I recently printed out my dissertation, and my husband was impressed, but I could tell by his face, not interested in reading it. I don’t blame him. It got me to wondering …
whose dissertation would I read? I searched “famous dissertations.”
Marie Curie? No. Albert Einstein? No. Martin Luther King, Jr. ? No. Bill Cosby? Yes, definitely, yes. I am only being honest in that I would – and will – read it cover to cover. It maybe makes me less of a scholar, but “hey, hey, hey”, I can’t be the only one interested in this.
He got an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 1976 for writing 269 pages about “An Integration of the Visual Media via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning.” It is hard to imagine a candidate with more passion for a topic.
The acknowledgements are a testament to his gracious nature. He begins with thanking his Dissertation Committee and Chair for their inspiration, encouragement, and faith in him. He elaborates on what each member brought to his work and his life – technical, creative, sociological research, and even friendship. He even thanked his sixth grade teacher, and of course his wife and five children.
The problems he examines are twofold – pervasive institutional racism and the need to create a more humane learning environment and rewarding learning experience. He examines Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids as both teaching-learning instruments and methods of combating racism.
Ahead of his time in 1976, he writes in his abstract that “living in an age of accelerated technology, there can be little reason why schools should hesitate in applying that same technology to create a more diversified an open learning environment. (Cosby, 1976).”
I wish I were in that population sample.