Tricia Niesz, Ph.D.

Tricia Niesz, Ph.D.

School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration
Associate Professor and Program Coordinator
Contact Information


Tricia Niesz is an Associate Professor of Cultural Foundations of Education in the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University. She is co-founder and co-coordinator of Kent State’s new interdisciplinary graduate certificate in Qualitative Research. Tricia’s research employs anthropological methods and theories to investigate cultural change in the field of education. She is particularly interested in teachers’ participation in social movements and professional movements promoting equity and social justice, and how these movements generate knowledge, learning, identities, and school change. Over the past few years, she has researched educational change efforts promoted by activist educators in the U.S. and South India. Her recent work has been published in Teachers College Record, Anthropology & Education Quarterly, and the Journal of Educational Change.



Ph.D. in Education, Culture, and Society, the University of Pennsylvania, M.A. in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice, University of Colorado at Boulder, B.A. in Elementary Teacher Education, Michigan State University


Anthropology of Education, Educational Change and School Reform, Social Movements and Education, Teacher Learning/Teacher Identity, Qualitative Research, Ethnography, Critical Qualitative Research

Research Methods

Qualitative, Ethnographic, Critical, Case Study


  • Excellence Award, Kent State University Graduate Student Senate, 2013
  • Mothers, Mentors, and Muses Honoree, Kent State Women's Center, 2013
  • Presidential Special Recognition Award, Council on Anthropology and Education, 2010
  • Mentorship Excellence Award, Kent State University Graduate Student Senate, 2009
  • Honorable Mention: Council on Anthropology and Education Outstanding Dissertation Award, 2004
  • Dissertation awarded Distinction, University of Pennsylvania, 2003
  • Spencer Foundation Research Training Grant Fellowship in Urban Education Research, University of Pennsylvania, 1997-2001