RE: [xmca] A CHAT initiative on the doctorate?

From: Cunningham, Donald James (
Date: Mon May 15 2006 - 13:40:04 PDT

That's a good start, Gordon. It is in the spirit of C. S. Peirce who
once defined a university as (modernizing it a bit):

"An association of men [and women] for the purpose of study, which
confers degrees which are acknowledged as valid throughout [the world],
is endowed, and is privileged by the state in order that the people may
receive intellectual guidance, and that theoretical problems which
present themselves in the development of civilization may be resolved."

Notice he talks about "study" in the sense of working together to
resolve problems. He deliberately avoided the sense of a university as a
place where people go to be "instructed". Your leading ideas emphasize
working together with mentors and colleagues on important, shared
problems. So would others agree with this as a leading idea?

Don Cunningham
Indiana University

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Gordon Wells
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 12:31 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] A CHAT initiative on the doctorate?

This is an interesting question, Don. To an extent, our new (2003)
doctoral program was influenced by the ideas of several members of my
department who are familiar with CHAT.
Four features of the program might be seen as taking account of
"leading activities" and/or "social situations of development":

1. Students are only admitted if there is a faculty member who
undertakes to act as their mentor.
2. During the first two years, each student undertakes a research
apprenticeship by working with their faculty mentor, ideally on a
joint project.
3. The students in each year form a cohort who take several courses
together and are encouraged to form study groups around topics of
shared interest.
4. There is a course on CHAT and Education (though this an elective,
not a required course).

What other ideas can people suggest that we should incorporate?


>I have been interested in the Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate
>(there is a recent article about it in the Educational Researcher -
>archer/3503/3592-03_Shulman_RN_C.pdf). It occurred to me that in our
>quest to identify good existing examples of zopeds, an alternative
>strategy might be to design one. Often it is easier to understand
>something you have created than something you are looking at from the
>outside. What would a doctoral program built along the principles of
>CHAT look like? For example, would there be "leading activities" and/or
>"social situations of development" and/or
>"meaning-formation-activities". If so, what are some examples? Would
>using Engestrom's triangles assist us in designing or revising a
>doctoral program? In what way would the essence of a zoped be embodied?
>Maybe some of you already know of such programs and could tell us about
>Anyone interested in exploring this?
>Don Cunningham
>Indiana University
>xmca mailing list

Gordon Wells
Dept of Education,
UC Santa Cruz.
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