Melissa Gibson
Melissa Gibson, Ph.D.Marquette University

Schroeder Complex, 113H

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-1421
Curriculum Vitae

Associate Professor, Educational Studies Program Coordinator

Educational Policy and Leadership

Melissa Gibson is an associate professor, teacher educator, and pedagogical researcher in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership (EDPL) in the College of Education at Marquette University. Dr. Gibson studies how diverse schools works to enact educational justice, particularly in relation to liberatory and anti-racist pedagogies and through social studies/citizenship education. Given that teachers in the US (and in Wisconsin specifically) are overwhelmingly white and that Marquette continues to be a predominantly white institution, her most recent work explores how whiteness plays out in justice-oriented pedagogies and schools and how communities and teachers can resist, disrupt, and subvert white supremacy in the classroom. Two ongoing research projects include studying innovative and justice-oriented civic pedagogies in global classrooms (in India, Peru, Indonesia, and the US) and how multiracial school communities understand educational justice.

Prior to joining the Marquette faculty, Dr. Gibson was a middle and high school social studies and English teacher. Her 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, she has led educational and service learning programs in Washington DC, Cincinnati, New York City, South Africa, Chicago, and Peru, and she has participated in teacher exchange programs in India and Japan. These experiences in diverse and wildly unequal educational settings motivate both her research and her teaching. 

Here at Marquette, Dr. Gibson leads our work in social studies education. She is currently partnering with Marquette's Center for Urban Research, Teaching, and Outreach and St. Joan Antida High School to facilitate an innovative credit-recovery program in social studies focused on democratizing local history. She is a regular presenter at area schools, including the Oconomowoc Area School District, where she led the district's work in revising their social studies curriculum, and with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, where she is partnering with other Marquette faculty to help local Catholic school teachers engage in culturally sustaining practices. She also designed and leads the College of Education's first study abroad program, a month-long immersive experience in Peru in partnership with the Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya.

Her work can be found at Google Scholar, on her personal website, and she can also be contacted via email.

Degrees Held

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin Madison, Curriculum & Instruction | Education Policy Studies
  • M.A.T., Dominican University
  • B.A., Harvard University, Women's Studies

Courses Taught

  • Elementary Social Studies Methods
  • Middle/Secondary Social Studies Methods

Research Interests

  • Justice-oriented pedagogy
  • Democratic and multicultural-social studies education
  • Community work for educational justice
  • Urban school reform

Additional Information

Read more about Dr. Gibson on our blog, The Marquette Educator!