Ken Hawes

Senior Lecturer Emeritus of Education


Study of educational philosophy and practice, and the knowledge and values we hope to share.

Before graduate school, I was a middle and high school teacher of math and science, most notably at Roxbury Latin School for five years. At Wellesley, I taught courses for those preparing for and doing their student teaching internships, and
also philosophy of education, in later years as a Writing Program course. I see education as a lifelong endeavor of each person and as a vital family and social function. It is a world-wide historical and contemporary story woven throughout history. Teaching and learning happen everywhere, and they call on all that we are.

One aim of philosophy of education, as I see it, is to give us words and viewpoints that help us collaborate and communicate with others. In teaching, we need to communicate well not only with our own students and colleagues, but also with
parents and the wider public, for education in its many forms weaves together society as a whole. A central challenge of democracy is the need to reason about education in ways that can be widely shared and understood.

For many of us, college and the years after graduation are a time of personal and intellectual searching. At the same time there is always practical work to be done. I have found that teaching, as one example, can foster tremendous learning, especially when we can find opportunities for discussion, reading, and reflection, perhaps through journal writing. I like to think that part of this search is for an inclusive social outlook and sensibilities that can unite us sufficiently to live and work and govern ourselves together. Working with my students over the years has taught me so much about all of this.

Since my retirement in July of 2023, I have been happy to see how my thought has been able to roam free and to integrate new views and interests, including some specifics about artificial intelligence and human minds and about the challenges of
global warming. In my personal life, I live closely with those who are experiencing memory loss and cognitive decline. I have been given the chance to consider dimensions of human experience that I was less aware of, and to grow as a person.
One of the most rewarding parts of my life at Wellesley has been to work with many generations of students aspiring to be teachers. They taught me so much about how theory and practice and self-knowledge and relationships intertwine, and I am
very grateful to them. As I am also to my wonderful colleagues across the College.


  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ed.M., Harvard University
  • Ed.D., Harvard University