I am a teacher educator and educational researcher at Marquette University, where I am an Assistant Professor of Education Policy & Leadership in the College of Education and where I lead our work in social studies education.
My teaching career began in the suburbs of Chicago, and has spanned a range of settings: Chicago's West Englewood neighborhood, Los Angeles's Watts neighborhood, small-town Wisconsin, and Guadalajara, Mexico. Additionally, I have led educational and service learning programs in Washington DC, Cincinnati, New York City, South Africa, Chicago, and Peru. These experiences in diverse and wildly unequal educational settings motivated my work at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where I completed a PhD in Curriculum & Instruction and Education Policy Studies, with a focus on Multicultural Education.
My research examines how diverse schools work to enact educational justice. I primarily research pedagogy, or the art, practice, and theory of teaching. In particular, I study democratic pedagogies that promote equity and youth empowerment, such as critical approaches to civic education. In addition to examining classroom life, I also consider how to best prepare justice-oriented teachers as well as how all of this plays out within the relationships and communities of the school. Ultimately, I want my research to help expand our educational imaginations, to help us as educators and citizens re-envision what schooling could be. My work has appeared in Multicultural Perspectives, Equity & Excellence in Education, Teachers College Record, The Social Studies, The Journal of Adult & Adolescent Literacy, Theory & Research in Social Education, and Intercultural Education, as well as in several edited volumes.
Beyond the Ivory Tower
- 2020 Beyond MU Alumni Webinar: "From Surviving to Thriving as an Accidental Homeschooler During COVID-19"
- Marquette Wire: "Reinvest in College of Education; Don't Dismantle It"
- 2019-2020 Way Klingler Young scholar Award Recipient coverage
- Marquette Education Magazine: "Praiseworthy Professors"
- Marquette Education Magazine: "Perusing Pedagogy"
- The Marquette Educator: "Getting to Know Dr. Melissa Gibson"
- "Is Smart Tech Making Us Dumber?": Interview with WISN-12 (Milwaukee) on the impact of technology on youth