Dr. Melissa Gibson2019 Way Klingler Young Scholar Award Recipient

Assistant Professor of Educational Policy and Leadership

For Dr. Melissa Gibson, assistant professor of educational policy and leadership, receiving the Young Scholar Award will allow her to extend her research on justice-oriented schools.

Gibson’s research focuses on justice-oriented pedagogy, democratic and multicultural social studies education, community work for educational justice, and urban school reform.

Through her work, Gibson seeks to break down barriers to equality and promote
educational justice — an education that is structurally equitable, that affirms diverse
identities and communities, and that intentionally shifts power to historically
marginalized groups.

Gibson explores how educators play a role in the social stratification and racial inequity
that take place in the classroom. “My work as a teacher educator in a predominantly
white institution as well as my research in diverse schools have led me to investigate
how, even in the presence of ‘good intentions,’ privilege and whiteness can hinder
work for educational justice,” she said.

Gibson’s work uses applied social science research to propose pedagogical approaches
to achieve educational justice. A successful result of this shifted ideology would be
integrated and justice-oriented schools, or schools designed to attract diverse students.
“During the research semester, I plan to conduct additional case studies of other
purposefully integrated, justice-oriented schools, outline and begin writing a book
manuscript from my cross-case analysis of these collective data, and submit a
proposal to target publishers,” Gibson said.