Theory and Policy Studies in Education | OISE/UT | University of Toronto

Current Academics

Dieter Misgeld, Dr. Phil. (Heidelberg)
Program Coordinator and Professor, cross-appointed to the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science, University of Toronto

Research Interests: For many years I have dedicated myself to the assimilation and interpretation, in North America, of some forms of European social theory and political philosophy, applying them to education and to the theory of the social sciences.

In recent years I have changed my emphasis and now I include in social theory and philosophy more historical, ethically normative and practical elements. I have felt the need to take this step due to an intensive and sustained encounter with the theme of human rights in the context of Latin American politics and culture. Extended visits and working association in Chile and Mexico, but also regular interaction with refugees, activists and researchers from Colombia have led to this rethinking of themes in European social theory and their being relocated toward the Americas.

The major research themes and efforts therefore are at present:
1. The legacies of injustice and widespread suffering in the Americas: differences between North and South in this regard
2. Human rights and projects of social emancipation in the new global constellation.
3. Possible educational responses to situations of extreme suffering and oppression.
4. Modernity, democracy and post-national identities (themes from critical social theory).

It is my intention to include students in a thorough discussion of these topics and my courses are arranged to achieve this purpose.


Nina Bascia, Ph.D. (Stanford)
Chair of Theory and Policy Studies in Education and Associate Professor

Research Interests: organizational and social context of teaching and administration; teachers' unions and professional associations; teacher leadership and development; educational policy analysis and program evaluation

Glen A. Jones, Ph.D. (Toronto)
Associate Professor (on sabbatical from January 2002 to December 2002)

Research Interests: My research focuses on policy and politics of higher education in Canada. I am interested in the relationships between institutions of higher education and government, the relationships between institutions, and the decision making process within these institutions. Aside from the formal structures, I am curious about the role played by pressure groups and individuals both inside and outside the higher education community in influencing policy. Recent projects have included a national survey of Canadian university senates and senate members (sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), national studies of faculty and student organizations, and the critical analysis of higher education policy in Ontario. My publications include: Higher Education in Canada: Different Systems, Different Perspectives (Garland, New York, 1997); The University and the State: Reflections on the Canadian Experience (Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education, 1998); and "Traditional Governance Structures - Current Policy Pressures: The Academic Senate and Canadian Universities" (with Theresa Shanahan and Paul Goyan in Tertiary Education and Management, 2002). My most recent project involved co-editing a book on university governance involving contributions from scholars in nine countries.

Other projects have been sponsored by UNESCO, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Bertelsmann Foundation, Human Resources and Development Canada, and the Law Society of Upper Canada.


John Portelli, Ph.D. (McGill)
Professor (on sabbatical January 1, 2003 to June 30, 2003)

Research Interests: Democratic values and critical leadership; student engagement and critical pedagogy; educational standards and issues of equity and diversity; philosophical issues in educational administration and policy studies; developing critical/philosophical discussions in schools; the Maltese in Canada.

Recent projects have included: (a) a national project on student engagement in school life and learning, and (b) an inter-disciplinary research on The Maltese in Toronto: A Voice from the Periphery.

He is currently working on three other projects:
i. "Toward an Equitable Education: Diversity, Poverty and Students At-Risk" (a national study);
ii. Student engagement and conceptions of education;
iii. A Critical Analysis of the OTQT.

Recent publications include: Philosophy of Education: Introductory Readings (2001, 3rd revised edition) co-edited with William Hare; The Erosion of Democracy in Education: From Critique to Possibilities (2001) co-edited with R.Patrick Solomon; What to Do? Case Studies for Teachers (1998) co-authored with William Hare; A Curriculum of Life (2002, with Ann Vibert); Beyond Common Standards: Toward a Curriculum of Life (2001, with Ann Vibert); School Leadership and Critical Practice in an Elementary School (2001, with Ann Vibert); Fr. Fortunato Mizzi's Contribution to Maltese Catholics in Toronto (2001).

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In the near future, we will be providing links to recent publications.