Research is a very interesting thing.  It often leads us in an unanticipated journey of discovery.  For Michelle Samura, Assistant Professor in Integrated Educational Studies at Chapman University, her quest to gain an understanding of student perceptions of race led her to consider alternative methodologies.  Recognizing a reluctance to discuss issues of race directly, Dr Samura used the concept of space. Her current research focuses on space and race, and she is engaged in two research projects.

Michelle Samura, Ph.D. College of Educational Studies

Michelle Samura, Ph.D.
College of Educational Studies

The first project, an extension of her dissertation research, draws on archival research and visual methodology to offer an updated framework for thinking about and understanding what it means to be Asian American in the 21st Century, and to provide greater insight into the role of higher education in individual and collective racial transformations. Her second project draws on spatial approaches to examine university-community partnerships in Southern California. She currently is exploring the philosophical and theoretical underpinnings of engaged scholarship, service learning, and civic engagement approaches and mapping how various practices and programs under these banners are carried out.

Michelle Samura joined the faculty of the College of Educational Studies in 2011. She primarily teaches in the Integrated Educational Studies (IES) Program and advises students in the community emphasis. Prior to joining Chapman, Dr. Samura served as the Academic Coordinator for the University of California Center for New Racial Studies and a Lecturer in UCSB’s Department of Asian American Studies. She also is a former public high school teacher and taught U.S. government, economics, and history in East Los Angeles.

Dr. Samura’s research and teaching have garnered a number of awards including selection as a semi-finalist for the 2011 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, recognition as one of the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity Emerging Diversity Scholars, and recipient of the University of California All Campus Consortium On Research for Diversity Dissertation Fellowship.

(Video: Michelle Samura, Ph.D. discusses her research collaboration with senior IES students in her capstone class, IES 492.)