The Department of Foundations of Education provides multi-disciplinary, liberal education perspectives that undergird all programs in the School of Education. Our contribution is based on the premise that the preparation of effective educational practitioners requires fundamental, deep understanding of the broader perspectives that are represented by research and theory in psychological, cultural, philosophical, historical and ethical areas of inquiry. As such, Foundations provides an essential link between practice and theory that makes effective reflection and decision-making possible. By facilitating a rich contextual understanding of contemporary educational issues and practices, Foundations enhances the ability of educators to be reflective decision makers who make effective use of complex judgments and critical thinking. Our goal is to prepare educators for intelligent, responsible leadership in a variety of educational careers and settings for teaching, research, administration and policy-making.
Foundations plays an integral part of the Ph.D. in Education program by teaching required courses in foundations of research, research methods, and other elective courses, by active participation on dissertation committees, and by responsibility for the Research and Evaluation, Educational Psychology, and Curriculum, Culture, and Change tracks of the program. The Curriculum, Culture, and Change Doctoral Track is an inter-departmental collaboration between the Foundations of Education and Teaching and Learning Departments. The track uses a blend of theory and practice to work toward positive social and educational change across a wide range of institutions, systems and contexts.
Foundations also has responsibility for the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium (MERC), a partnership between VCU and eight Richmond area school divisions that conducts and disseminates applied research.