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Jennifer Buehler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Educational Studies


Ph.D., English and Education, University of Michigan

M.A., English, Eastern Michigan University

B.A., American Studies, Yale University

Practice Areas

  • Young Adult Literature 
  • The Teaching of Writing
  • Ethnographic Research in Education

Research Interests

As a former high school English teacher, Buehler’s primary expertise is young adult literature. She has written about the history of the field, current developments regarding diversity in publishing, and approaches to teaching that bring out the complexity of YA literary texts. During her years hosting a YA lit podcast for the National Council of Teachers of English, she interviewed many of the field’s most distinguished authors including Laurie Halse Anderson, Judy Blume, and Walter Dean Myers. Her current work focuses on advocating for young adult literature in politically divided times.

Buehler is also an ethnographer who studies issues of race, literacy, and equity in urban schools. Her early work focused on how staff members produced “toxic” school culture at an underperforming, racially divided urban high school. Her more recent work has examined the experiences of dropout and disconnected youth who chose to return to school after an interruption in their education. Buehler’s ethnographic research has been supported by a Presidential Research Fund Award, a Faculty Research Leave, a Beaumont Faculty Development Grant, and a Charter School Sponsorship Faculty Grant, all at Saint Louis University.

Publications and Media Placements

Buehler, J. (2016). Teaching reading with YA literature: Complex texts, complex lives. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Journal articles
Buehler, J. (2013). “There’s a problem, and we’ve got to face it”: How staff members wrestled with race in an urban high school. Race Ethnicity and Education, 16(5), 629-652.

Book chapters
Buehler, J. (2019). Positioning theory: Exploring power, social location, and moral choices of the American dream in American Street. In R. Ginsberg & W. Glenn (Eds.), Engaging with multicultural YA literature in the secondary classroom: Critical approaches for critical educators (11-21). New York, NY: Routledge.

Position statements
Buehler, J., Davila, D., McClure, A., & Miller, D. (2018). Preparing teachers with knowledge of children’s and YA literature. Position statement prepared for the National Council of Teachers of English. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. 

Quick reference guides
Buehler, J. (2019). Teaching reading with YA literature. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Buehler, J. (2023, June 11). Speaking up for diverse books: Five rebuttals to the most common arguments for limiting students’ choices. St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Honors and Awards

  • Spirit of the Billiken Award for Undergraduate Mentoring, Saint Louis University, 2023
  • Undergraduate Faculty Excellence Award, Saint Louis University, 2022
  • Woman of the Year, Saint Louis University
  • Excellence in Faculty Mentoring Award, Saint Louis University
  • Promising Researcher Award, National Council of Teachers of English
  • Dimond Outstanding Dissertation Award, University of Michigan
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan
  • Mary Malcomson Raphael Fellowship, University of Michigan                    
  • School of Education Scholar Award, University of Michigan
  • Graduate Deans’ Award for Research Excellence, Eastern Michigan University

Professional Organizations and Associations

  • American Educational Research Association                         
  • National Council of Teachers of English                                           
  • ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Young Adults of NCTE)   
  • National Writing Project

Community Work and Service

Buehler is regularly asked to speak, write, and consult on young adult literature. She has led workshops on teaching YA lit in local school districts and regional educational consortiums, at state conferences, and at university literary festivals. She is also regularly asked to speak and write about YA lit for the National Council of Teachers of English. She served on the steering committee for Build Your Stack, an NCTE initiative designed to cultivate the reading lives of teachers, and she was asked to chair the committee tasked with revising the NCTE position statement on preparing teachers with knowledge of children’s and young adult literature. She served as President of ALAN (the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE) in 2016.