Our Model


At Bard we believe that the educators most needed for these times must be knowledgeable, skilled, and uniquely prepared to teach and lead in the communities and institutions they serve. Such educators are also curious, broadly educated, and sufficiently reflective to continually situate this work in a wider social, historical, and institutional context. This capacity to navigate skillfully between the specific demands of classroom practice and the cultural contexts that shape instruction remains the defining mark of any great teacher or educational leader.

Classroom to Context

As such, the Bard program guides graduate candidates from "classroom to context" over two years, allowing considerable flexibility to develop fieldwork and individualized research projects that produce highly skilled and liberally educated professionals. Year 1 focuses on the development of the candidate's teaching practice in a dynamic classroom setting. In Year 2, candidates move to propose, research, and defend an interdisciplinary project in the candidate's chosen area of concentration.

Placing Your Work in Los Angeles

During the first summer term, candidates formalize a field placement in a new or ongoing instructional or leadership role in a local educational setting. Most often this setting will be a public school classroom, but candidates may seek or hold placements in an independent or alternative school, after-school program, museum or informal education setting, tutoring or mentoring program, community organization, or other educational non-profit. In many cases, continuing service or employment in education positions can meet requirements for field placement credit. Candidates who are pursuing a single subject teaching credential must find a public school placement that meets specific state requirements.

Every effort is made to support candidates who make commitments to teach in nearby schools serving low-income families. The Bard program is aligned with the calendar of the Los Angeles Unified School District as well as several partnering charter networks.  Courses are offered on weekends and evenings to facilitate concurrent employment. Prospective students should inquire with the Bard MAT office to discuss available placement options.

Determining Your Research Project

In Year 2, candidates propose an area of research concentration, develop a proposal for an extended independent project, and identify a faculty adviser. The project proposal is reviewed by a faculty committee for recommendations, revisions, and approval. The candidate is expected to coordinate this research project with two semester-long School & Society seminars (Art, Activism and the Making of Modern Los Angeles and Transnational Los Angeles), four community education electives, and monthly mentoring support from their faculty adviser.

Research projects can vary widely, drawing on the disciplines of history, literature, mathematics, science, the arts and humanities, and ethnic studies. Candidates' projects should pose questions about the subject matter, purposes, and practices of public education in a democratic society. Projects are expected to draw from Los Angeles and Southern California's unique communities, histories, institutions, and other cultural resources. Topics for research can address the subject matter taught in the secondary curriculum (history and social science, literature, STEM subjects), educational policy, history of education, immigration and human rights, arts education, music education, literacy practices, restorative justice, education for adjudicated youth, environmental education, community education, community health education, and support for first-generation college students.

Sample of Past Project Titles

Moving Borders and Fractured Perspectives: Postcolonialism in Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange
Place and Space: A Marxist Look into South East Los Angeles’s Industrial Belt Labor Politics
Representing the Urban Crisis: A Cultural Historiography, 1960–1973
Blowout! A New Student Identity
Reading the World: In Search of Jimmy Santiago Baca's A Place to Stand 
Watts 1965: Riots or Uprising?
Wanda Coleman’s ‘Love Cry’: An Exploration of Identity and Class in Los Angeles
From Missions to Boarding Schools: The Educational Colonization of Native Americans
The Grotesque Heterotopia: The New Orleans of A Confederacy of Dunces
Poetics of Space: Lord Byron’s Journey to Rome
Out of Time: Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God
Signs of Life: On Nomadism, Porcelain, and Transformation in Bruce Chatwin’s Utz
A Dream of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement, 1955–1965
Place and Pattern in Invisible Cities 
 [Ursula K. Le Guin's] Tehanu Revisions 
Her Story: Women in America from Colonialism to the Early Republic
1943 Called, It Wants Its Style Back
First Transcontinental Railroad: Economical, Cultural, and Environmental Effects

Community Education Electives

Community Education Electives typically meet salary point requirements approved by the LAUSD and offer Bard graduate students, mentor teachers, and other program partners an opportunity to explore specific topics in-depth for a single credit. CEE courses build candidates' writing, research, and reading skill while encouraging the development of curriculum and instructional strategies connected to course content. The Bard faculty, in conversation with each cohort, meets in the Spring of Year 1 and Summer of Year 2 to recommend CEE courses that align or help strengthen candidate research projects.