University at Buffalo

Melinda Lemke

Melinda Lemke

Assistant Professor


Specialty/Research Focus

Critical Policy Analysis; Gender, Culture, and Equity; Global Issues; Educational Policy; Mental Health; School and Community Partnerships; Qualitative Research Methods; Politics of Education

Contact Information
470 Baldy Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1000
Phone: 512-659-2364

Professional Summary:

Melinda Lemke, PhD, is an interdisciplinary, qualitative educational policy researcher who examines the politics of education and how public education addresses structural violence to center the well-being and rights of historically underserved students. The first area investigates policy actor knowledge, discourse, decision-making, and engagement with policy. The second area examines how power and normative culture affect educational policy development and implementation processes. Both areas include a focus on the dynamics driving, as well as educational and public health responses to gender-based violence and forced displacement. Drawing from critical and feminist theoretical traditions, Melinda’s body of work interrogates questions concerning the intended and unintended consequences of policy, gaps in implementation, and ultimately for whom do policies work and to what ends for collective futurity. Melinda is the Associate Editor of Leadership and Policy in Schools and her work is found in outlets such as the American Journal of Sexuality Education, Children's Geographies, Educational Policy, International Journal of Leadership in Education, Policy Futures in Education, and The Urban Review.

Melinda's research, teaching, and service agenda is shaped by a previous career in U.S. urban public education, work in sexual assault prevention, and worldview that aims to dismantle structural inequality through transdisciplinary and community-centric, co-constructed public knowledge. Some of her career honors include a Fulbright Fellowship to South Korea, James Madison Memorial Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities Outstanding Teaching Award, National Board Certification, and Graduate School of Education Faculty-in-Residence Award.

Melinda currently teaches in the Educational Administration and Educational Leadership and Policy for Equity (ELPE) minor programs. She previously taught in the Economics and Educational Policy Analysis program, and served as ELPE program director.

• UB Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention
• UB Community for Excellence in Global Health Equity (Bridging Projects, Global Child, Refugee Health and Wellbeing co-Lead)
• UB Gender Institute
• University of Huddersfield, International Advisory Group for the Ni3 Centre for the Prevention of Gender-based Violence

• ELP 200: Foundations of Education Policy & Leadership for Social Justice
• ELP 405: Sociology of Education
• ELP 500: The Nature of Inquiry
• ELP 626: Policy Formation & Analysis
• ELP 652: Leadership & Policy for Inclusion
• ELP 687: Introduction to Qualitative Methodology & Design (EDA)
• ELP 689: Critical Policy Analysis
• ELP 695: Education Policy & Economic Justice
• HON 214: Critical Policy Analysis in Education

Education and Training:
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Swansea University, Wales, United Kingdom, Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People
  • PhD, The University of Texas at Austin, Educational Policy and Planning; Gender Studies concentration
  • MEd, The University of Texas at Austin, Curriculum and Instruction; Government concentration
  • BSED; BA; minor, Bucknell University, Secondary Education; History; Law
Awards and Honors:
  • Honors College, Graduate School of Education Faculty Fellow; University at Buffalo; 2021-08-30;
  • Study Abroad Incubator, Costa Rica Travel Award; Office of International Education, University at Buffalo, SUNY; 2018-06-10;
  • Faculty-in-Residence Award; Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, SUNY; 2018-01-01;
  • Refugee Health and Well-being Faculty Fellow; Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity, University at Buffalo, SUNY; 2017-01-01;
  • Politics of Education Association Outstanding Dissertation Award; Division B (Curriculum Studies) Outstanding Dissertation Recognition Award, 2016; American Educational Research Association; 2016-04-01;
Recent Publications:
Journal Special Issue:
  • Shubin, S. & Lemke, M. (Eds.) (2020). Children displaced across borders: Charting new directions for research from interdisciplinary perspectives. Children’s Geographies, 18(5), 505-515. doi:10.1080/14733285.2020.1781061
Journal Article:
  • Lemke, M., Nickerson, A., & Saboda, J. (2021). Global displacement and local contexts: A case study of U.S. urban educational policy and practice. International Journal of Leadership in Education. (Online first)
  • Lemke, M. (2020). (Un)doing spatially fixed inequality: Critical reflections on urban school district-community partnerships. The Urban Review. (Online first), 1-27. doi: 10.1007/s11256-020-00587-7
  • Lemke, M. & Nickerson, A. (2020). Educating refugee and hurricane displaced youth in troubled times: Countering the politics of fear through culturally responsive and trauma-informed schooling. Children’s Geographies,18(5), 529-543. doi:10.1080/14733285.2020.1740650
  • Lemke, M. (2019). The politics of "giving student victims a voice": A feminist analysis of state trafficking policy implementation. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 14(1), 74-108. doi:10.1080/15546128.2018.1524805
Recent Grants:
  • Co-constructing Public Knowledge: Centering Sexual Violence in Educational Research, Policy, and Practices concerning adolescent girl trauma; State; Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity Micro-Grant, University at Buffalo; Awarded; (07/01/2021-05/01/2022)
  • Turnaround Micro-Credential; State; New York State Department of Education; Awarded; (06/01/2019-09/30/2020)
  • Locating the Global within the Local: Understanding School Responses to Refugee Youth Mental Health; State; Community of Excellence in Global Health Equity, University at Buffalo; Awarded; (01/01/2018-01/23/2019)
Recent Activities:
Editorial and Review:
  • American Educational Research Association Annual Conference Reviewer
  • University Council for Educational Administration Annual Conference Reviewer
Professional Service:
  • Board Member, Fulbright Association, Fulbright Chapter of WNY/NWPA
  • University Council for Educational Administration Plenary Representative
  • Willystine Goodsell Award Committee, SIG: Research on Women in Education, American Educational Research Association
Recent Editorships:
  • Editorial Board Member; Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership
  • Associate Editor; Leadership and Policy in Schools
  • Editorial Board Member; Leadership and Policy in Schools

Contact Information

470 Baldy Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1000
Phone: 512-659-2364