Melinda Lemke

Assistant Professor

Educational Leadership and Policy

 470 Baldy Hall

Educational Policy
Politics of Education
Underserved & Displaced Youth
Gender & Educational Leadership
Critical Paradigms
Policy Analysis
Qualitative Methods
Interdisciplinary & Interprofessional Collaboration

Jump to Publications

Melinda Lemke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, where she is involved in the Educational Administration and Economics and Education Policy Analysis programs. She also is an Affiliate at UB's Gender Institute. Her dissertation research examined the political, normative, and organizational dynamics involved in state level policy efforts to bring K-12 practitioners into the fold of youth trafficking identification and prevention. This study was funded through a University of Texas at Austin Graduate Fellowship and was awarded outstanding research distinction from the Politics of Education Association and Division B of the American Educational Research Association. Building on her dissertation research, Melinda currently studies youth commercial exploitation, how educational policy and actors address underserved student populations and violence, and gaps between policy and implementation in practice. Her teaching interests include the new economy and educational reform, policy and discourse analyses, the politics of researcher positionality, and utilizing interdisciplinary and interprofessional partnerships to address educational problems.

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. An ongoing partnership with the Observatory and Swansea Center for Migration Policy Research involves cross-disciplinary research on the rights, policies, and local programs serving children forcibly displaced across international borders. Melinda is an editorial board member of Leadership and Policy in Schools and actively engages in in the AERA and UCEA research communities. She also brings a lengthy career in U.S. urban public education, administrative curriculum development, and advocacy work on behalf of women and children to her position 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


  • GSE 405: Sociology of Education
  • GSE 689: Critical Policy Analysis and the Policy-making Cycle
  • GSE 695: Education Policy and Economic Justice

Representative Awards and Grants

  • 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)

Book Chapters and Briefs

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

Lemke, M. (2016). Introduction, 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.


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: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Politics and Policy. doi: 10.1177/0895904816673740

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

Lemke, M., Lehr, M. D., & Calvoz, R. (2014). To be of use: A narrative roadmap for creating an open-access, peer-reviewed, graduate student educational journal. Texas Education Review, 2(1), 1-13.

Lemke, M. (2014). Thinking about student rights: Supreme Court precedent and the fate of student democratic engagement. Journal of Educational Policy, Planning, and Administration (JEPPA), 3(2), 77-89.