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Dr. Dana Thompson Dorsey

Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

University of South Florida

Pronouns: (she/her)


Dana N. Thompson Dorsey, JD, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of South Florida. Her research and teaching focuses on education law and policy issues, as well as critical race studies. Specifically, Dr. Thompson Dorsey’s research critically examines federal, state, and local education laws and policies, as well as PreK-20 school and university practices, and how they influence equity, access, and opportunities for historically minoritized students and communities. Her research focuses primarily on issues related to school segregation, school discipline, the school-to-prison pipeline, race-based admissions policies in higher education, school choice policies, as well as implicit bias and culturally responsive school policies and practices.

In addition, Dr. Thompson Dorsey designs and conducts professional development programming that addresses racial equity and culturally proficient policies and practices for school districts, corporations, and other organizations and governmental entities. She is published in numerous leading education journals, such as Teachers College Record, Educational Administration Quarterly, Peabody Journal of Education, and Educational Policy, and currently serves as a co-editor for Educational Researcher (2019-2023). Dr. Thompson Dorsey has received grant funding from the Spencer and Gates Foundations for her research. She is often interviewed on or quoted in national and local media outlets, including the New York Times and National Public Radio (NPR), where she is recognized as an expert on racial equity and education law and policy issues.

Dr. Thompson Dorsey received a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education with concentrations in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education and Policy Studies. Additionally, she earned a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and a B.S. in Accounting from The Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. Before her faculty and administrative appointments at USF, Dr. Thompson Dorsey was an Associate Professor and the Associate Director for the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. Moreover, Dr. Thompson Dorsey was an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Senior Research Analyst for COSMOS Corporation, a research, evaluation and policy firm in the Washington, DC area, and a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Virginia. Prior to working in academia, Dr. Thompson Dorsey was a practicing attorney specializing in employment discrimination and civil rights litigation.