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What is the role of curriculum studies in education?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Conversations fostered through new endowment in trailblazer’s honor

A new endowment in honor of Dr. William Pinar, an internationally leading curriculum scholar, will foster conversations at Oklahoma State University around the role of curriculum studies in education. 

Pinar trailblazed emphasis on individuals’ experiences in the curriculum studies discipline. He highlighted the role of culture and individuality in curriculum studies and encouraged historical, social and political contexts to be considered. Over the years, he has mentored many OSU curriculum studies professors and students and has visited the campus for speaking events.

“When people hear about curriculum studies, they think about textbooks and the content of education,” said Dr. Hongyu Wang, OSU curriculum studies professor. “However, the concern is not merely about teaching the content, but to focus on the person, both teachers and students, and their lived experience.”

As the OSU curriculum studies program has gained a national reputation, Wang organized the endowment as tribute to Pinar’s role in the program’s growth and in the worldwide field of curriculum studies. The inaugural lecture is scheduled for spring 2021.

“We invite internationally and nationally known scholars to our Stillwater and Tulsa campuses to give lectures and to talk with students and work with faculty,” Wang said. “It’s a way to generate and revitalize the research culture here in the college and provide public lectures.”

Wang, whose research is nonviolence curriculum and the intersection between Eastern and Western thought and education, studied under Pinar as a graduate student at Louisiana State University. She believes while American and Oklahoman education systems face many challenges ranging from budget cuts to standardized testing and inequality in education, Pinar’s devotion to “a complicated conversation that is curriculum” could foster conversations for transformative change of individuals and society.

“It’s a difficult time from multiple dimensions,” Wang said. “I would always fall back to curriculum as a conversation, with no predetermined destination. The public needs our engagement to foster multilayered dialogues and understanding.”

The William F. Pinar Endowed Curriculum Studies Fund will build on past public speaking events held in the OSU curriculum studies program. It also expands on momentum of the recently developed Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies, which includes three options: curriculum and leadership; college curriculum and teaching; and international and peace curriculum. Wang is optimistic that professors in the curriculum studies program and speakers supported through the endowment can spark lasting change.

“Both in political and educational arenas, we can explore how to work together across differences, not to erase differences,” Wang said. “We can build connections to have shared efforts to make our world a little bit better and a bit more peaceful.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Brittany Bowman | 405-744-9347 |

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