DeWitt Wallace Professor

Humanities, suite 100

Ruthanne Kurth-Schai is DeWitt Wallace Professor of Educational Studies at Macalester College. She completed her Ph.D. in Social & Philosophic Foundations of Education at the University of Minnesota where she focused her studies on the design of future cultural and educational systems. Before joining the faculty at Macalester, she taught science and math for a decade in local public schools, including the design and implementation an alternative program to support struggling junior high school students.

Dr. Kurth-Schai served as Chair of the Educational Studies department from 1992-2021 and provided administrative leadership of Macalester’s preK-12 teacher certification program from 1986-2006. Her teaching features full integration of educational philosophy, policy and practice aimed at deep, systemic social and educational reform. Her service commitments—spanning campus, community, state, national and international contexts—include initiatives to support youth civic participation and college access, complemented by efforts to enhance the quality of teacher education, to design and evaluate Educational Studies programs, and to advance equity and inclusion in public education policy.

An internationally recognized Deweyan scholar, Dr. Kurth-Schai’s research addresses the welfare and empowerment of children and youth, global civic education, holistic education, and education for democracy, social justice and environmental sustainability. She specializes in methods of cultural futures research aimed at generating consensus among diverse participants necessary to guide collective action in response to complex and controversial concerns. Her work is published in journals such as Educational Studies, Educational Foundations, Educational Theory, and Educational Forum. The second edition of her book, Re-envisioning Education & Democracy, co-authored with Charles R. Green, was published in 2016.

Dr. Kurth-Schai’s current work is centered on reimagining education and democracy in times of deep crisis. Engaging progressive and holistic philosophies across time and cultures, her scholarship seeks to provide tools necessary to support all people in contributing to deep, democratic, egalitarian and compassionate social and educational reform. This work is featured in workshops offered annually to teachers and educational studies faculty and students throughout Thailand. It is further reflected in a series of publications including “The Light in the Distance: Global Democracy and Humanity’s Hope for the Future” (International Encyclopedia of Education, vol. 1, Elsevier, 2023); “Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn: Schooling for Self-realization, Social Inquiry and Civic Contribution in Times of Deep Crisis” (forthcoming); and “Creating Value, Creative Democracy: Re-envisioning Civic Learning and Life in Dark Times,” The Dewey-Soka Heritage and the Future of Education, Peter Lang, forthcoming).