Student News

Graduate Student Association hosts 10th Annual Southeastern Association of Educational Studies Conference

“What is education?  What are the means and ends of education today?  How do the specialty areas fit within the larger sphere of education?”  Nick Shudak, doctoral student at the School of Education and conference chair, posed these questions to set the context for the 2005 annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Educational Studies (SEAES), held at the School of Education on Feb. 25-26, 2005.

Shudak engaged a panel of 12 education professors from UNC and other universities in a roundtable discussion of the meaning of education, focusing both on schools and on schools of education.  In their remarks, panelists acknowledged that there is an entity called “education” but debated the desirability of finding a single definition for it.  They pointed out that current legislation regarding educational funding suggests that people other than educators are trying to define education and educational processes. 

Following the panel, more than 100 graduate students, undergraduates, elementary and secondary teachers, community educators and university faculty shared a daylong exchange of creative ideas through research and theoretical presentations.  Current and former UNC students presented 22 sessions featuring their own ideas and work in progress. 

The SEAES Conference began in 1995 when Amee Adkins (Ph.D. ’97) and Kathy Hytten (Ph.D. ’96) ─ then doctoral students at the School of Education, now faculty members at Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University, respectively ─ had a vision of a regional research forum focusing on the disciplines of anthropology, history, sociology and philosophy of education.  Their vision has flourished over the past 10 years with meetings held in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina.  Both Adkins and Hytten participated in the panel at the 10th annual SEAES event. 

The School of Education’s Graduate Student Association (GSA) collaborated with the University’s Graduate and Professional Student Federation to host the conference. 

“This year the GSA has focused its efforts on the two goals of community and communication,” said Melanie Shoffner, School of Education doctoral student and GSA president. “Graduate school should be more than a handful of classes and a dissertation; it should be conversations and debates and arguments and discussions. SEAES was a great opportunity to see what graduate study represents beyond the classroom walls.”