John Palmer

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John Palmer

Professor of Educational Studies; Academic Director, Office of Undergraduate Studies

Department/Office Information

Education, Undergraduate Studies

John D. Palmer is a Professor of Educational Studies where he teaches social and cultural foundations of education courses with a focus on issues related to: Race and White Supremacy; Equity and Social Justice Education Policy and Practices; and Forgotten, Isolated, and Oppressed Schools. He is the author of The Dance of Identities: Korean adult adoptees reflect upon their identity journeys (University of Hawai'i Press) and lead editor of Internationalization of East Asian higher education: Globalization's impact (Palgrave MacMillan).

Professor Palmer has been featured on Arirang Radio, WLSU Public Radio, and Harvard EdCast as well as keynote speaker at the Annual White Privilege Conference. He has also been invited to several venues throughout the United States and audiences in Asia (South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, and Mongolia) to speak on the issues of multicultural education, social justice pedagogy, policy, and practices, and globalization and internationalization of East Asian higher education.

Palmer has served as Chair of Educational Studies (2012-2018), Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity (2015-2018), Arnold A. Sio Chair in Diversity and Community (2016-2018), African American Studies Faculty Coordinator (2017-2018) and Asian Studies Faculty Steering Committee (2015-2018). He has led semester long study groups to Seoul, South Korea (2011 & 2014) and was appointed to lead the Benton Scholars, class of 2017, through South Korea in the summer of 2014.

Beyond Colgate University, he is on the board of two non-profits that serve recently resettled refugees in the Syracuse area -- The Boaz Foundation (educational services) and Building the Bridge Foundation (housing assistance) and serves as deacon at the Korean Church of Syracuse where he is active with local missionary endeavors.

  • BA, University of Northern Iowa
  • MA, Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University
  • PhD, Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, The University of Iowa
  • Yonsei University, International Summer School, Lecturer, Seoul, Summer 2011
  • Yonsei University, College of Sciences in Education, Visiting Professor, Seoul, 2010–2011
  • Yonsei University, Graduate School of Education, Visiting Professor, Seoul, 2010–2011
  • Yonsei University, Graduate School of International Studies, Lecturer, Seoul, 2010–2011
  • Seoul National University of Education, Graduate School of Education, Lecturer, Seoul, 2010-2011
  • Kyung Hee University, Graduate School of Education, Lecturer, Seoul, 2011
  • Kyung Hee University, Summer Collaborative, Visiting Professor, Seoul, Summer 2008
  • Vanderbilt University, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Special Education and Teaching & Learning, 2001-2002

Courses Taught

  • Race, White Supremacy, and Education
  • High Needs Schools: The Forgotten, Isolated, and Oppressed Schools
  • Introduction to Research Methods in Education
  • The American School
  • Theories in Teaching and Learning
  • Comparative and International Education
  • Senior Seminar

Research Specialties

  • Racial and ethnic identity development
  • Social justice education
  • Anti-racist curriculum and pedagogy
  • Korean globalization
  • Race, white supremacy and education


  • The Dance of Identities: Korean adult adoptees reflect upon their identity journeys. Honolulu: The University of Hawai'i Press, 2010.
  • Palmer, J.D.; Roberts, A.C.; Cho, Y.H.; and Ching, G. (Eds.). Internationalization of East Asian Higher Education: Globalization's Impact. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011.

 Refereed select journal articles:

  • Cho, Y. H., & Palmer, J. D. (2012). Stakeholders’ views upon South Korea’s higher education internationalization policy. Higher Education: The International Journal of Higher Education Research.
  • Palmer, J. D., & Cho, Y. H. (2012). South Korean higher education internationalization policies: Perceptions and experiences. Asia Pacific Education Review.
  • Palmer, J. D. (2007). Who is the authentic Korean American? Korean-born Korean American high school students' negotiations of ascribed and achieved identities. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 6(4), 277-298.
  • Palmer, J. D. (2006). Negotiating the indistinct: Reflections of a Korean adopted American working with Korean born, Korean Americans. Qualitative Research 6(4), 473-495.
  • Palmer, J. D., & Jang, E. (2005). Korean born, Korean American high school students' entry into understanding race and racism through social interactions and conversations. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8(3), 297-317.

