Donna M. Davis

Donna M. Davis
Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences

Contact Info
344 Education


Dr. Donna M. Davis is currently a Professor of Educational Foundations in the School of Education, Social Work, and Psychological Sciences. She has over 30 years of experience in the field of education, spending nearly a decade teaching high school English in the Los Angeles Unified School District before earning her doctorate at the University of Kansas. Her doctoral dissertation examined the life and education of Langston Hughes.  Dr. Davis teaches courses in the history and philosophy of education and she has been published in numerous scholarly journals in the areas of urban education, multicultural education, philosophy of education, history of education, arts education, and social justice. She has presented at national conferences including the American Educational Research Association, the American Educational Studies Association, the Organization of Educational Historians (where she served as its president in 2020), and the National Association of Multicultural Education. She is also the producer of the award-winning documentary film, Class of COVID-19. Most significantly, she is the mother of two artists!

Research Areas

History and philosophy of education; Urban education; Social justice and arts education; Gender and education; Race and schooling in the United States


Ph.D., Education/Foundations, University of Kansas

Advising Interests

History of education; Urban education; Social justice and arts education; Multicultural education; Gender studies in education


Selected Publications

Davis, D.M. (in press). "Paulo Freire." In Brett A. Geier (Ed.) Palgrave Handbook of Educational Thinkers. Palgrave Macmillan.

Davis, D.M. & Waddell, J. (2022). "The Importance of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy in the Era of COVID: Using Documentary Film to Tell Stories from the Front Line," Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research 16(2). 

Davis, D.M. (2022) “Hindsight is 2020: The role of educational historians in the era of Black Lives Matter,” American Educational History Journal, 48.

Davis, D.M. & Davis, D.M. (2022) "Covid-19 While Black: The Real Pandemic." American Educational History Journal, Special Issue. 

McCarther, S.M. and Davis, D.M. (2017). Culturally relevant pedagogy twenty-plus years later: How an arts approach to teaching and learning can keep the dream alive. American Educational History Journal, 44(2), 103-114.

McCarther, S.M. & Davis, D.M. (2015). The bravest girl in the world: A qualitative exploration of social justice through the lens of the adolescent. Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research, 11, 50-56.

Davis, D.M. & McCarther, S.M. (2015). Following the drinking gourd: Culturally responsive pedagogy and curriculum development through the arts. The Educational Forum, 79 (1), 68-80.

Davis, D.M. (2013). Blacks in crimson and blue: The educational experiences of ex-slaves at the University of Kansas from 1870-1920. American Educational History Journal, 40 (1), 59-74.

McCarther, S.M., Davis, D.M., Nilsson, J., Marszalek, J., & Barber, C. (2013). Social justice advocacy competency: A step on the journey to develop an analytic instrument to pinpoint development and build capacity in 21st century school leaders. National FORUM of Applied Educational Research Journal, 26 (1&2), 94-100.

McCarther, S.M., Davis, D.M., & Caruthers, L. (2012). A place called homecoming: Memories of celebration and tradition by successful African American graduates of Lincoln University in Missouri from 1935 to 1945. Journal of Educational Foundations, 26 (3-4), 7-32.

McCarther, S. M., Davis, D. M., & Caruthers, L. (2012). Traveling the tenure track: Mentoring and collaborative research among African American female faculty in a Midwestern university. In Anderson, C., & Myers, S. (Eds.). Dimensions in mentoring: A continuum of practice from beginning teachers to teacher leaders. Boston: Sense Publishers.

Davis, D. M., Friend, J. & Caruthers, L. (2010). The fear of color: Webb v. school district no. 90 in Johnson County, Kansas, 1949. American Educational History Journal, 37(1), 331-345.