Published: Dec. 1, 2021

Elizabeth MeyerThe American Educational Research Association (AERA) has selected University of Colorado Boulder Associate Professor Elizabeth J. Meyer for the AERA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research, and she will be honored at the 2021 AERA Awards Celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 7. 

Established in 2006, the Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award recognizes individuals within AERA for distinguished research, professional practice, and activities that advance public understanding of gender and/or sexuality at any level in the education community.

A former high school teacher, Meyer is associate professor of Educational Foundations, Policy and Practice in the CU Boulder School of Education, and her research and writing primarily focuses on issues related to gender and sexual diversity in K-12 schools.

Among her most significant contributions is a conceptual framework describing the family of behaviors that constitute gendered harassment, explains Lorrie Shepard, CU Boulder Distinguished Professor and one of the Meyer’s nominators. Meyer’s construct of gendered harassment goes beyond the more familiar portrayals of homophobic bullying, Shepard contends, to include multiple forms of bullying and harassment that control the boundaries of gender norms, which includes heterosexual harassment, homophobic harassment and harassment for gender-nonconformity. 

“Her theoretical approach also goes further than other research on LGBT-inclusive education to consider how all individuals are affected by culturally imposed gender and sexual norms, not just those who identify with one of the LGBTQ categories,” Shepard said. 

Meyer has authored two books, Gender, Bullying, and Harassment: Strategies to end sexism and homophobia in Schools (Teachers College Press, 2009) and Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schools (Springer, 2010), and co-edited Gender and Sexualities in Education and Supporting Transgender and Gender Creative Youth: Schools, Families, and Communities in Action. 

In addition to her published works, Meyer regularly contributes to national conferences, the media, and her blog for Psychology Today.

She is a highly regarded mentor and teacher, and she has served as associate dean for students and associate dean for teacher education in the School of Education. She has been a leader in AERA’s Queer Studies Special Interest Group (SIG) for a decade, and she has served as the SIG’s chair, co-chair, awards committee member and mentor.

From early on in her career, Meyer and her scholarship have pushed the envelope and held steadfast in expanding education research that’s inclusive of gender and sexual diversity and equity. This award is both a touching surprise for her personally and evidence of her significant contributions to and leadership on the forefront of LGBTQ-inclusive research.

“I was blown away to get this recognition from our professional association, because for many years, this work didn’t feel like it carried much weight in the educational research community,” she said. “I was thrilled to get my position in the CU Boulder School of Education primarily because of my queer and feminist research, and it has been very meaningful to have my work affirmed, recognized and taken up by my colleagues in our graduate studies and teacher education programs and now being celebrated by AERA is icing on the cake.
“It means everything to me that our professional association chooses to recognize research on gender equity, particularly scholarship focused on the LGBTQ community that uses queer theory and intersectional feminist theories as lenses of analysis.”

AERA is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning, and the 2021 AERA Awards for Excellence in Education Research Ceremony will be held virtually on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. MST. Learn more and register at