Dr. Petra Munro Hendry, St. Bernard Chapter of the LSU Alumni Association Endowed Professor, received the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division B Lifetime Achievement Award in Curriculum Studies on April 9, 2016 at the AERA National Meeting in Washington D.C. The AERA is a national research society with an international scope that strives to advance knowledge about education, encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. AERA Division B grants a Lifetime Achievement Award annually to a professional in the field of education who exhibits excellence in education research, who shows vast knowledge in his or her particular area of research, and who has made valuable contributions to that area. She joins other Lifetime Award recipients including Ralph W. Tyler, Maxine Greene, Elliot W. Eisner, Michael W. Apple, William Doll, William Pinar, and Nel Noddings.
According to Dr. Janet Miller, Professor, Columbia University, who nominated Hendry, her “sustained scholarly contributions to the field of curriculum studies, including curriculum history, feminist curriculum theorizing, narrative inquiry and life history research are substantial and highly influential…Viewed collectively, Petra’s innovative and intensely focused scholarly record as well as her service to the curriculum field across years of mentoring and active participation within our field’s varied commitments and activities – all combine to position her as a most deserving recipient of our Division’s highest honor for lifetime achievement.” Of particular importance to the field, Dr. Miller highlighted how Hendry’s “historical and biographical scholarship especially has enriched the field’s understanding of crucial roles played by women activists.” Her co-authored book, Pedagogies of Resistance: Women Educator Activists 1880-1960, published by Columbia University, is according to Miller “considered by many as a premier text in the study of women education activists in relation to a rethinking of the progressive era.”
Since arriving at LSU in 1999, Hendry has written and co-authored five books, contributed more than 40 individual book chapters and published more than 20 journal articles. Additionally, Hendry has received 15 scholarly grants totaling nearly $200,000. Dr. Craig Kridel, E.S. Gambrell Professor of Educational Studies at the University of South Carolina, in his nomination letter, noted that, “Petra Munro Hendry’s scholarship is thoughtful and serves a greater good-informing and educating members of the field of curriculum to look at the present and the past with greater understanding. The well-known becomes fresh, and the original becomes insightful. This is most dramatically displayed in her three major treatises: Subject to Fiction, Pedagogies of Resistance and Engendering Curriculum History. The brilliance of this scholarship is embedded in both content and method as she engages in sophisticated interpretation. Curriculum studies becomes embedded in the struggle for social justice in both the academy and schools.”
“Petra Hendry’s scholarship has helped to reshape curriculum studies in the United States,” said William F. Pinar, Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of British Columbia, world-renowned scholar in curriculum studies. Hendry published Engendering Curriculum History in 2011, a book William F. Pinar describes as “a breathtaking scholarly achievement, rewriting not only curriculum history but also the history of education expansively conceived. In the future the book may be regarded as the pinnacle of decades of research on gender, feminist theory, and, more specifically, the historical study of women educators.” William H. Schubert, Professor, University of Illinois, Chicago, in his letter of nomination states, “Her publications and presentations have enabled me to rethink taken-for-granted dimensions of gender, race and ethnicity in my own work in curriculum history. I see her book Engendering Curriculum History, as a landmark publication.”
Hendry’s historical work has also been focused on local community histories in Louisiana, most significantly in Old South Baton Rouge. In 2006, Hendry received the “Preservation Honor Award for Education, Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation” for her 15-year oral history research project with community activists and high school students conducting 230 interviews to document the African American history of this neighborhood and its high school, McKinley, which was the first public-funded high school for blacks in the Deep South. In 2009, she co-authored Old South Baton Rouge: Roots of Hope, a book “deeply situated within rigorous oral and archival history for which Professor Hendry as been regarded an exemplar for years” according to William Schubert. Her collaborative, community work, drawing on narrative methodologies, holds that history is an everyday practice. Research is not just a “method,” but a mode of being in relation and honoring that which makes us human. The oral history interviews are now archived at the Caver Library and at Hill Memorial Library at LSU.
In addition to her scholarly work, she plays a leadership role in the field of curriculum studies both locally and nationally. She has served as the co-director of the Curriculum Theory Project (CTP) at LSU from 2006-2016, “a project that has enabled graduate students, both within and without LSU’s academic contexts, to interact with curriculum studies scholars across a wide range of our field’s varied emphases and perspectives,” said Dr. Janet Miller. Dr. Hongyu Wang, Professor at Oklahoma State University, noted in her letter of nomination that, “CTP under her leadership continues to create a significant space for complicated, interdisciplinary, and rich intellectual conversations nationally and internationally.”
Dr. Neil Mathews, director of SOE, said the Lifetime Achievement Award signifies the importance of the research conducted by CHSE faculty. “The award brings recognition to her outstanding scholarship and lifetime commitment to quality educational research,” said Mathews, director of SOE. “The School of Education is pleased that the premier research and professional education association in the world recognizes her career accomplishments.”
Hendry said she feels immensely honored and humbled to receive the AERA Lifetime Achievement Award. In Hendry’s acceptance speech, she said, “I would not be the scholar I am today without having participated in the robust and rich dialogues that take place at LSU. It is truly a unique, even magical place. I continue to have the privilege to study with and learn from brilliant students who teach me more than I ever teach them. And, I am indebted to my extraordinary colleagues who continuously challenge me to question my taken for granted assumptions.”
The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction and in Educational Leadership, Research, and Counseling. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.
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