Refereed chapters in edited book:

  • Palmer, J. D., & Cho, Y. H. Does internationalization really mean Americanization? A closer look at major South Korean universities’ internationalization policies. In J. D. Palmer et al. (Eds.), Internationalization of East Asian Higher Education: Globalization's Impact. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Roberts, A., & Palmer, J. D. Ideologies of the globalization and internationalization of higher education. In J. D. Palmer et al. (Eds.), Internationalization of East Asian Higher Education: Globalization's Impact. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Artiles, A. J., Trent, S. C., & Palmer, J. D. (2004). Culturally diverse students in special education: Legacies and prospects. In J. A. Banks & C. A. McGee Banks (Eds.), Handbook of research on multicultural education(pp. 716-735). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Palmer, J. D. (2001). Korean adopted young women: Gender bias, racial issues, and educational implications. In C. C. Park, A. Lin Goodwin, & S. J. Lee (Eds.), Research on the education of Asian Pacific Americans (pp. 177-204). Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing Inc.

Book reviews:

  • Palmer, J. D., & Cho, Y.H. (2012). Review of the book The intimate university: Korean American students and the problems of segregation by Nancy Abelmann (Duke University Press, 2009). Educational Review.
  • Palmer, J. D., & Hines, M. R. (2003). Review of the book Ethnicity, race, and nationality in education: A global perspective by Editors N. Ken Shimahara, Ivan Z. Holowinsky, and Saundra Tomlinson-Clarke. Teachers College Record, 105(1).

Invited articles/editorials:

  • Pang, V. O., & Palmer, J.D. (2012) "Model minorities and the model minorities myth", in James A. Banks (editor) Encyclopedia of diversity in education.  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • (2011, February). 유럽의 대학생 이동과 한 * 중 * 일 대학생 교류 현황 (European student mobility: What can Korea, Japan, and China garner from the European model? In Byung Shik Rhee (Ed.).한중일 대학생 교류프로그램 시범사업 추진 및 협의전략 연구(Korean, China, Japan's college student exchange program pilot project: Propulsion and consultation strategic studies) (pp. 177-241). Seoul, South Korea: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
  • (2010, October). Teaching anti-racism/anti-oppression in 21st Century multiracial society. In 고양 2010 문화나눔 한마당 (Goyang 2010 Culture Sharing Festival). Goyang City, South Korea: (재)문화나눔재단 (Cultural Sharing Foundation).
  • (2004, August 5). 좋은 교사를 능가하는 대책은 없다 (No Child Left Behind: The problem with accountability and high stakes testing). 교육정책포럼: 한국교육개발원 (The Forum on Educational Policy: Korean Educational Development Institute), 84, 3-10.
  • (2004, August 7). "우리 해외 입양인은 강합니다" (We Overseas Korean Adoptees are Strong). 중앙일보 오피니언 (Joongang Newspaper--Opinion Page), 12314(43), p. 22.
  • Chair, Department of Educational Studies, 2012-2018
  • Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity, 2015-2018
  • Arnold A. Sio Chair for Community and Diversity, 2016-2018
  • African American Studies Faculty Coordinator, 2017 - 2018
  • Asian Studies Steering Committee Faculty Representative, 2015 - 2018
John Palmer and the students in his study group take a group photo on a rock face

South Korea Study Group

I led the semester long study groups to Seoul, South Korea in 2011 & 2014. Yonsei University served as our host institution, yet our students were able to explore South Korean schools and society through a variety of field trips and school visits. Our students had the opportunity to work with a diversity of students by conducting service learning projects in the schools. For example, a group of students worked with North Korean resettlers (North Korean refugee students who have resettled in South Korea) to learn more about social justice education, another group worked with biracial Black and Korean high school students to engage in scholarship related to race, racism, and supremacy, some of our bilingual students tutored "multicultural" (recent immigrants from Southeast Asia, China, and Kenya) elementary school students in Korean and English language, and a group of young women from Colgate were paired with working class young women to improve their English reading and writing skills. 

John Palmer and he Benton Scholars take a group photo while traveling in Korea

Benton Scholars 

I introduced the Benton Scholars, class of 2017, to South Korea through teaching Core Korea and leading a two and half week exploration of the peninsula in the summer of 2014. We traveled extensively in Seoul and beyond. Students visited Panmunjom — the Demilitarized Zone and designated meeting place for North and South Korea, stayed at a village that dates back to the 16th century, watched the sunrise on the East Sea, climbed Seoraksan, cheered for the Doosan Bears at a Korean Baseball Organization game, and ate our way across the region.