Melissa A. Martinez, Ph.D.

Melissa Martinez
Education and Community Leadership
Area of Focus/Research:
Race/Ethnicity, College Access, College Readiness, Leadership Preparation, Social Justice Leaders, Faculty of Color, Qualitative Research
(512) 245-4587
(512) 245-8872
ASBS 322


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Melissa A. Martinez, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Education and Community Leadership Program at Texas State University. She is a native of the Rio Grande Valley, and a former bilingual elementary school teacher and school counselor. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010 and earned her B.A. (1998) and M.Ed. (2002) at The University of Texas at Brownsville. Her research focuses on equity and access issues along the P-16 education pipeline, particularly in relation to: 1) improving college readiness, college access, and fostering a college going culture for underserved communities, 2) the preparation of equity-oriented school leaders who understand and can meet the needs of underserved communities, and 3) the preparation and retention of faculty of color. Through her research and teaching, Dr. Martinez is committed to preparing future educational leaders who are thoughtful, critical, and reflective in their practice and adhere to the tenets of social justice. 

In August of 2013, Dr. Martinez was awarded a three-year $90,000 grant as a part of the Greater Texas Foundation’s Faculty Fellows Program to support her work related to student postsecondary success. She is one of four assistant professors in the state of Texas to be awarded the grant.

Courses Taught

ED 7331: Foundations of School Improvement
ED 7352: Beginning Qualitative Design
EDCL 6358: Integrative Seminar
EDCL 6352: School as the Center of Inquiry
EDCL 5347: Understanding Environments

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

Martinez, M. A. (2014). My Relationship with academia as a Latina scholar. In W. S. Newcomb (Ed.). Continuing to disrupt the status quo? Young and new women professors of educational leadership. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Martinez, M. A., & Rodriguez, C. (in press). Roadblocks and pathways to college preparation for Latina/o students. In L. Ponjuan, L. Chavez, & V. B. Sáenz (Eds.). Latino higher education policies and practices: Improving college access, degree attainment, and career aspirations. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

Welton, A. D., Williams, M., Caldwell, P. H., & Martinez, M. A. (in press). Deconstructing the  language of academia: Pre-tenure faculty of color who are first-generation college graduates. In T. Marsh and N. Croom (Eds.). Envisioning a critical race praxis for leadership: Critical race counter-stories across the P-20 pipeline.Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Journal Articles

Martinez, M. A. (in press for June, 2014). College information, support, and opportunities for all? Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 17(2).

Martinez, M.A., & Welton, A. D. (in press for 2014). Examining college opportunity structures  for students of Color at high “minority,” high poverty secondary schools in Texas. Journal of School Leadership, 24(5)

Chang, A., Welton, A. D., Martinez, M. A., & Cortez, L. J. (2013). Becoming academicians: A critical ethnographic analysis of the figured worlds of underrepresented female faculty. Negro Educational Review, 64(1-4), 97-118.

Martinez, M. A. (2013). (Re)considering the role familismo plays in Latina/o high school students' college choices. The High School Journal, 97(1), 21-40. doi: 10.135/hsj.2013.0019

Welton, A. D., & Martinez, M. A. (2013). Coloring the college pathway: A more culturally responsive approach to college readiness and access for students of color in secondary schools. Urban Review. doi: 10.1007/s11256-013-0252-7

Cortez, L. J., Martinez, M. A., & Sáenz, V. B. (2013). Por los ojos de madres: Latina mothers’ understandings of college readiness. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. doi: 10.1080/09518398.2013.805851

Martinez, M.A., Cortez, L. J., & Sáenz, V.B. (2013). Latino parents’ perceptions of the role of schools in college readiness. Journal of Latinos and Education, 12(2), 108-120.  doi:             10.1080/15348431.2012.745402

Martinez, M. A. (2013). Helping Latina/o students navigate the college choice process: Considerations for secondary school counselors. Journal of School Counseling, 11(1). Retrieved from

Martinez, M.A. (2012). Wealth, stereotypes, and issues of prestige: The college choice experience of Mexican American students within a community context. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 11(1), 67-81. doi: 10.1177/1538192711428992

Sáenz, V. B., Rodriguez, A. A., Martinez, M. A., & Romo, E. (2011). The college pathways of foreign-born and native-born Latina/o college students at four-year institutions. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 5(1), 31-40.

Yamamura, E. K., Martinez, M.A., & Saenz, V.B. (2010). Moving beyond high school expectations: Examining stakeholders’ responsibility for increasing Latina/o students’ college readiness. The High School Journal, 93(3), 126-148.


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