Martha McCarthy prepares doctoral graduates to be change agents for social justice in schools. Students often think education law constrains creativity, but McCarthy disagrees. “My central focus is getting educators to understand that a legal perspective helps them perform their jobs and make decisions that are more equitable and fair,” she says.
McCarthy teaches educational law and policy to students seeking a doctorate in education in LMU’s only doctoral program, Leadership for Social Justice. Her life’s work started in 1968, when Teacher Magazine honored her as outstanding teacher of disadvantaged youth in the U.S. Recent awards she is proud of include the Living Legend Award in 2002 from the National Council of Professors of Educational Administration (fourth recipient, first female), and the Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 from the University Council for Educational Administration.
In 2013 the Martha McCarthy Law and Policy Institute was established at Indiana University, where McCarthy was a faculty member in the School of Education from 1975 to 2011.
McCarthy was selected as a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), received the AERA Division A Excellence in Research Award, and was honored with the Legacy Award from the Journal of Educational Administration, all in 2016.