» Dr. Miguel Zavala
Associate Professor

Attallah College of Educational Studies
Dr. Miguel Zavala
Office Location:
Reeves Hall 10-C
University of California, Los Angeles, Bachelor of Arts
Cornell University, Master of Science
University of California, Los Angeles, Ph.D.

Miguel Zavala joined the Attallah College of Educational Studies in 2015 and teaches in the Integrated Educational Studies and Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction (MACI) programs. Dr. Zavala earned his doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles in Education with an emphasis in Urban Schooling. Prior to joining the Chapman University community, Dr. Zavala worked in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), where he taught courses in curriculum theory, action research, diversity in education, and content-area literacy.  Along with colleagues at CSUF, he helped form the Center for Migrant Students & Families, serving as Director of the 2015 Migrant Student Leadership Institute (MSLI), a residential program that empowers migrant youth throughout the state of California. Since 2013, he has assumed key leadership positions in the California Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (CA-NAME).  For the past decade he has been an active member and founder of grassroots organizations in South Los Angeles and is currently organizing with Chicana/o high school students in Santa Ana, CA.

Dr. Zavala’s research explores the possibilities of learning and teaching within grassroots spaces. In particular, he builds on the emerging scholarship by critical Chicana/o and Indigenous scholar-activists, working with a decolonizing framework for understanding pedagogical, research, and community organizing processes and spaces. His most recent work involves studying and building Youth Participatory Action Research projects in urban contexts.

K-12 Teaching Experience
Miguel Zavala worked in the Los Angeles Unified School District for six years, in some of the most neglected urban areas of Los Angeles. He taught English and Social Studies at the middle school level and English at high school level. For the past eight summers, Dr. Zavala has been teaching social science, writing, and sociology in alternative programs that seek to empower urban and migrant high school students.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications
Dr. Zavala’s research on learning and action-research in grassroots spaces has been published in the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing and the journal Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. He has made critical contributions to the other fields such as urban teacher education (Urban Education) and community-university partnerships (published in the Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis). He has also several published chapters, his most recent being a theorization that outlines a Chicana/o standpoint for educational praxis. For the past six years has served as Lead Editor for Regeneración: The Association of Raza Educators Journal, a grassroots publication.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications
Zavala, M. & Tran, N.A. (2016). Negotiating identities, locations, and creating spaces of hope for advancing students of color in university settings. In Santamaría, L. & Santamaría, A. (Eds.), Culturally Responsive Leadership in Higher Education: Promoting Equity, Access, and Improvement. New York: Routledge.
Zavala, M. & Golden, A. N. (2016). Prefiguring alternative worlds: Organic critical literacies and socio-cultural revolutions. Knowledge Cultures.
Zavala, M. (2016). Design, participation, and social change: What design in grassroots spaces can teach learning scientists. Curriculum & Instruction.
Fuentes, R., Villon, A., & Zavala, M. (2016). Community leadership together with teacher-led efforts: Making ethnic studies possible at El Rancho Unified School District. XChange, Series Number: IP-WP-X052.
Zavala, M. (2015). From voicing to naming to re-humanization. In Sameul Totten (Ed.), The Importance of Teaching Social Issues: Our Pedagogic Creed. New York: Routledge.
Zavala, M. (2015). Michael Apple: Neo-Marxist analyst of schooling, the curriculum, and education policy. In Samuel Totten & Jon Pederson (Eds.), Educating About Social Issues in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Critical Pedagogues and their Pedagogical Theories, Volume 4. Charolette, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Zavala, M., Peréz, P., González, A., & Diaz-Villela, A. (2015). Con respeto: a conceptual model for building healthy community-university partnerships alongside Mexicana/o migrant families. Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis.
Philip, T. M. & Zavala, M. (2015). The possibilities of being “critical”: discourses that limit options for educators of color. Urban Education 51(6), 659 – 682.
Zavala, M. (2013). What do we mean by decolonizing research strategies? Lessons from decolonizing, indigenous research projects in New Zealand and Latin America. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 2(1), 55 – 71.
Zavala, M. (2013). Organizing against the neo-liberal privatization in South Los Angeles: Reflections on the transformative potential of grassroots research. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing 29(2).
Tran, N. A. & Zavala, M. (2012). Counterpoint. Is full-service community school useful in furthering equitable educational opportunity among majority-minority school populations? In C. J. Russo and A. G. Osborne (Eds.), Debating Issues in American Education. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Zavala, M. (2011). Grassroots student organizing against colonial education: interview with Ya Basta Youth Coalition. Regeneración, the Association of Raza Educators Journal, 2(1), 22 – 24. Los Angeles, CA: Association of Raza Educators Press.
Zavala, M. (2011). Rethinking the role of the state alongside a reassessment of strategies to school reform. Teachers College Record, online repository. August 29, 2011.