Donna Davis


Dr. Donna M. Davis is currently a Professor of Educational Foundations in the School of Education. She has over 30 years 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 at UMKC. 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, American Educational Studies Association, Organization of Educational Historians, and the National Association of Multicultural Education.  She is currently the Vice-President of the Organization of Educational Historians.

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

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.

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