Philip Wexler, a sociologist of education and dean of the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, has been named a "best research practice" professor at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia.
The prestigious appointment carries an invitation to spend seven weeks this fall working with Newcastle education faculty on ways they can enhance the quality of their research program.
"This program is about bringing internationally distinguished scholars at the peaks of their careers to Newcastle. Our faculty consult with these visitors about how we can strengthen our research programs so they meet the highest international standards of quality. We look for people in a range of disciplines who are the best in their fields," said Sue Beach, executive officer in the vice chancellor's office.
The "best research practice" program is part of Newcastle's response to a federal government quality assurance initiative. Wexler will conduct seminars, give public lectures, assess the quality of ongoing research, and guide individuals regarding the design of research projects. Nine others besides Wexler have also been invited.
"In the sociology of education, Philip Wexler is very well known in Australia," said Jennifer Gore, senior lecturer in education at Newcastle. "We have a tradition of concern about social justice in our educational system, especially as it relates to our indigenous populations, aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders. His work in the formation of identity is very interesting to us."
Said Ivor Goodson, "We regard Wexler as one of the leading social analysts of education in America. Distinctively, his work has an impact way beyond the frontiers of America, in places as far apart as Australia and Finland." Goodson, professor of education and sociology at University of Western Ontario, is also executive director of Falmer Press, which published Wexler's 1992 book, Becoming Somebody: Toward a Social Psychology of School. The book explored relationships between teachers and students in three different high schools, and looked at how young people form ideas about their place in the world.
Wexler became the Warner School's dean in 1989, and he continues serving in that post. A faculty member since 1979, Wexler addresses in his research and books fundamental questions about what education is and what its role in society should be. His other books include The Sociology of Education: Beyond Equality (1976), Critical Social Psychology (1983), and Social Analysis of Education: After the New Sociology (1987). He also is editor of After Postmodernism: Education, Politics, and Identity, (1995, Falmer Press), and serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals, and book series.