Robert Kent

Lecturer/Academic Program Associate, Special Education
Primary office:


J. Robert Kent, Ph.D., is adjunct researcher in the Department of Special Education and adjunct research associate in American Studies at the University of Kansas. His doctoral preparation in American Studies at KU, which included advanced study in sociology (mainly social theory), philosophy, and American history, shaped his academic interests in critical social theory, political theory, American progressivism, and philosophy of justice. These interests inform his published works, including articles in Social Thought and Research and American Studies on John Dewey and critical social theory, education and democracy, and American liberalism, and more recently the chapter, “Rights, Needs, and Capabilities: Institutional and Political Barriers to Justice for Disabled People” (with T. Skrtic), in the edited text, Righting Educational Wrongs: Disability Studies in Law and Education (Kanter & Ferri, 2013). He has served as visiting assistant professor and adjunct research associate in American Studies at KU, where he taught undergraduate courses in American history and political science and the graduate seminar Democracy in America, and as lecturer, adjunct professor, and post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Special Education where he designed and taught (with Tom Skrtic) several grant-funded doctoral seminars that became the basis of the course, Civic Professionalism, a core requirement of the department’s doctoral program. During most of this period, Dr. Kent also served as a firefighter in the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical Department where over his 20-year career he also was union negotiator for the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 1596, member of the advisory board of the IAFF Hazardous Materials Training Project, and grant reviewer for U.S. Department of Energy training grants through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.


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