Roslyn Mickelson was named the 2014 University Professor of UNC Charlotte. This honor recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement in a professional field, as well as demonstrated ability to excel in interdisciplinary research, teaching and service. The University Professor is recommended to the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees by the chancellor and holds this title for life.
Mickelson joined the UNC Charlotte community as a faculty member in the Department of Sociology in 1985. She is affiliated with UNC Charlotte’s Ph.D. in Public Policy program, the Women’s and Gender Studies program and the College of Education. During her time at UNC Charlotte, Mickelson has received two prestigious campus accolades, the Harshini V. de Silva Graduate Mentor Award and the First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal for exemplary research.
According to Adam Gamoran, president of the William Grant Foundation, Mickelson is “widely regarded as one of the most prominent scholars in the sociology of education across the nation.”
Mickelson’s scholarship first gained national prominence in the late 1980s with a series of papers examining race and gender inequality in education. Her research on the effects of inter- and intra-school segregation and tracking constitute part of the canon of sociological research on the power and influences of educational opportunities. She is noted to have been at the forefront of scholarship addressing the resegregation of schools in cities across the South, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg, following the end of court-ordered desegregation in these communities. Her findings about black-white inequalities in opportunities for learning had powerful policy implications as well as sociological significance.
Leading U.S. newspapers and magazines have featured her research, including Time, Newsweek, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune and Washington Post. Her research has been noted internationally in Canada, France, Brazil, Cuba and South Africa, too.
Notably, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan invited Mickelson to present to his leadership team in March 2011. Also, she and her research were cited by name in a Supreme Court decision on school racial composition “Parents Involved in Community Schools.” Justice Clarence Thomas cited Mickelson’s 2001 article “Subverting Swann” and quoted her finding in his concurrent opinion. In addition, Mickelson has presented her research to the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Justice.
She has served as a consultant to the State Board of Education and the North Carolina Superintendent of Schools, and in 2011, Mickelson provided testimony to the Minnesota Joint Gubernatorial and Legislative Task Force on Integrated Education on the effects of integrated K-12 education. Most recently, she testified as an expert witness about school diversity in a Kentucky hearing.
Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, praised Mickelson’s interdisciplinary teaching and research. “She is an indispensable member of the UNC Charlotte community, she is an internationally recognized scholar, and she exudes excellence and demands it from her students.”
Mickelson has published two books, 55 peer-reviewed articles and 59 book chapters, as well as multiple encyclopedia chapters and research reports. She also has guest edited and has served on the editorial boards of leading journals in sociology and education. Her research record has led to her recognition as a Fellow of the prestigious American Educational Research Association and the National Educational Policy Center. She has been the principal or co-principal investigator on grants that have generated more than $8 million for the University. This funding has provided valuable research experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.
Throughout her career, Mickelson has made remarkable contributions to graduate education at UNC Charlotte. She has served on 50-plus thesis committees and chaired four doctoral dissertation committees. She also was on 12 dissertation committees in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and in the College of Education. According to Nancy Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the strength of Mickelson’s research has helped the Sociology Department garner a national reputation.
Ellen McIntyre, dean of the College of Education, said “because of her dedication and rigorous interdisciplinary scholarship, Dr. Mickelson has shaped the face of UNC Charlotte today.”