Whitney Blankenship

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Coordinator of Secondary History Education and Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, Rhode Island College Providence, RI


Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, 2008


My first introduction to the Social Studies faculty was through my first advisor, Dr. Sherry Field, and it was at that meeting that I found I out that I was the first person to be admitted to the new Social Studies Ph.D. program (my other colleagues transferred over from Curriculum Studies for the most part).  Over the course of the four and half years I spent at U.T. I had the pleasure of working with an excellent faculty, including my wonderful Chair, Dr. Cinthia Salinas. Dr. Salinas & Dr. Field introduced me to many of the leaders in Social Studies Education research and encouraged my research efforts.

The sense of community within the Social Studies department was one of the most valuable components of the program. Faculty and students actively worked together to not only improve each other’s academic work, but also worked together to provide a social network of support for everyone in the department. The friends I made during my time at U.T. continue to be a major source of support as we all have dispersed across the country, taking on new roles and responsibilities. The overwhelming support of the Social Studies community made all the difference in my studies. No matter what happened, on a personal or professional level, I knew that my Social Studies family could be relied on for support, comfort and advice. In my opinion this is what makes U.T. stand out over other programs, and I am proud to say that I am an alumnus of the U.T. School of Education.

Why UT?

During my initial search for a graduate program I came across U.T.’s Social Studies Education program on the web; at the time I was still a classroom teacher and I was looking for a program that would allow me to continue teaching while pursuing my doctorate.  I was thrilled to find a program that was specific to my interests as I had spent 17 years as a Social Studies teacher. Having the opportunity to delve deeper into a field that I loved was the perfect fit.

Life After UT

I am currently an Assistant Professor at Rhode Island College holding a dual appointment in Educational Studies and History. I am also the Coordinator for Secondary Education in History.

Advice for Students

My advice to current and future students is to make the most of the opportunities that come your way during grad school. Attend conferences, meet the key researchers in your field and volunteer for research opportunities when they arise. Mostly importantly, realize that your fellow grad students are going to be your professional peers from here on out, so take the time to get to know them on both a personal and professional level.  These are the folks you with whom you will collaborate, commiserate and celebrate over the course of you career.The relationships you build now will pay off once you enter the world of academia.