M. Adam Howard

Charles A. Dana Professor of Education

Office: Miller Library 036 [ campus map ]
Box 4420

Phone: 207-859-4428
Fax: 207-859-4425
Mailing Address:
4420 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8844
Howard, M. Adam


B.A., English Education
Berea College, 1993

Ed.M., Learning and Teaching
Harvard University, 1995

Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction
University of Cincinnati, 1998

Areas of Expertise

  • Social class issues in education
  • Elite schooling and affluent youth
  • Sociology of Education
  • Curriculum Studies

Courses Currently Teaching

CourseCourse Title
ED213 ASchools and Society
ED322 ASocial Class and Schooling
ED324 AElite Schooling in Global Context
ED326 ACollaborative Research in Privilege
ED493 ASenior Seminar in Educational Studies

Professional Information

Adam Howard, Ed.D., is Professor of Education at Colby College. Prior to Colby he taught at Hanover College, Lesley University Graduate School of Education, and Antioch College. At Antioch he also held the administrative positions of Director of Teacher Education and Associate Dean of Faculty. Prior to teaching at the college level, he taught high school English and history at Cincinnati Country Day School and directed Summerbridge Cincinnati, Inc., a non-profit organization designed to provide academic support to disadvantaged middle school students while encouraging high school and college students to consider a teaching career path.

Professor Howard's research explores social class issues in education with a particular focus on privilege and elite education. He is co-editor (with Ruben Gaztambide-Fernandez) of Educating Elites: Class Privilege and Educational Advantage and (with Patricia Linn and Eric Miller) Handbook for Research in Cooperative Education and Internships. He is author of Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling and co-author (with 23 current and former Colby students) of Negotiating Privilege and Identity in Educational Contexts.

Current Research

Professor Howard's research primarily focuses on the relationship between identity development and advantages in order to form better understandings of how privilege works. He frequently engages his students in participatory action research projects to explore how privilege is reinforced by and through the daily practices of privileged individuals and the structures, policies and practices of their educational institutions.

In 2014, Howard began a multisited global ethnography on the self-understandings of students attending elite secondary schools in six countries: Australia, Chile, Denmark, Ghana, Jordan, and Taiwan. This study builds on his previous research on affluent adolescents’ self-understandings in the United States to explore questions about the relationship between advantages and identify formation in other national contexts. In this study, there is a particular focus on the students’ understandings of self as global citizens. Howard is collaborating with his undergraduate students, who mostly come from class-privileged backgrounds, on this research project.


Howard, A., Polimeno, A., & Wheeler, B. (2014). Negotiating Privilege and Identity in Educational Contexts. New York: Routledge.

Howard, A., & Gaztambide-Fernandez, R. (Eds.). (2010). Educating Elites: Class Privilege and Educational Advantage. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Howard, A. (2008). Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling. New York: Routledge.

Linn, P., Howard, A., and Miller, E. (Eds.). (2004). Handbook for Research in Cooperative Education and Internships. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Selected Articles/Chapters
Howard, A., & Maxwell, C. (2021). Preparing leaders for the global south: The work of elite schools through global citizenship education. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. DOI: 10.1080/03057925.2021.1914550

Howard, A., & Maxwell, C. (2021). East meets West: Cultural negotiations between parents and staff at a Taiwanese elite school. Multicultural Education Review. DOI: 10.1080/2005615X.2021.1919961

Howard, A., & Maxwell, C. (2021). Conferred cosmopolitanism: Class-making strategies of elite schools across the world. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 42(4), 164-178.

Howard, A. (2020). Globally elite: Four domains of becoming globally-oriented within elite schools. Educational Review. DOI: 10.1080/00131911.2020.1805412

Howard, A., Pine, J., Muench, W., & Peck, S. (2020). Securing eliteness: Class strategies of an elite school in Chile. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 18(5), 564-577.

Howard, A., & Freeman, K. (2020). Teaching difference: Global citizenship education within an elite single-sex context. International Studies in Sociology of Education, 29(3), 204-223.

Howard, A., & Maxwell, C. (2020). Preparing democratic leaders within a Middle Eastern context. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 56, 22-27.

Howard, A. (2019). Enduring privilege: Schooling and elite formation in the United States. Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, Beiheft 65, 178-191.

Howard, A., Dickert, P., Owusu, G., & Riley, D. (2018). In service of the Western world: Global citizenship education with a Ghanaian elite context. British Journal of Educational Studies, 66(4), 497-514.

Howard, A., Swalwell, K., & Adler, K. (2018). Making class: Children’s perceptions of social class through illustrations. Teachers College Record, 120(7), 1-44.

Howard, A., & Maxwell, C. (2018). From conscientization to imagining redistributive strategies: Social justice collaborations in elite schools. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 16(4), 526-540.

Howard, A., & Nguyen, H. (2018). Privileged bonds: Lessons of belonging at an elite boarding school. In C. Halse (Ed.), Interrogating belonging for young people in schools (pp. 141-164). Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Howard, A. (2017). Making it political: Working toward transformation in the study of internationalisation of elite education. In C. Maxwell, U. Deppe, H-H Krüger, & W. Helsper (Eds.), Elite education and internationalisation: From the early years to higher education (pp. 331-345). Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Howard, A., & Kenway, J. (2015). Canvassing conversations: Obstinate issues in the study of elites and elite education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 28(9), 1005-1032.

Howard, A. (2013). Negotiating privilege through social justice efforts. In C. Maxwell & P. Aggleton (Eds.), Privilege, agency and affect: Understanding the production and effects of action (pp. 185-201). Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gaztambide-Fernandez, R., & Howard, A. (2013). Social justice, deferred complicity, and the moral plight of the wealthy. Democracy & Education, 21(7), Article 7.

Gaztambide-Fernandez, R., & Howard, A. (2012). Access, status, and representation: Reflections from two ethnographic studies of elite schools. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 43(3), 345-361.

Howard, A. (2011). Privileged pursuits of social justice: Exploring privileged college students' motivation for engaging in social justice. Journal of College and Character, 12(2), 1-14.

Howard, A. (2010). Elite visions: Privileged perceptions of self and others. Teachers College Record, 112(8), 1971-92.

Howard, A. (2009). Sorting out contradictions: Struggling to do what we say. Independent School, 69(1), 40-47.

Howard, A. (2009). Unlearning the lessons of privilege. Educational Leadership, 66(8).

Parker, B., & Howard, A. (2009). Beyond economics: Using social class life-based literary narratives with pre-service and practicing social studies and English teachers. High School Journal, 92(3), 3-13.

Howard, A., & England-Kennedy, E. (2006). Breaking the silence: Power, conflict, and contested frames within an affluent high school. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 37(4), 347-365.


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