Sara Carpenter, PhD, MA

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education - Educational Policy Studies Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Education - Educational Policy Studies Dept
(780) 492-4441
7-133M Education Centre - North
8730 - 112 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2G5


I came to the University of Alberta following four years of teaching at the University of Toronto. Prior to teaching at UofT, I received my doctoral degree in Adult Education and Community Development (2011, OISE/University of Toronto) and a master's degree in Community Education (2005, University of Minnesota). I have worked as an adult educator in both community organizations and higher education and my research interests are informed by my work with refugee and migrant populations as well as feminist, anti-poverty, and immigrant rights campaigns. 

As a critical education scholar, I consider my work to involve two inner-related lines of inquiry. In one respect, I work with a wonderful group of feminist collaborators to develop the line of Marxist feminist theoretical analysis of education, learning, and social change. In another regard, my training in institutional ethnography leads me to 'study up' into institutions, examining organizational processes in order to better understand the reproduction of capitalist social relations. My research interests include:
  • Marxist Feminist theories of state, civil society, democracy, and social reproduction
  • Young adults, precarity, and social crisis
  • Politics of not-for-profit sector, civil society, and NGOs
  • Reproductive labor in not-for-profit sector
  • Capitalism, neoliberalism, and imperialism
  • Marxist and feminist critical pedagogies and popular education

Current Research Projects

1. Youth in Transition: War, Migration, and 'Regenerative Possibilities' (SSHRC Insight 2015-2020)

2. Postsecondary Education as Prerequisite: Understanding University Access and Bridging Initiatives for Adult & Non-Traditional Learners (SSHRC Insight 2018-2021)

3. Precarious & Non-Status Migrants in Education: Demographic Footholds (KIAS Research Cluster 2019-20)


I teach a variety of courses in Adult, Community, and Higher Education, including foundations, social movement learning, popular education, and learning and work. I also teach graduate courses in research methodology and contribute to our undergraduate program through teaching and learning about the sociology of public schooling. A large portion of my graduate teaching takes place through thesis supervision and mentorship. I work with students with whom I share subject area, theoretical, or methodological interests. Thus, my students work on a wide range of projects from critical theoretical orientations, including access to education, transformation of cultural institutions, migration justice work, and feminist institutional analysis. 


EDFX 490 - Additional Placement in an Education Related and/or Outside Alberta Context

Prerequisites: Introductory Field Experience and permission of the Assistant Dean, Field Experiences. Requires payment of additional student instructional support fees. Refer to the Fees Payment Guide in the University Regulations and Information for Students section of the Calendar.

Winter Term 2021
EDPS 545 - Learning and the Workplace

This course will focus on critical analysis of trends, policies and issues related to informal and formal learning of adults in, for, and through the workplace.

Winter Term 2021
EDPS 581 - Introduction to Evaluating Educational Research

Introduces students to a critical interpretation and evaluation of research in the specializations within the Department of Educational Policy Studies, using a wide range of orientations and approaches. Students may not receive credit for both EDPS 508 and EDPS 581. May contain alternative delivery sections; refer to the Fees Payment Guide in the University Regulations and Information for Students section of the Calendar.

Fall Term 2020
EDU 100 - Contexts of Education

This course focuses on the different contexts of professional practice within education. It critically examines the complex social relationships among educators as professionals and learners as participants in educational institutions. Teacher identity will be explored as a dynamic, reformative process in response to competing tensions that require an awareness of the positionality of educators. Preservice teachers will learn about the relationships between education and practice that are nested in social relations of learning that are also economic, political, and cultural. Engagement from a variety of perspectives they will develop professional knowledge for critical reconstructive practice. This course may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained in EDU 250, 300 or equivalent. [Department of Elementary Education, Department of Secondary Education]

Fall Term 2020

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