Mikela Bjork

Assistant Professor
School of Education, Department of Teaching and Learning


Ph.D., Urban Education, CUNY Graduate Center, 2017

M.A., Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center, 2014

M.Ed, Adolescent Special Education, Long Island University (Brooklyn), 2008

B.A., Anthropology, Smith College, 2003


North University Hall
Room 133
P: 909.748.8861
E: mikela_bjork@redlands.edu


Empathic listening and sharing of personal narratives are qualities that I believe to be paramount to effective and authentic (teacher) education. I am curious to know what your experiences are/were growing up; what challenges did you face and how do those challenges inform your identity as an educator/student/thinker?

My pedagogy centers around social justice and self-reflexivity, empowering students with the skill-set to recognize their own social location in their assumptions about their students’ (dis)abilities. As a teacher of pre and in-service special education teachers, I see my job as multifaceted; it is equally as important for my students to learn about best practices, special education policy, and universal design for learning, just as much as it is important for them to engage in self-reflexive practices, willing to remain alert to their own biases and privileges that inform their every day interactions with their students and colleagues.

I am driven by a constant desire to explore, question and unpack identity formation, through a sociological and anthropological lens, with a specific interest in how our past narratives and identities inform our present narratives and identities and how can these narratives, past and present, inform/ engage/ inspire our students?

Area(s) of Expertise

Special Education; Inclusive Education; Social Justice; (Dis)ability Studies; Queer Studies; Gender and Education; Narrative Medicine; Addiction; Trauma; Public Health and Education Policy; Teacher Education


Bjork, M. (2014). Troubling troubled: Subjectivity and the (mis)understanding of “troubled” girls. Italian Journal of Disability Studies, 4, 47-61.