About Dr. Nelson
Dr. Steven L. Nelson joined the faculty of the Leadership Department at the University of Memphis in fall 2015. He joins the faculty after serving one year at the University of New Orleans. Dr. Nelson holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the Pennsylvania State University. He also holds a J.D. from the University Of Iowa College of Law as well as a M.A.T. from Xavier University of Louisiana. His undergraduate background is in Political Science from the Louisiana State University. Dr. Nelson joins the faculty in the Leadership Department with a wide range of experiences. He taught in the private and public (both traditional and charter) schools in the New Orleans area. During his time as a high school teacher, Dr. Nelson rose to the level of teacher-leader where he dispatched administrative duties that included curriculum design and alignment, behavior intervention and classroom management support and instructional coaching. Dr. Nelson joined the staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center's School-to-Prison Pipeline Project in New Orleans after exiting the traditional role of an educator in the school building. At SPLC, Dr. Nelson worked on charter school law and policy, special education and juvenile justice advocacy and supported students, parents and communities in accessing equitable educational opportunities.
Research and Scholarly Activities
Dr. Nelson's research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of law, policy and politics. He is particularly interested in how law, policy and politics advance or retard efforts at achieving equity in educational systems. The focus of Dr. Nelson's research is typically on school choice models. He has written and published numerous pieces on school choice and educational equity. Dr. Nelson's work has been published in various media including law reviews, education journals and books. Dr. Nelson is an active member of the Education Law Association and frequently presents at national conferences and symposia. Though research and teaching are large parts of his duties at the University of Memphis, Dr. Nelson most enjoys the opportunity to mentor students through the research and writing process. He often coauthors pieces with students. Dr. Nelson also enjoys being mentored and actively seeks new professional and personal mentors.
When not in his professional role, Dr. Nelson is active in the community. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. He has held various appointed positions in his chapter and seizes every opportunity to participate in the organization's Guide Right activities. Dr. Nelson is a member of numerous book clubs, and is seeking to start a critical race theory-based club in the Memphis area.