Her sabbatical project explored the ways in which exclusivist evangelical Christians are tackling the challenges of religious pluralism. She presented papers on this research at the annual meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, the American Educational Studies Association Conference, and to graduate students in the Philosophy and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia. She is fortunate to be working with several PhD students in the Cultural Foundations Program who are writing dissertations on this topic: Henrique Alvim Living Christianly Among 'Strangers': The Educational, Civic and Theological Practice of 'Being the Church' in the Post-Secular American Academy, Lutheran Education in a Religiously Pluralistic Society, and Ruth Joy on Catholic schooling for participation in a democracy.
To address these gaps, Dr. Niesz is conducting an ethnographic comparative case study to explore how knowledge is generated through Ohio education activists’ advocacy for state education policy change. Through interviews with activists, the collection and analysis of social media, and participation in campaigns for education justice, she is investigating how and what knowledge is produced to guide activism, as well as how, where, and to what effect this knowledge circulates within and beyond Ohio’s education advocacy networks. Dr. Niesz’s recent work has been published in Critical Education, Anthropology & Education Quarterly, and Teachers College Record.