Michelle Madsen Camacho, PhD

Michelle Madsen Camacho
Fax: (619) 260-2267
Office: Saints Tekakwitha & Serra Hall 315F

Professor, Sociology
Ethnic Studies

  • Michelle M. Camacho’s Ph.D. is from the University of California, Irvine, in the interdisciplinary fields of Sociology and Cultural Anthropology (Program in Social Relations). She is Professor and former Chair of the department of Sociology at the University of San Diego, and affiliated faculty with the Departments of Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the School of Peace and Justice.  She has been teaching at the university level since 1993.  Her research and community relations are grounded in interdisciplinary sources including cultural studies, critical race, and gender theories; central to her work are questions of culture, power and inequality.  She conducted three years of fieldwork in Latin America, studied Quechua language and Andean area studies at Cornell University. Her B.A. is from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles. 

Camacho brings over 25 years of experience working with historically marginalized groups. Since the early 90s, she has worked to establish retention programs for women and minorities in under-represented fields, and has sustained continuous funding since 2005 from the National Science Foundation to examine inequities in higher education focusing on the persistence of women and people of color in STEM education. She also served the NSF grant ADVANCE initiatives to address and improve institutional climate at USD, and offers thought leadership to produce institutional innovation through the NSF’s Revolutionizing Engineering Departments program. As a Latina ethnographer, she has extensive experience serving Spanish-speaking communities, and has engaged numerous NGOs and community organizations in collaborative efforts. 

In 2015 she was nominated and selected to be a Fellow of the American Council on Education. The ACE Fellows Program is the nation’s premier higher education leadership development program preparing senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities.  During the ACE fellowship year, Camacho visited over 40 universities across the U.S., including Puerto Rico, offering leadership insights and learning best practices.  At the national-level, Camacho currently offers workshops and presentations related to issues of equity, inclusion and diversity, and has presented at both public and private institutions. 



Areas of Expertise

Gender, Social Inequality, Race/Ethnicity

Scholarly Work

Camacho has been recognized with awards for research, innovation, and mentorship, and is a former Fulbright Scholar.  Offering program evaluation nationwide, she is also an elected member of the American Sociological Association’s Department Resource Group.  Her publications include journal articles and books, including, The Borderlands of Education:  Latinas in Engineering, a book coauthored with Dr. Susan Lord.  She is also a co-editor of Mentoring Faculty of Color:  Essays on Professional Development and Advancement in Colleges and Universities (with Dwayne Mack and Elwood Watson).  Additional work has been published in Latino Studies, the Journal of Engineering EducationJournal of Women and Minorities in Science and EngineeringJournal of Hispanics in Higher EducationHuman OrganizationMichigan Journal for Community Service LearningThought and Action, and the proceedings for the American Society of Engineering Education and Frontiers in Education, among others.  Her current research seeks to improve transitions of Post 9/11 military veterans as they transfer to institutions of higher education.