Connecting multicultural alumni with Colgate, current students, and each other through fellowship and mentorship.

John Palmer wears many hats at Colgate. He’s associate professor and department chair of educational studies. He coordinates the African American studies concentration. He holds the Arnold A. Sio Chair in Diversity and Community for 2016–18, and he is associate provost for equity and diversity. Throughout it all, he says, “What we’re trying to do is make Colgate a better place — for our students, for our staff, for our faculty. And that will be lived on and on.”

He tells his students, “Your story fits here. Now, take that story and connect it to the ways in which we think about educational theories.” He adds, “I come into the classroom with mind, body, and soul. And I think students are attracted to that.”

John Palmer


  • Race, White Supremacy, and Education
  • High Needs Schools
  • Introduction to Research Methods in Education
  • The American School

Research interests

  • Ethnic/racial identity formation and development
  • Social justice education
  • Cross-cultural competency and development
  • Refugee educational experiences
  • South Korean higher education internationalization policies
  • Multicultural education in South Korea
  • Anti-racist policy, theory, and pedagogy

Current projects

  • Educating the Enemy: North Korean Resettlers in South Korean Schools
  • Afghan refugee resettlement in central New York

Professional involvement

  • The Boaz Foundation
  • American Educational Research Association
  • Comparative and International Education Society


Palmer discusses how current and changing immigration policy will affect primary education in the United States on the Harvard EdCast. Charles Miller ’06, a former student of Palmer’s and a graduate student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, requested that Palmer be asked onto the show.