Dr. Molly Quinn, Professor of Education at Augusta University, has been elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (AAACS).
“Curriculum studies is, very basically, scholarship on what should be taught in schools. What knowledge should be in the curriculum, and how do we make those decisions,” Quinn said. The study deals with the foundational questions about the content of educational systems, the manner in which a society decides what to include, and how that information is framed for students in the classroom.
The organization is the American arm of the International Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies, which is a global collective that provides scholarly conversation about the content and context of curriculum as it is defined around the world.
The AAACS explores the relationship between school programs and the contours of the society and culture in which schools are located. Recognizing that social and cultural knowledge is also passed on through educational systems, the organization does not seek to standardize the knowledge shared with students, nor the methods by which that knowledge is shared. There is no goal of uniformity. Rather, the organization seeks to understand and research the various nation-specific and locally defined models of conveying knowledge to students.
For example, the most recent national conference focused on the ethics of historical engagement, and on how we understand our history and convey our knowledge of it in an ethical manner.
“What our organization seeks to do is to examine knowledge critically and focus on ways in which we determine the best knowledge we have,” Quinn said.
Recent questions that drive curriculum in American education might include whether or not to teach climate change and global warming in science classes; how to determine what authors and books to include in literature classes; and how to talk about the contributions of various groups in history classes.
These decisions are impacted by but also themselves impact the national conversation around people, places and events. And so Quinn hopes to see increased engagement in the field of curriculum studies. She said, “I hope to help AAACP continue to examine these issues, grow our national conference, and increase the global conversation around curriculum studies.”