Students Earn First Doctoral Degrees in Childhood Studies

Rutgers–Camden will confer doctoral degrees to the first three graduates of its landmark Ph.D. in childhood studies program during the Faculty of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 23.

It is an unprecedented achievement on a national scale.  The graduates – Lara Saguisag, Deborah Valentine, and Marla Wander – will become the first recipients of a Ph.D. in childhood studies from any higher education institution in the United States. While a handful of undergraduate and master’s programs in childhood studies exist in the United States and Great Britain, Rutgers–Camden launched the nation’s first doctorate in this discipline in 2007.

It is likewise an historic achievement for Rutgers University, as the graduates become the first recipients of a doctoral degree on the university’s Camden campus.

Kris Lindenmeyer, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, lauds the cutting-edge, interdisciplinary nature of the childhood studies program for its ability to offer fresh perspectives on issues that traditional fields have not addressed. “The graduation of these three Ph.D. students in childhood studies is really where the future of arts and sciences is,” says Lindenmeyer. “This comprehensive approach really opens it up to talking beyond what had been our narrowly focused ways of looking at the world.”

The Ph.D. in childhood studies program provides an advanced theoretical and methodological study of children and childhood. It prepares scholars capable of innovative research in this interdisciplinary field, as well as policy leaders with new perspectives in child-related social practice. Students enroll in a core set of courses that serve as the foundation for a series of investigations, culminating in a dissertation through which students develop their expertise as scholars in childhood studies. Throughout their studies, students in the Ph.D. program work closely with their advisors and other members of the faculty.

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