Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA professor’s book named bestseller

The American Educational Research Association named “Leaders in the Historical Study of American Education” by Wayne Urban, a University of Alabama professor and associate director of the educational policy center, a bestseller.

Urban’s book is composed of 26 autobiographies written by historical leaders in the field of American education. It focuses on how these individuals came to work in their scholastic professions. In Urban’s case, his journey into education was purely accidental.

“I went down to Ohio State to study history and got a job at the residence hall,” Urban said. “In order to work at the residence hall, I had to take some education courses. I took them and wound up in history of education.”

Kate Rousmaniere, a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University, Ohio, wrote the afterword for Urban’s book upon his request. She and Urban have been friends for over 25 years, and Rousmaniere is familiar with all of the educators discussed in the book.

“Actually, I have met and know to a varying extent all of the educators who wrote for this book,” Rousmaniere said. “This made my reading of their essays especially meaningful and fulfilling for me, as I was able to find a connection between the scholarship of each author with their lives.”

“Leaders in the Historical Study of American Education” took Urban two years to complete and was written for the 50th anniversary of the History of Education Society. His book is third in a series edited by Leonard Waks, a retired professor from Temple University, who focuses on theorists of curriculum and philosophy.

“Beginning in the 1960s, colleges of education began to have people on staff with liberal arts disciplines, such as history, philosophy and sociology backgrounds in disciplines,” Urban said in a press release. “The idea of the series is to see what impact history, philosophy and sociology have on education.”

Although Urban’s book focuses on autobiographies of educational leaders, Urban said he hopes readers will take away a simpler lesson from his writing.

“We’re not really in control to the things that happen to us,” Urban said. “We need to kind of adjust and readjust and try and make the best of things.”

Rousmaniere said Urban’s positivity and relatable attitude defined him.

“In both person and in writing, he is very ‘down-to-earth’ in that he speaks and writes clearly and without disguise or subterfuge,” she said. “His historical insights have powerful implications for historical theory and practice, even though he does not write about or with theory.”

When asked how it felt to be a bestseller, Urban chuckled modestly.

“I was kind of happy,” he said.

Urban is the author or co-author of 10 books and is currently working on a biography of James Bryant Conant, a former president of Harvard University. His book is available through SensePublishers.



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