Melinda Lemke

Assistant Professor

Educational Leadership and Policy

 470 Baldy Hall

Educational Policy
Politics of Education
Displacement & Youth Trauma
Gender Violence
Critical Policy Analysis
New Economy Educational Reforms
Leadership for Social Justice

Jump to Publications

Melinda Lemke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, where she is a part of the Educational Administration and Economics and Education Policy Analysis programs. She also is the Program Advisor for the Education Leadership and Policy for Equity Minor, a Community for Global Health Equity Fellow, and a Gender Institute Affiliate. Melinda's research broadly focuses on educational policy, the politics of education, and displaced youth. She has researched curriculum policy reform, human trafficking and immigration policy, and gender issues in education. Her teaching interests include critical/feminist policy analysis, new economy educational reform, social justice leadership, and interdisciplinarity. Prior to joining the faculty at UB, Melinda was a Postdoctoral Research Associate for the College of Law and Criminology, Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People at Swansea University in the United Kingdom. She currently is an editorial board member of Leadership and Policy in Schools and also brings a lengthy career in U.S. urban public education and administrative curriculum development to her work at UB.

Educational Background

  • PhD, Educational Policy and Planning, Women's and Gender Studies Concentration,
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • MEd, Curriculum and Instruction, Government Concentration,
    The University of Texas at Austin
  • BSED, Secondary Education; BA, History; Minor, Law,
    Bucknell University


  • ELP 200: Foundations of Education Policy and Leadership for Social Justice
  • ELP 405: Sociology of Education
  • ELP 689: Critical Policy Analysis and the Policy-making Cycle
  • ELP 695: Education Policy and Economic Justice

Representative Awards and Grants

  • University at Buffalo, Graduate School of Education Faculty in Residence, 2018
  • University at Buffalo, Community for Global Health Equity Seed Funding, 2017
  • Postdoctoral Appointment, Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People, Swansea University, 2016
  • American Educational Research Association, Politics of Education Association, Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2016
  • American Educational Research Association, Division B - Curriculum Studies, Outstanding Dissertation Recognition Award, 2016
  • Texas Center for the Judiciary, Texas Children’s Justice Act Program Scholarship, 2015, 2014
  • The University of Texas at Austin, Graduate School Named Continuing Dissertation Fellow, 2014
  • University Council for Educational Administration, David L. Clark Fellow in Educational Administration and Policy, 2013
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Texas Outstanding Teacher of the Humanities Award, 2011
  • National Board Certification, Adolescence and Young Adulthood Social Studies, 2009
  • U.S. Department of Education, Teaching American History Grant, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Grant, 2009
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Landmarks of American History and Culture Grant, 2008
  • James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellow, 2003
  • U.S. Department of State, J. William Fulbright Foreign Fellow, 2001

(Selected Current Publications)


Lemke, M. (2017). Educators as the “front line” of human trafficking prevention: An analysis of state-level educational policy. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 1–21. doi: 10.1080/15700763.2017.1398337 (online first)

Lemke, M. (2017). Trafficking and immigration policy: Intersections, inconsistencies, and implications for public education. Educational Policy, 1-21. doi: 10.1177/0895904817719528 (online first)

Jabbar, H., Sun, W. H., Lemke, M., & Germain, E. (2016). Gender, markets, and inequality: A framework for examining how market-based reforms impact female leaders. Educational Policy. doi: 10.1177/0895904816673740 (online first)

Nsonwu, M., Welch-Brewer, C., Cook Heffron, L., Lemke, M., Busch-Armendariz, N., Sulley, C., Warren Cook, S., Lewis, M., Watson, E., Moore, W., Crume, Y., & Li, J. (2015). Development and validation of an instrument to assess social work students’ perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about human trafficking (PKA-HT questionnaire): An exploratory study. Research on Social Work Practice, 1-11. doi: 10.1177/1049731515578537

Book Chapters and Briefs

Lemke, M. A. (May 2017). Addressing violence in schools: Feminist praxis and a pedagogy of risk. In J. L. Martin, A. E. Nickels, & M. L. Sharp-Grier (Eds.), Feminist pedagogy, practice, and activism: Improving the lives of girls and women (pp. 140-157). New York, NY: Routledge.

Lemke, M. (2016). Building anti-bullying and socially just school spaces: Educational context, dynamics, and research considerations. In A. Osanloo & J. Schwartz (Eds.), Creating and negotiating collaborative spaces for socially-just anti-bullying interventions for K-12 schools (pp. ix-xxi). Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing.

Lemke, M. (2016). Responding to a paucity of educational policy and leadership research on human trafficking. Politics of Education Association Bulletin, 43(1), 1, 4-10.

Lemke, M. (2015). Chapter 3, (Un)making the neoliberal agenda in public education: A critical discourse analysis of Texas high school social studies policy processes and standards. In K. M. Sturges (Ed.) and A. Darder (Forward), Neoliberalizing educational reform: America’s quest for profitable market colonies and the undoing of public good (pp. 53-77). Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.