Michael R. Hillis

Michael R. Hillis, Ph.D.

Dean & Professor - Graduate School of Education

(805) 493-3419
SBET 104

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. Over the past few years, I served as the President of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education (AILACTE), was a Thrivent Fellow, and am currently a member dean of Deans for Impact. I have been active in accreditation work for many years, including as a member of the Board of Examiners for NCATE and CAEP and as a state reviewer in Washington and California. In 2019, I was elected to California's Committee on Accreditation. My writing and research interests include mimetic theory and leadership, 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:

  • Byrnes, R.S. & Hillis, M.R. (2018). Creating an environment for civil discourse in the classroom. The AILACTE Journal, XV(1), 35-50.
  • 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/


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).