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; Legal Issues; Urban Education; Politics of Education; Qualitative Research Methods

Contact Information
470 Baldy Hall
North Campus
Phone: (716) 645-1090

Professional Summary:

Melinda Lemke is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. An interdisciplinary, qualitative educational policy researcher, her body of work focuses on the politics of education and how public education centers the wellbeing and rights of historically underserved and marginalized students. The first area is concerned with how power and normative values affect educational policy development and implementation, toward the end of understanding for whom do these processes work. The second investigates policy actor decision-making, with the aim of making visible the complex and nuanced ways neoliberal sociopolitical culture shapes such processes. Situating her work within critical and feminist theoretical traditions, both areas have included a focus on the dynamics driving and educational responses to forced displacement and gender-based violence. She currently is engaged on transdisciplinary research projects concerning preservice teacher implicit bias, as well as food insecurity and bystander intervention to teen dating violence with faculty in school counseling and public health, respectively.

Melinda's research and teaching are shaped by previous work in sexual assault prevention and survivor advocacy and a career in U.S. urban secondary public education. Some of her career honors include a Fulbright Fellowship, James Madison Memorial Fellowship, NEH Grant and Outstanding Teaching Award, National Board Certification, Gilder Lehrman Fellowship, Clark National Graduate Fellowship, and GSE Faculty Residency. 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 Community for Excellence in Global Health Equity (Bridging Projects, Global Child, Refugee Health and Wellbeing co-Lead)
• UB Gender Institute
• University Council for Educational Administration, Plenary Representative
• 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 652: Leadership and Policy for Inclusion
• ELP 687: Introduction to Qualitative Methodology & Design (EDA)
• ELP 689: Critical Policy Analysis
• ELP 695: Education Policy and Economic Justice

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:
  • University at Buffalo Individual Development Award, 2020; NYS/UUP JLMC; 2020-07-14;
  • Costa Rica Incubator Travel Award, “Designing and Implementing Transformative Global Learning Experiences”; 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;
  • Politics of Education Association Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2016; American Educational Research Association;
  • Swansea University Research Grant Enabler (SURGE) Recipient, 2016; Swansea University;
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:
  • 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; 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:
  • University Council for Educational Administration Plenary Representative
  • Willystine Goodsell Award Committee, SIG: Research on Women in Education, American Educational Research Association
  • Women Educators Member Elect (At-Large), 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
Phone: (716) 645-1090