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ERIC Number: EJ1046770
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-2327-3607
Beyond Dependency: Strategies for Saving Foundations
Schutz, Aaron; Butin, Dan
Critical Questions in Education, v4 n2 p60-71 Spr 2013
The foundations field cannot sustain itself in its present condition. A range of complex forces have combined to marginalize foundations over the past few decades. The decline of this field as a separate discipline in schools of education has been abetted by the fact that foundations is generally a "service provider" to other programs. Over time, other departments have cannibalized foundations' content while dismissing their relevance. In this article, Associate Professors and Founding Deans Aaron Schutz and Dan Butin argue that to a large extent, foundations shares responsibility for the decline of their field; they have failed to come together in effective coalitions to defend their importance. At times, the content of their courses has sometimes seemed narrow and irrelevant, but even when they are not, content alone is unlikely to save them. Schutz and Butin observe that foundations generally operates from a position of relative weakness in schools of education: they provide service to programs but generally do not have their own strong programs. They "take" enrollment from other departments, but do not "give" enrollment to them or bring independent enrollment to the school. This leaves foundations in a position of dependency. The core argument of this paper is that the field of foundations needs to move beyond dependency toward a vision of foundations as, at least in part, a provider of robust (if collaborative) programs of its own, and he discusses a range of strategies designed to foster the development of such programs. Amidst the current environment, Schutz and Butin believe that foundations will find it increasingly difficult to make their arguments stick without the associated power to make themselves heard. This article is meant as a call to discussion and action. It begins with the belief that the foundations field is the best place in schools of education for rigorous and relevant examination of and engagement with issues of inequality and broader community-based issues as they relate to the context of schools. The authors outline the theoretical underpinning of this perspective and offer a case study of an already-existing program that has developed to the point that it could survive quite successfully even if all of the service courses were eliminated. They then discuss the potential lessons that could be drawn from this case study.
Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A