Michael R. Hillis

Michael R. Hillis, Ph.D.

Dean & Professor - Graduate School of Education and Interim Chair for the Department of Learning and Teaching

After completing my doctorate at the University of Washington, I taught at East Tennessee State University for three years before moving back to the Pacific Northwest at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). While at PLU, I served as a faculty member, assessment and accreditation coordinator, and administrator for 18 years. Additionally, in 2000-2001, I was a Fulbright Scholar in Norway where I gave presentations to middle level students and teachers throughout the country. In 2008 and 2014, I was the Site Director for the Study Away Program in Trinidad and Tobago. My writing and research interests include the construction of race and ethnicity in the classroom, the moral assumptions of multicultural education, and the development of community partnerships.

  • Ph.D. - 1994 University of Washington, Seattle, WA
    • Educational Psychology
    • Areas of Specialization: Multicultural Education, Cognition, and Development
  • M.Ed. - 1991 Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
    • School Counseling
  • Teaching Endorsement - 1987 University of Washington, Seattle, WA
    • English
  • BAE - 1986 Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
    • Speech, Theater, and French

Recent Publications:

  • Hillis, M.R. & Kline, F.M. (2017). Martin Luther King Jr. and leadership: Building the beloved communities within the academy. International Journal of Leadership and Change 5(1), 31-38.
  • Hillis, M.R. (April 24, 2016). Teaching profession needs a climate change. Ventura County Star, B8.
  • Hillis, M.R. (2013). Establishing Martin Luther King’s beloved community for the education of black youth. Religion & Education, 40(2), 173-188.
  • Hamel, F.L., & Hillis, M.R. (2012). “I am the master of my fate”: Professors and teenagers conduct action research on motivation. Washington State Kappan, 6(1), 27-36.
  • Hillis, M.R. (2012). “Virtues Gone Mad”: Lewis and Chesterton on the misdirection of love, faith, and hope. The Chesterton Review, 38(1&2), 71-82.
  • Hillis, M.R. & Kline, F.M. (March 23, 2012). Viewpoint: U.S. education system might not need to catch up with the rest of the world. Tacoma News Tribune, p. A13.
  • Hillis, M.R., & Woolworth, S. (2008). If Dr. King were a principal: Building the 'beloved community' in schools. Democracy & Education, 18(1), 9-15.
  • Byrnes, R.S., & Hillis, M.R. (2006). Will we craft a new social studies education? The Journal of the Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies, 6(2), 37-41.
  • Byrnes, R.S. & Hillis, M.R. (2005). Exploring cultural conflicts: Journeys toward peace. A K-12 curriculum developed in association with the Bancroft-Arnesen Arctic Expedition. Translated editions in Russian and Norwegian available at http://www.yourexpedition.com/education/


Grant Funding

Recent Grant Funding:

  • Herrera, C. (2016-2021). Project Acabado. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education Title III HSI Grant. California Lutheran University Cooperative Partner. M.R. Hillis, CLU Project Director ($1.4 million sub-contract total).
  • Tacoma Public Schools (2013-2015). Teach 253: A program funded by the Recruit Washington Teachers program. M.R. Hillis, primary author ($60,000 total).
  • Tacoma Public Schools (2012). Planning proposal for a Recruit Washington Teachers grant – M.R. Hillis, primary author ($20,000).
  • Hillis, M.R., Bruce, T., Tiedeman, L. (2011). Teaching and Learning with Technology Grant. PLU Office of the Provost ($1,500)
  • Colgan, S. & Hillis, M.R. (2005-2011). Funding for the South Sound Regional Science Fair. Intel Corporation ($175,000 total).
Search Faculty

For Faculty