Dr. Michelle Samura is Assistant Professor and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education. Dr. Samura primarily teaches in Chapman's undergraduate Integrated Educational Studies (IES) Program where she challenges students to think boldly and broadly about what it means to be an "educator" in today's society. Additionally, as the founding Co-Director of the Collaborate Initiative, she is engaged in efforts to reconceptualize purposes of higher education and develop ways to help people rethink where and how "learning" happens.
Dr. Samura’s research examines the intersections of space, race, and education. She is particularly interested in how a spatial approach offers a unique lens to more effectively examine varying levels of power and an accessible language to talk about the related dilemmas with which people wrestle. Drawing upon theories and methods from critical geography, visual sociology, education, architecture, and design, Dr. Samura recently launched the “Architecture of Belonging” project. The longitudinal study examines the role of space in the development of belonging and community in higher education settings. This work has a wide range of theoretical and pragmatic implications, such as offering an unconventional, student-informed approach to examine and address campus climate issues in higher education as well as K-12 settings; re-conceptualizing campus and classroom designs; and developing meaningful university-school-community partnerships.
Dr. Samura also is working on several other research projects including a study on emergent meanings of "Asian American-ness." She also is principal investigator of the “Connecting Communities” project that studies processes of collaboration among universities, schools, and communities. In addition to contributing to the research literature on university-community partnerships, the Connecting Communities project is informing the development of ongoing, mutually beneficial collaborations between Chapman and the surrounding neighborhood.
Dr. Samura's research and teaching have garnered a number of awards including selection as a semi-finalist for the 2011 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, recognition as one of the University of Michigan's National Center for Institutional Diversity Emerging Diversity Scholars, and recipient of the University of California All Campus Consortium On Research for Diversity Dissertation Fellowship. She also was awarded the 2015-2017 Outstanding Teaching Professorship Award, Chapman’s highest teaching honor.Collaborate Initiative website
K-12 Teaching Experience
Dr. Samura earned her California Clear Single Subject Teaching Credential in Social Sciences from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She taught U.S. History, World History, U.S. Government, and Economics at Schurr High School in Montebello, CA.
Pearson, H. & Samura, M. (in press). Re(examining) students’ notions of intersectionality through a spatial lens. In E. Kim & K. Aquino (Eds.), Disability as Diversity in Higher Education: Policies and Practices to Enhance Student Success (pp. TBD). New York, NY: Routledge.
Samura, M. (2016). How Can Residence Hall Spaces Facilitate Student Belonging? Examining Students’ Experiences to Inform Campus Planning and Programs. Planning for Higher Education, 44(4), 90-101.
Samura, M. (2016). Architecture of diversity: Using the lens and language of space to examine racialized experiences of students of color on college campuses. In P. A. Pasque, M. P. Ting, N. Ortega, & J. C. Burkhardt (Eds.), Transforming understandings of diversity in higher education: Demography, democracy and discourse (pp. 123-143). Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Samura, M. (2016). Remaking selves, repositioning selves, or remaking space: An examination of Asian American college students’ processes of “belonging.” Journal of College Student Development, 57(2), 135-150.
Samura, M. (2015). Wrestling with expectations: An examination of how Asian American college students negotiate personal, parental, and societal expectations. Journal of College Student Development, 56(6), 600-616.
Samura, M. (2013). Asian American college students. In X. Zhao and E. Park (Eds.), Asian Americans: An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic, and Political History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
Samura, M. (2013). The Prime Timers: A collective exploration of purpose in an Asian American faith community. Journal of Religion, Spirituality, and Aging, 25(3), 207-215.
Neely, B. & Samura, M. (2011). Social geographies of race: Connecting race and space. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(11), 1933-1952.
Samura, M. (2011). Racial transformations in higher education: Emergent meanings of Asian American racial identities. In X. L. Rong & R. Endo (Eds.) Asian American Education: Identities, Racial Issues, and Languages (pp. 73-100). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Neely, B. & Samura, M. (2016, August). Revisiting Racial Space: Exploring Belonging, Community, and the Built Environment. Paper presented at the 2016 Society for the Study of Social Problems Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.
Samura, M. (2016, May). Architecture of belonging. Invited presentation at the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity “Future of Diversity Research” Conference, Ann Arbor, MI.
Nease, B. & Samura, M. (2015, July). Exploring connections between video game play and “cheating” among adolescents. Poster accepted for presentation at the Gaming, Learning, & Society Conference, Madison, WI.
Moore, M. & Samura, M. (2015, April). Pathways to building positive teacher-student relationships: A case-study of two elementary school teachers. Poster presented at the 2015 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.
Nease, B. & Samura, M. (2015, March). Exploring connections between video game play and “cheating” among adolescents. Poster presented at the California Council on Teacher Education Conference, San Jose, CA.
Neely, B. & Samura, M. (2014, August). Social interactions of race and space. Paper accepted for presentation at the 2014 Society for the Study of Symbolic Interactionism Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Norman, R. & Samura, M. (2014, August). The spiral staircase of poverty: A case study on women and the welfare system. Paper presented at the 2014 Society for the Study of Social Problems Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Samura, M. (2014, April). Racial transformations through higher education: A comparative examination of how Asian American young adults understand their racial identities during and after college. Paper presented at the 2014 Association for Asian American Studies Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.