Patricia K. Kubow (1967 - )

Kubow, Patricia K

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

Patricia Kristine Kubow, Ph.D. is a prominent scholar of comparative education known for advocating democratic processes of knowledge formation. Primarily a qualitative researcher, her scholarship focuses on citizenship education, indigenous knowledge systems, teacher education, cross-cultural pedagogies, and educational policy. In 1996, she earned her Ph.D. in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota. Currently, she is Professor in the School of Leadership and Policy Studies and founding Director of The Center for International Comparative Education (ICE) at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, USA. She teaches graduate and undergraduate level courses such as Comparative Education, Comparative Higher Education, and Education in a Pluralistic Society. Kubow demonstrates her commitment to the field by actively participating in a number of organizations such as the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), the Comparative Education Society in Europe (CESE), and the South African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES). The White House, the United States Agency for International Development, the American Educational Research Association, and the Association of Teacher Educators among others have presented her with awards for her research. In 2009, she was honored to accept an invitation to deliver the keynote address at the SACHES annual conference.

Kubow's scholarly publications in the field of comparative education are numerous. Most notably, she coauthored a textbook with Paul R. Fossum entitled Comparative Education: Exploring Issues in International Context (2003, 2007) that is being taught in universities in thirteen countries. She has also published numerous book chapters and articles in journals such as Comparative Education Review (2007), Educational Policy (2002), and Education and Society (2005).

Though she has traveled widely, she has conducted much of her research in Kenya and South Africa. She and John M. Fischer co-directed the Education for Democracy Project, which "drew upon educators' local and global perspectives about democracy and their lived experiences in democracies to develop a democratic curriculum for use in Kenyan and South African schools" (Kubow & Fischer, 2004, p. 7). Using critical theory as a framework, Kubow and Fischer developed a method for creating a democratic citizenship curriculum called Democratic Concept Development (DCD). The four central components of DCD are dialogue, knowledge, power, and praxis. They maintain that DCD allows educators to first understand how democracy is shaped by their unique cultures and then to develop and teach democratic lessons that reflect their understanding (Kubow & Fischer, 2004, 2006). Kubow (2007) also argues that in writing curriculum for democratic citizenship, researchers need to seek the knowledge of indigenous peoples because such knowledge allows for a notion of democracy that extends beyond the economic and political realms to include cultural and social influences.

Kubow cares deeply about the future of comparative education. The field, she asserts, is useful for preservice and inservice teachers because it affords future educators the opportunity to "consider schooling's underlying assumptions and to reflect on the gaps between stated educational objectives and actual educational outcomes" (Kubow & Fossum, 2008, p. 160). A former secondary teacher herself, she believes that professors of comparative education need to pay more attention to their role as instructors of future teachers (Kubow & Fossum, 2008, p. 164). Presently, Kubow works to shape the field in this way as Director of Bowling Green State University's Center for International Comparative Education (ICE). This is evidenced in the scholarship produced by the Center and its collaborative endeavors between comparative education researchers and K-12 teachers. Moreover, The ICE Center's Comparative Education Instructional Materials Archive (CEIMA) serves as a clearinghouse for the collection of instructional materials from universities worldwide.

Kubow's research has undoubtedly shaped the way comparativists conceptualize education's role in fostering democratic citizenship. Through engaging in collaborative, dialogic processes of knowledge production, students, teachers, professors, and policy-makers can more fully understand what it means to be a democratic citizen.

Link: The Center for International Comparative Education, Bowling Green State University

Educational Background

. B.A. English Education, Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), 1989

. M.A. International Development Education, University of Minnesota, 1994

. Ph.D. Comparative and International Development Education, University of Minnesota, 1996

Educational Background

. B.A. English Education, Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), 1989

. M.A. International Development Education, University of Minnesota, 1994

. Ph.D. Comparative and International Development Education, University of Minnesota, 1996

Professional Background

. Professor, Bowling Green State University, 1998-present

. Founder and Director of The Center for International Comparative Education, Bowling Green State University, 2007-present

