Margaret Smith Crocco
As a social studies scholar, women's studies teacher and advocate, and educational historian, I have pursued a series of feminist engagements with citizenship education. My academic and personal life has been strongly influenced by ideas related to feminist praxis, for example, social justice, peace education, eco-feminism, human rights, and global awareness . My work in women's studies has also stimulated interest in innovative pedagogical practices and awareness of the critical role of education in improving the life prospects of female--and male--students, both in this country and elsewhere. The events of 2017 and 2018 and the rise of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have all reaffirmed the conviction that the struggle for women's rights remains important for this nation and the world. I reflect on the implications of these events for teaching about gender in social studies in a Spring 2018 piece prepared for the Social Studies Journal, which is published by the Pennsylvania Council for the Social Studies. The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. I am working with the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies and the National Council for the Social Studies on events and publications in recognition of that centennial.
Over the course of my career, I have taught social studies, women's history, American History, Women's Studies, and American Studies at institutions. At Teachers College, Columbia University, I created two signature courses: Women of the World: Issues in Teaching and Diversity and the Social Studies Curriculum. Both were efforts to make teacher education more inclusive of all students, but especially those attending urban schools. In Spring 2017, I offered a new capstone course in Women's Studies at MSU, WS897, which was sponsored by MSU's Center for Gender in a Global Context. In Fall 2018 I taught the Proseminar on "Power and Privilege in American Educational History" for incoming doctoral students in the Department of Teacher Education.
As an academic leader, I've served in a variety of positions. When I taught high school in New Jersey, I founded the Council for Women in Independent Schools and served as faculty development coordinator, leading a project on diversifying the curriculum. For ten years I coordinated the Program in Social Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. I was elected Chair of the largest department there, Arts and Humanities, with over eleven hundred students. As of May 31, 2019, I completed my five-year term as Chairperson of the largest department in MSU's College of Education, the Department of Teacher Education, left MSU, and retired to California.
I have pursued leadership opportunities outside of higher ed as well. When I was at Teachers College, besides the positions above, I was elected Chair of the Faculty Executive Council , the chief representative body for the one hundred and sixty faculty members at that institution. During this period, I also served on the Scholars and Advocates for Gender Equity committee at the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Recently, I was elected chair of AERA's Lives of Teachers Special Interest Group. In Spring 2018, I was once again elected Chair of the College and University Faculty Assembly (CUFA) of the National Council for the Social Studies, a position I held almost twenty years ago during my first tour of duty on CUFA's Executive Board.
Over the last several years, I have pursued various research and publication projects as well as ongoing work on curriculum development. My most recent research project, conducted with fellow MSU faculty members Anne-Lise Halvorsen, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Avner Segall, was funded by the Spencer Foundation: "Understanding High School Students' Use of Evidence in Deliberating Public Issues: An Empirical Study." Thus far, this research has yielded four publications: two in Kappan magazine ("Teaching with Evidence" and "Less Arguing, More Listening"); one, "Deliberating Public Policy Issues with Adolescents: Classroom Dynamics and Sociocultural Considerations," in Democracy and Education; and another, "Thinking Deeply, Thinking Emotionally: How High School Students Make Sense of Evidence," in Theory and Research in Social Education v46(2). In 2018-19, we have continued investigating discussion in social studies classrooms with one of the original teachers from the earlier project, looking at discussion of gun control and climate change, among others, in his high school classroom and the role of civility and passion in such discussions.
Born in Illinois, and reared in New Jersey, I did my undergraduate studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and my graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.