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Michèle Foster

Professor & Henry Heuser Endowed Chair in Urban Partnerships, University of Louisville
Chapter Member: Kentucky SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Michèle

Foster’s research focuses on the historical, social, cultural, and linguistic contexts of African Americans. Using a variety of qualitative approaches—ethnography, discourse analysis, ethnography of communication, life history and narrative research— she has studied African American teachers, African American English, and effective learning contexts and pedagogical practices for African American students. Her research crosses disciplinary lines, so in addition to being known among education researchers, her scholarship is recognized in African American studies, women’s studies, anthropology, linguistics, and history. She established the University of Louisville/Jefferson County Public School Research Practice Partnership and currently serves as its co-director.

In the News

Michèle Foster quoted by Kio Herrera, "Why New England School Districts Are Struggling To Retain Diverse Teachers" Prism, May 13, 2022.
Interview on Rich Past of Black Education Through Research Michèle Foster, After 1954/LemonadaMedia, March 9, 2022.
Interview on One Question: How Can Public Schools Emerge from the Pandemic Better Than Before? Michèle Foster (with Diane Ravitch and Carol Burris), The Progressive Magazine, August 13, 2021.
Guest to discuss Darla Buchanan on Revisionist History, Michèle Foster,
Guest to discuss her recent visit to Cape Town, South Africa, University of Western Cape on Kansas City Community Radio, Michèle Foster, April 9, 2016.
Guest to discuss critical urban education challenges, issues and solutions on Kansas City Community Radio, Michèle Foster, October 29, 2015.
Guest to discuss challenges and opportunities facing urban schools, and the efforts to help them improve on Kansas City Community Radio, Michèle Foster, October 2, 2013.


"I’ve Known Rivers: A Journey Through the Academy in Search of My Language, Voice, and Power" 15, no. 3 (2021): 403-413.

Examines the trajectory of a research programme focused on Black women’s language through the lived experiences of the investigator. Using rivers as a metaphor to structure the account, the article mines key incidents in the researcher’s life that have shaped her understanding of and approach to analysing Black women’s discourse.

"The Heuristic for Thinking About Culturally Responsive Teaching (HiTCRiT)" (with Michèle Foster, Jonathan Baize, and James Chisholm). Multicultural Perspectives 22, no. 2 (2020): 68-78 .

Describes the development of the Heuristic for thinking about Culturally Responsive Teaching and introduces the four realms that make up the heuristic. Describes the use of the heuristic as a lesson planning and analysis tool in a teacher preparation course.

"A Tale of Two Co-ops in Two Cities" (with Michèle Foster). Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 9, no. 2 (2020).

Includes two case studies of food cooperatives, one in Minneapolis, and one in Oakland.  Uses the case studies to illustrate the challenges and opportunities involved with two different approaches to opening community grocery stores. Oserves how these case studies were initially conducted in support of the Louisville Association of Community Economics.

"'Why Seek the Living among the Dead?’ African American Pedagogical Excellence: Exemplar Practice for Teacher Education" (with Melanie Acosta and Diedre Houchen). Journal of Teacher Education 69, no. 4 (2018): 341-353.

Drawing on African American historical and contemporary insights about education and reinserting the mechanisms that African American administrators, teachers, and communities used to educate their children into ongoing education discussions, this article advances the idea of African American pedagogical excellence and illustrates its potential to aid in recruiting, preparing, developing, and organizing an effective teaching force.

"Grooming Great Urban Teachers" (with Jeffrey Lewis and Laura Onafowora). Educational Leadership: Journal of Department of Supervision and Curriculum Development 62, no. 6 (2005): 28-32.

The problems of urban schools will not be ameliorated without improving the quality of the teachers who staff them. This article describes a program that was designed and implemented to simultaneously improve the competence of teachers and the schooling outcomes of their pupils.

"Philanthropy’s Role in Fostering Partnerships: Collaborating with Unions, School Districts and Communities," Grantmakers for Education, 2005.

Discusses the educational reform efforts that took place in Hamilton County.

"Teacher Beliefs, Performance and Proficiency in Diversity-Oriented Teacher Preparation" in Advances in Teacher Education, edited by James D. Raths (Information Age Publishing, 2003), 43-64.

Examines teacher preparation programs arguing that the approaches adopted by many teacher preparation programs not only fail to prepare white teacher candidates to work successfully with children of color, but also impede the recruitment of teachers of color.

"Ebonics and All That Jazz" The Quarterly 19, no. 1 (1997): 7-12.

Responds to the hysteria that followed the Oakland Unified School District issue of the Ebonics Resolution. Addresses some of the linguistics, education and political realities of the decision.