. Visiting Research Professor, University of the Western Cape, South Africa, 2006

. Lecturer, University of Minnesota, 1997-1998

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

. Comparative and International Education Society

CIES Special Interest Groups (SIGs):

Citizenship and Democratic Education


Globalization and Education

. American Educational Research Association (AERA)

. Comparative Education Society in Europe (CESE)

. South African Comparative and History of Education Society (SACHES)

. Association of Teacher Educators (ATE)

Selected Publications

Kubow, P.K. (2009). Democracy, identity, and citizenship education in South Africa: Defining a nation in a post-colonial and global era. In J. Zajda, H. Daun, L.J. Saha (Eds.), Nation-building, identity and citizenship education: Cross-cultural perspectives. (Book series: Globalisation, comparative education and policy research (Volume 3). London: Springer.

Kubow, P.K. (2008). Developing citizenship education curriculum cross-culturally: A democratic approach with South African and Kenyan educators. In E.D. Stevick & B.A.U. Levinson (Eds.), Advancing democracy through education?: U.S. influence abroad and domestic practices (pp. 159-178). Book series: Education policy in practice: Critical cultural studies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Kubow, P. K. & Fossum, P. R. (2008). Comparative education in the USA. In C. Wolhuter, N. Popov, M. Manzon, & B. Leutwyler (Eds.), Comparative education at universities world wide (2nd ed., pp. 157-166). Sofia: Bureau for Educational Services.

Kubow, P.K., Wahlstrom, K.L., & Bemis, A. (2008). Starting time and school life. In L. Behrens & L.J. Rosen, Writing and reading across the curriculum (10th ed.) (pp. 561-566). New York: Pearson/Longman.

Kubow, P.K. (2007). Teachers' constructions of democracy: Intersections of Western and indigenous knowledge in South Africa and Kenya. Comparative Education Review, 51(3), 307-328.

Kubow, P.K., & Fossum, P.R. (2007). Comparative education: Exploring issues in international context (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education/Merrill Prentice Hall.

Kubow, P.K., & Fischer, J.M. (2006). Democratic concept development: A dialogic process for developing education curriculum. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 1(3), 197-219.

Kubow, P.K. (2005). African wisdom and democratic classrooms: Kenya and South Africa. Education and Society, 23(3), 21-33.

Kubow, P.K. (2004). Complex identities: Negotiating self, educator, and citizen in the Education for Democracy Project. INQUIRY: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines, 23(4), 13-18.

Kubow, P.K. (2004). Teaching for democratic citizenship. In D.R. Walling (Ed.), Public education, democracy, and the common good (pp. 101-107). Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation.

Kubow, P. K. & Fischer, J. M. (2004). The Education for Democracy Project: Using democratic pedagogies to create indigenous curriculum. Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across Disciplines, 23(4), 7-12.

Kubow, P.K., & Fossum, P.R. (2004). Korean translation by Professor Kim Dong-ewi of text, Comparative education: Exploring issues in international context. Seoul, Korea: Kyoyook Kwahak Sa Publishing.

Fossum, P. R. Kubow, P. K. (2003). Teacher peripheralization in comparative education: Causes, consequences, and some responses. In M. B. Ginsburg and J. M. Gorostaiga (Eds.), Limitations and possibilities of dialogue among researchers, policy makers, and practitioners (pp. 83-94). New York, NY: Routledge Falmer.

DeBard, R., & Kubow, P.K. (2002). From compliance to commitment: The need for constituent discourse in implementing testing policy. Educational Policy: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Policy and Practice, 16(3), 387-405.

Kubow, P.K. (2002). Preparing future secondary teachers for citizenship educator roles: A possible direction for pre-service education in the new century. In Y.C. Cheng, K.T. Tsui, K.W. Chow, & M.M.C. Mok (Eds.), Subject teaching and teacher education in the new century: Research and innovation (pp. 249-271). Hong Kong, SAR: The Hong Kong Institute of Education.


Created: 7/18/2010

Updated: 7/20/2010

Contributed By: Allison H. Blosser, Loyola University Chicago