University of Vermont

Faculty Biography

Faculty Biography | Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin

Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin

Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin, Ph.D.Associate Dean, Professor

Contact Information:
309 Waterman Building

Cynthia Gerstl-Pepin is a scholar who explores the social justice implications concerning how poverty and other forms of discrimination are enmeshed with inequitable education outcomes. She is particularly interested in exploring disconnects between academic research and meaningful policy solutions. Dr. Gerstl-Pepin served as a Fulbright Scholar at Beijing Normal University in China in 2010. Based on her work in China, she co-edited a book (with Li Qi) entitled Survival of the Fittest: The Shifting Contours of Higher Education in China and the US. She is the co-author (with Catherine Marshall) of the book Reframing Educational Politics for Social Justice and the co-editor (with Judith Aiken) of the book Social Justice Leadership for a Global World. She has been published in such journals as Educational Policy, Teachers College Record, Journal of School Leadership, the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Qualitative Research, and the Review of Higher Education.

Areas of Expertise:

Democratic Governance; Diversity, Access, and Equity; Educational Policy; Ethics; Gender Studies; Higher Education; Leadership; Multiculturalism; Race and Racism; Research Methods; Social Justice; Social Policy; Social Theory


Selected Publications

  • Li, Q. & Gerstl-Pepin, C. (Eds.). (2014). Survival of the fittest: The shifting contours of higher education in China and the United States. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag GmbH Press.
  • Gerstl-Pepin, C., & Aiken, J. (Eds.). (2012). Social justice leadership for a global world. Leadership for Social Justice Book Series. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
  • Bass, L., & Gerstl-Pepin, C. (2011). Declaring bankruptcy on educational inequity. Educational Policy, 25 (6), 908-934.
  • Gerstl-Pepin, C. I., & Liang, G. (2010). Deconstructing media coverage of a Native American mascot controversy. Journal of School Public Relations. 31(2), 251-269.
  • Gerstl-Pepin, C., Patrizio, K. (2009). Learning from Dumbledore's pensieve: Metaphor as an aid in teaching reflexivity in qualitative research. Qualitative Research, 9(3), 299-308.
  • Gerstl-Pepin, C. I & Aiken, J. (2009) Democratic educational leaders: Defining ethical leadership in a standardized context. Journal of School Leadership, 19(4), 406-444.
  • Gerstl-Pepin, C. I., (2007). Introduction on the special issue on the media, democracy, and the politics of education, Peabody Journal of Education, 82(1), 1-9.
  • Gerstl-Pepin, C. I. (2006). The paradox of poverty narratives: Educators struggling with children left behind. Educational Policy, 20(1), 143-162.
  • Gunzenhauser, M. G. & Gerstl-Pepin, C. I. (2006). Engaging graduate education: A pedagogy for epistemological and theoretical diversity. Review of Higher Education, 29(3), 319-346.


  • Ph.D. in Educational Organizations and Policy Studies from University of North Caronlina, Chapel Hill

Awards & Honors

  • The Joseph Anthony Abruscato Award for Excellence in Scholarship from the College of Education and Social Services, University of Vermont from College of Education and Social Services: Awarded for Excellence in Research (2013)
  • Fulbright Scholar in China from U.S. Department of State: The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. (2010)

Professional Associations

  • American Educational Research Association (AERA), American Educational Studies Association (AESA)