Margaret Smith Crocco

As a social studies scholar, women's studies advocate, and educational historian, I have pursued a series of feminist engagements with citizenship education. My academic life has been strongly influenced by ideas related to feminist praxis, for example, social justice, peace education, eco-feminism, human rights, and global awareness .  My work in women's studies has also stimulated interest in innovative pedagogical practices and knowledge of the critical role of education in improving the life prospects of female--and male--students, both in this country and elsewhere.

I have taught social studies, women's history, American History, Women's Studies, and American Studies at institutions across the country.  I have created two signature courses: Women of the World: Issues in Teaching and Diversity and the Social Studies Curriculum. Both were efforts to make teacher education more inclusive of all students, but especially those in urban schools. In Spring 2017, I did the inaugural teaching of a new capstone course, WS897, offered in affiliation with MSU's Center for Gender in a Global Context.

 As an academic leader, I've served in a variety of positions. When I taught high school in New Jersey, I founded the Council for Women in Independent Schools and served as faculty development coordinator, leading a project on diversifying the curriculum for our K-12 school and its affiliated institutions across the United States. For ten years I coordinated one of the largest programs at Teachers College, Columbia University, substantially increasing the number of students and doubling the number of faculty. I was elected as the chair of the largest department there, Arts and Humanities, with over eleven hundred students and fifty faculty members. Today, I serve as Chairperson of the largest department in the College of Education at Michigan State University, the Department of Teacher Education.

In terms of service, most recently, I have been elected chair of AERA's Lives of Teachers SIG. Years ago, I was elected  Chair of the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies ( and was re-elected to the CUFA Executive Board in 2016. At Teachers College, I was also elected Chair of the Faculty Executive Council , the chief representative body for the over one hundred and sixty faculty members at that institution. I served on the Scholars and Advocates for Gender Equity committee at the American Educational Research Association (

Over the last several years, I have pursued a variety of research and publication projects as well as doing ongoing work on curriculum development. My most recent curriculum project, a Readers Guide and Teachers Guide for Julie Otsuka's When the Emperor was Divine, was lots of fun since I did it with my son Brian, a former high school teacher. My most recent research project, conducted with fellow MSU faculty members Anne-Lise Halvorsen, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Avner Segall, was funded by the Spencer Foundation: "Understanding High School Students' Use of Evidence in Deliberating Public Issues: An Empirical Study." We're working on getting our research results into print now, and the findings are fascinating. Stay tuned!


Born in Illinois, and reared in New Jersey, I did my undergraduate studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and my graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.