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, Malcolm 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
ED351J BPracticum in Education
ED493A ASenior Seminar: Researching for Social Justice

Professional Information

Adam Howard, Ed.D., is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Education and Chair of Education Department 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. Before teaching at the college level, he taught high school English and history at Cincinnati Country Day School and directed 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 focus on privilege and elite education. In particular, he studies the relationship between identity development and advantages in order to form better understandings of how privilege works through the daily practices of privileged individuals and the structures, policies and practices of their educational institutions. He is author of over 80 articles, books, and essays, including Learning Privilege: Lessons of Power and Identity in Affluent Schooling , Negotiating Privilege and Identity in Educational Contexts (with 23 Colby students), and Educating Elites: Class Privilege and Educational Advantage (with Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández).

Current Research

Professor Howard's current research focuses on what recent alumni of elite all-boys schools across the United States learned through their experiences at these schools. This study builds on Howard’s previous research on the lessons students at elite schools are taught about themselves, others and the world around them to explore questions about the relationship between advantages and identity formation. The study is guided by the following questions: What lessons did alumni of elite all-boys schools learn through their educational experiences and how did these lessons shape their understandings of self and others? What lessons did they learn from their schooling experiences about gender and, more specifically, masculinity? How did these lessons ‘travel’ with them to college and other contexts of their lives? Howard is collaborating with his undergraduate students, who mostly come from class-privileged backgrounds and several attended elite all-boys schools, 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. (2022). Intrinsic aspects of privilege. In K. Swalwell & D. Spikes (Eds.), Anti-oppressive education in elite schools: Promising practices and cautionary tales from the field. New York: Teachers College Press.

Howard, A. (2022). Globally elite: Four domains of becoming globally-oriented within elite schools. Educational Review, 74(1), 6-24.

Kenway, J., & Howard, A. (2022). Elite universities: Their monstrous promises and promising monsters. Curriculum Inquiry, 52(1), 75-96.

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, 13(2), 109-127.

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., 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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