University at Buffalo

Melinda Lemke

Melinda Lemke

Educational Leadership and Policy for Equity Undergraduate Minor Program Director

Assistant Professor


Specialty/Research Focus

Critical Policy Analysis; Gender Studies; Global Issues; Educational Policy; Legal Issues; 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 educational policy addresses structural violence to center the health, well-being, and human rights of young women and girls. The first area investigates policy actor knowledge, discourse, and decision-making. The second area examines how power and normative culture affect educational policy processes. Both areas utilize critical and feminist framing to focus on the dynamics driving, as well as educational, legal, and public health responses to gender-based violence and forced displacement. Current transdisciplinary projects center on critique of intersecting policies and practices that delimit, dislocate, and engender structural trauma and disposability within marginalized communities - with ongoing research questions concerning (un)intended policy consequences, for whom do policies work, and to what ends for collective futurity.

Melinda's work at UB is shaped by a previous career in U.S. urban public education, international aide work, and work in sexual assault prevention. Originally from Niagara Falls, NY, her research and service work in the greater WNY region is shaped by a worldview that aims to center open, transparent, and multilateral partnerships to support the common good.

Melinda is the Associate Editor of Leadership and Policy in Schools and her work is found in outlets such as Children's Geographies, Educational Policy, International Journal of Leadership in Education, Policy Futures in Education, and The Urban Review. Some of her career honors include a J. William Fulbright ETA Fellowship, James Madison Memorial Fellowship, NEH Outstanding Teaching Award, National Board Certification (Secondary Social Studies), GSE Faculty-in-Residence Award, and UUP Individual Development Awards.

Melinda currently teaches in ELP Educational Administration programs and the UB Honors College. She previously taught in the Economics and Educational Policy Analysis program, and served as Educational Leadership and Policy for Equity 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 Department of Global Gender & Sexuality Studies
• UB Gender Institute
• UB Honors College
• University of Huddersfield, International Advisory Group for the Ni3 Centre for the Prevention of Gender-based Violence

• HON 214: Critical Policy Analysis in Education

• 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

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., Bascug, E., & Howard, A. (2021). Seen yet unseen: A case of human trafficking at Harris High School. Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 25(2), 153-168.
  • Lemke, M. & Rogers, K. (2020). When sexting crosses the line: Educator responsibilities in the support of prosocial adolescent behavior and prevention of violence. Social Sciences, 9(9), 1-14. doi:10.3390/socsci9090150
  • 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
  • Lemke, M. (2017). Trafficking and immigration policy: Intersections, inconsistencies, and implications for public education. Educational Policy, 31(6), 743-763. doi: 10.1177/0895904817719528
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