The Elusiveness of Critical Education
A Fifteen-Year Roller Coaster Ride of Creating and Maintaining A Transformative Leadership Program in Neoliberal Times
Keywords:neoliberalism, critical education, resistance, doctoral education, social justice education, curriculum development
This autoethnographic essay captures fifteen-years of struggles and ephemeral victories associated with developing and sustaining a critical educational leadership doctoral program within a conservative college of education located in the Midwestern United States. Despite having to grapple with non-critical faculty members and neoliberal forces designed to increase enrollment and gut the transformative focus of our program, we were able to keep the program vibrant for over 12 years. To our surprise, the dismantling of the doctoral program began to unfold when one of the core members of the program, a self-professed radical scholar, became a neoliberal administrator obedient to the interests of a new administrative team. The essay provides critical fodder for thinking about the limits and possibilities of sustaining critical educational initiatives amid a sociopolitical context designed to commercialize knowledge, to depoliticize radical intellectuals, and to divide faculty in the struggle to build an egalitarian society.
Copyright (c) 2021 Lauren Hoffman, Brad J. Porfilio
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