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Astronomy & Physics Education Research|CAPER

Philosophical Framework of PhD in Science Education Program

One of the most important distinctions between an undergraduate or masters program and a doctoral program is a big change in emphasis away from learning from coursework and toward a focus on inventing and sharing new knowledge created through research and teaching. To help you learn how to be a productive scholar who is skilled at both research and teaching, we use a scaffolded apprenticeship approach where you learn from many different people in different settings. Our goal is to enculturate you into scholarship so that you develop a growing understanding of how scholarship is done.

To be sure, there is both an explicitly written and an implicitly hidden curriculum of things to learn. As early in your program as possible, we will engage you in working with a more senior member of the team in shadowing them in research projects and teaching endeavors. Then, as you progress, we'll help you take on increasingly more responsibility for research projects and for teaching activities. In the end, our plan is that you will learn from many different people while, at the same time, contributing to the discipline and still finish your doctorate in a timely manner. As such, our task as mentors is to help you integrate your scholarship across research and teaching, nurture an intellectual community within which you flourish and build your ability to be a long-standing steward of our discipline.

Our thinking about a successful doctoral program is bounded by four overlapping and perhaps seemingly contradictory notions focused on stewarding the discipline:

Build Scientific Content Knowledge

Scholars in science education know science and have pedagogical content knowledge.

Build an expert knowledge base in science

Know and Apply Research in Science Education

Scholars know, respect, preserve, and honor the history and methods of those that have worked before us.

Learn the literature

Transform and Create New Knowledge

Scholars have the moral responsibility to create and invent new knowledge by engaging in new paradigms.

Keep moving the discipline forward

Teach by Learning and Sharing

Scholars have the moral responsibility to publicly share their innovative ideas.

Do important and valuable work

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