Social Justice Sticker on a desk


The Mission of the Department of Educational Policy Studies

The Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison contributes scholarship and teaching intended to deepen and expand understandings of educational policy and practice, past and present, at local, national, and international levels. The department’s faculty and students examine educational policies, movements,  outcomes, dilemmas, and controversies — as well as the forces shaping them — using modes of inquiry associated with an array of scholarly fields and disciplines. These include history, sociology, anthropology, political economy, philosophy, policy analysis, and international comparative education. We strive to realize these purposes through excellence in four domains:

  • Undergraduate instruction and discussion that promotes critical and creative thinking and engagement with both contemporary and enduring issues  of educational policy and practice, helping to prepare students for engagement in a variety of educational settings (including as future teachers, researchers, parents, community members, and volunteers).
  • Graduate programs that provide students with advanced knowledge and competencies needed to interpret educational realities, policies, and challenges, to conduct educational research, and to serve as future faculty and scholars of educational policy and practice.
  • Research conducted by faculty that utilizes disciplinary approaches to interpret, explain, and analyze the local, state, national, and international contours of educational policy and practice, past and present.
  • Service to the university, community, state, nation, and globe, across public and private domains.

Our departmental efforts are guided by the conviction that as a diverse community of faculty and students committed to furthering social justice visions of education, we honor the intellectual and moral ideals of the School of Education and the university, and more effectively achieve educational and scholarly aspirations.

What Is Educational Policy Studies?

Educational policies are both the principles and governmental regulations within the educational sphere, as well as the laws and rules that govern the operations of educational systems. Examples of these laws and principles include shifting class sizes, school privatization, graduation requirements, investment in infrastructure, and more. 

Educational policy studies, therefore, is the deep exploration of these principles, laws, and regulations; the reasoning behind their development and implementation; the systemic and individual effects they have in their societies; and their efforts and results in the areas of equitability, social awareness, and justice.  

The UW–Madison Department of Educational Policy Studies examines these issues through a lens of both our own national history — its movements, controversies, phases, and evolution — as well as through a global lens, to prevent a myopic understanding of the history and outlook of educational policy. 

Contact Information

map of bascom hill with the education building highlighted

Main Office

Room 235, Education Building
1000 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 262-1760
Fax: (608) 262-0460

View full campus map