Educator & Researcher


Dr. Laura McNeal is currently working with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard Law School and also serves as an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Louisville’s Brandeis School of Law. Prior to her work at Harvard, Dr. McNeal served as a Visiting Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law. She has also worked as an Assistant Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Teacher Education at the Michigan State University College of Education, which has been ranked #1 by the U.S. News and World Report rankings for the past 19 consecutive years. During her tenure in the MSU College of Education, Dr. McNeal worked as a lead faculty member with the Future Teachers for Social Justice Grant Program, which was funded by the Skillman Foundation. Through this grant program, Dr. McNeal worked with high school students in Detroit to increase their academic readiness for college and encourage them to pursue careers in teaching. Additionally she helped develop the curriculum for a 5 year, 5 million-dollar grant pipeline program in the College of Education at Michigan State University. Dr. McNeal has also served on the faculty in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University where she taught education law, policy and leadership courses.

Dr. McNeal received her Juris Doctorate degree from Washington University, St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Foundations from Illinois State University. She utilizes an interdisciplinary lens to conduct research, which examines how various laws and policies shape and influence the experiences of people from traditionally marginalized populations. More specifically, Dr. McNeal utilizes empirical methodologies to examine issues of access and equity in the areas of education and employment law. Dr. McNeal has contributed to the national debate on law, education policy, and race relations through op-eds and radio and television news features for CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, C-Span Washington Journal, NPR and various other news networks. She has also served as a keynote speaker for various institutions and organizations such as Harvard Law School, University of Arkansas School of Law and Rice University.

“Next in importance to freedom and justice is education, without which neither justice nor freedom can be permanently maintained.”