The Instructional Leadership Ph.D. with concentration in Social and Cultural Studies is dedicated to the improvement of professional practice within learning communities.  We develop future scholars, researchers, and instructional leaders for schools, colleges and other learning institutions.  Our work is guided by the principles of reflective practice, professional growth, democratic action, and individual responsibility. The overarching goal is the preparation of theoretically-informed leaders with the critical understanding of social and cultural issues necessary to enact organizational, curricular, and pedagogic reforms within their respective institutional settings.

Program Coordinator:  Dr. John Petrovic

Main Office:  301 Graves

“From my first contact with faculty in Social and Cultural Studies of ELPTS, I was never made to feel like a student but rather a colleague.  It makes  a world of difference when the professors view you, treat you, and, ultimately, help cultivate you into a critical scholar-practitioner whose work and scholarship matter.  This is a characteristic not found in all places so I count myself among the very privileged who call SCS their academic home.” Jean Swindle, Assistant Professor in Urban Education, Rockford University

“I got encouraging support from program faculty and a solid grounding in educational philosophy, pedagogical theory, and policy issues. Beyond preparation for my dissertation and research program, my UA PhD experience has opened doors to dialogue with education scholars across the country and the globe.” Paul Landry, Assistant Professor, Heritage University

“When I look back on my time spent as a graduate student in this program, I am thankful for the collegiality, mentoring for conferences and the continual support which has helped me develop as a researcher and teacher.” Puneet Gill, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M International University

“I came to the University of Alabama specifically because of the expertise and support offered by the faculty teaching in the Social and Cultural Studies concentration. They helped me expand my philosophical, historical, and theoretical understandings, while also giving me enough freedom to pursue my particular interests from within the program. Additionally, I found the camaraderie and the academic caliber of my peers to be vital to my growth both during and since leaving Tuscaloosa. I couldn’t be more grateful to those who helped shape my doctoral experience, as it has allowed for an easy transition – pedagogically and academically – into my current faculty position at California State University, Fresno.” Dr. Becky L. Noël Smith




Dr. Natalie Adams

Professor, Foundations of Education

feminist postructuralism
girl studies
curriculum theory

Dr. Becky Atkinson

Associate Professor, Foundations of Education

teacher knowledge

Dr. Nirmala Erevelles

Professor, Foundations of Education

critical race theory
disabilities studies
post-colonial theory

Dr. Douglas McKnight

Professor, Foundations of Education

curriculum theory
policy studies

Dr. John Petrovic

Professor, Foundations of Education

philosophy of education
liberal political theory
language policy
critical pedagogy



Laura Ballard

Program Support