With insights from Distinguished Alumnus Michael W. Apple, Rowan College of Education graduates bid adieu

With insights from Distinguished Alumnus Michael W. Apple, Rowan College of Education graduates bid adieu


“I am a teacher.”

Those are the words Michael W. Apple uses to describe his work.

“Even though I’m a well-known professor and the author of many award-winning books, if someone asks me what I do, the first word out of my mouth is that I’m a teacher,” Apple, a celebrated education scholar and 1967 alumnus, told members of the Rowan University College of Education during the college’s Commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 10.

“I don’t think I’m alone in being proud of that answer,” Apple continued. “Your present and future commitment to education as teachers, administrators and researchers stand as a testament to why you are deserving of the world’s respect and why the first words out of  our mouths when someone asks us who we are should be, must be, ‘I’m a teacher.’

“We need many, many, many people like you—and the more the merrier.”

The John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Apple has written extensively on the policies of educational reform, on the relationship between culture and power, and on education for social justice. He is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association and has received numerous honorary degrees internationally.

In recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the field of education, he accepted the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, presented by the Rowan University Alumni Association. The award recognizes an alumnus who has personified the University’s tradition of excellence and brought credit to the institution through accomplishment and service.

In her address to the graduates, Dean Monika Shealey noted that the college shares Apple’s commitment to addressing issues of success, success and equity in education.

To that end, the college this year established the Center for Access, Success and Equity, she noted. Additionally, the college launched Project IMPACT (Increasing Male Practitioners and Classroom Teachers), a program that is designed to get more male of color into the teaching profession.

“Our college,” Shealey said, “has committed to tackling some of the most persistent issues in public education. Our vision is to be a leading force in preparing and supporting reflective practitioners who use education to transform our global society.”

Under sunny skies—and to the cheers of family members, friends, and well-wishers—spirited graduates of the college accepted doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the college. The College of Education is the foundation of the University, Rowan President Ali A. Houshmand reminded the graduates.

“The overwhelming majority of our alumni are from this great college,” Houshmand said. “I hope you know that you have an amazing opportunity in front of you, especially as educators. I consider educators the greatest people on earth.”