to school choice and charter schools? In this course, we will integrate an analysis of popular media representations of education with examinations of education policy, research, and practice to delve into some of the long-running debates about schools and society.

Research highlights

  • Professor Soo Hong sits and speaks with a student in a classroom.

    Professor Soo Hong and research assistants Haeli W. Warren ’21, Mona H. Baloch ’21, and Katharine H. Conklin ’22 co-authored “Teacher-Family Solidarity as Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and Practice” (Urban Education, Oct. 2022). The paper examined equitable family-school partnerships in urban schools. The authors argue that the concept of “family engagement” should be recast as teacher-family solidarity and become an indispensable part of culturally sustaining pedagogy and practice.

  • Linda Charmaraman and three other panelists speak at an event. Linda has the microphone and is speaking in this image.

    Lecturer Linda Charmaraman is the founder and director of the Youth, Media, & Wellbeing Research Lab at the Wellesley Centers for Women, where she is also a senior research scientist. A key goal of the lab is to involve undergraduate students in the research process. Students make significant contributions to social and behavioral research and present work at campus-based, regional, and national conferences, thanks to funding from the National Institutes of Health and Wellesley College internship program.

  • Pamela D’Andrea Martínez sits at a table in front of a bookshelf and speaks to students. She is sitting in front of a laptop, wearing an orange blazer and green glasses.

    Professor Pamela D’Andrea Martínez recently led the publication of an article, “Becoming Culturally Responsive: Equitable and Inequitable Translations of CRE Theory into Teaching Practice” (The Urban Review, May 2023), based on research conducted at seven New York City schools. The article questions what it means to implement culturally responsive education and urges schools and educators to meaningfully grapple with the issues of power they seek to address by engaging anti-racist pedagogies.


  • Internships

    Through partnerships with organizations, such as the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, we have created summer internships that focus on educational policy and practice. The Ravitch Public Education Internships enable students to work in educational research and policy with the Boston Public Schools’ Office of the Superintendent.

  • Community-based learning

    Students have numerous opportunities to apply what they learn in local schools, community agencies, and youth programs. In the seminar EDUC 335: Urban Education and Emancipatory Research, students complement their on-campus learning with field experiences in Boston and Cambridge classrooms and youth agencies, enacting action-based research projects with community partners. Numerous education courses incorporate experiences in schools and classrooms or invite local teachers, students, and community members to share their experiences in our classes.

  • Immersive experiences in urban schools

    During Wintersession, we offer interested students the opportunity to gain classroom experiences in urban schools. Through a two-week Wintersession fellowship, students can be immersed full-time in Boston classrooms, learning alongside experienced teachers

  • Senior symposium

    Education majors in their senior year can take an advanced research methods seminar in which they work on independent research projects and engage with a supportive, collaborative research community. At the end of the year, they present their research in a senior symposium that is open to the Wellesley community.

  • Research fellowships

    Students have numerous opportunities to work with faculty on research projects during the academic year.

Beyond Wellesley

Beyond Wellesley

Many of our graduates work in K–12 education. They also work in higher education, nonprofits, publishing, and software/internet industries. They are teachers, professors, administrators, researchers, and policymakers who work to transform education. Recent employers include Boston Public Schools, the Museum of the City of New York, Candlewick Press, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Department of Education

Pendleton Hall East
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481
Soo Hong
Department Chair