Marlon I. Cummings

  Division Chair
  708-534-4396ext. 4396
  Office Location: G211
  College: CEHD

Interdisciplinary Leadership, Ed.D.
Educational Administration
Division of Education



Educational & Organizational Leadership
Culturally Response Practices and Leadership
Organizational Change
Educational Policy Reform



Dr. Marlon I. Cummings’ teaching, research, and service stems from his work as a staunch advocate for improving equity in education and developing organizational leaders. Currently he serves as the Division Chair in the Division of Education. Prior to this role, Dr. Cummings worked as a tenured Associate Professor, serving as Director for the Interdisciplinary Leadership Doctorate Program and also taught in the Education Administration, Principal Preparation Program.

Dr. Cummings’ career in education began as a middle school science and math teacher in Washington, DC. After working as a teacher for several years, he shifted his career to nonprofit leadership and served as the Director of Programs for an organization that focused on addressing issues of adolescent bullying and harassment. With a passion for public service and education, he moved back to Chicago and worked for nearly a decade as a Principal Consultant with the Illinois State Board of Education. During this time, Dr. Cummings worked as an adjunct instructor instructing and mentoring educators earning graduate degrees in Education Administration and Teaching. Prior to his current role, he worked in outreach and community organizing for an education policy advocacy non-profit in Chicago.

Dr. Marlon I. Cummings earned his B.S. in Biological Engineering from Florida A&M University, his Masters in Public Administration from The American University, and his Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy and Organizational Leadership from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Marlon is currently married to Alexandria M. Cummings, a non-profit executive and a Financial Education advocate, and they have a son Isaac Alexander. In his free time, he enjoys reading, spending time with family and loved ones, and playing golf.



Dr. Cummings’ research interests include, culturally responsive leadership, organizational change and reform, organizational leadership, school-community relations, and educational policy reform. He has several peer-reviewed publications, has presented at an array of local, regional, and national educational and leadership conferences. A list of his most recent publications and conference presentations are below:



Jemison-Ewing, I. & Cummings, M.I. (2022). Conversations about academic success: Supportive context for the development of high achieving black students. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, Special Issue on Anti-Racist Education, 34(2), pp. 116-139

Mallory, D. & Cummings, M.I. (2022). Work motivation and job satisfaction’s influence on the multigenerational workforce in public agencies. In Quincy Martin, III (Ed.), Career Development and Job Satisfaction (pp. 69-90). Novia Science Publishing.

Cummings, M.I., & Kidan, K. (2021). Increasing pedagogical training for online faculty: The importance of developing culturally responsive practices. Journal of Educators Online, 18(3).

Campos-Moreira, L. D., Cummings, M.I., Grumbach, G., Williams, H. E., & Hooks, K. (2020). Making a case for culturally humble leadership practices through a culturally responsive leadership framework [Editorial]. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership, and Governance. DOI: 10.1080/23303131.2020.1822974

Cummings, M.I. & Olson, J. (2019). The importance and potential of community partnerships in urban schools in an era of high stakes accountability. Improving Schools, 23(2), pp. 1-16. DOI:

Cummings, M.I. & Williams, H. (2018). Developing leaders decision-making skills: Considerations for making the decision to privatize services. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 19(3), pp. 21-34.



Cummings, M.I., Olson, J., & Rao, A.B. (2022). Building capacity to promote equity and opportunity in urban education in a post-COVID era. Symposium Panel, Mid-Western Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH – October 2022

Williams, L. & Cummings, M.I. (2022). The importance of teacher leaders developing a culturally responsive framework. Paper Presentation, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA – March 2022 (accepted, but unable to present)

Cummings, M.I. & Williams, L. (2021). The importance of developing a culturally responsive leadership framework in rural and suburban school districts. Paper Presentation, University Council of Educational Administrators Annual Meeting, Columbus, OH – November 2021

Meza, R., Cummings, M.I., Olson, J., & Rawls, S. (2021). The woke academy: A Legacy of Freire’s critical consciousness at public commuter universities. Paper Presentation, American Education Studies Association, Portland, OR – November 2021

Olson, J., Cummings, M.I. & Rao, A.B. (2021). Reframing perspectives of urban youth: Can field experiences and urban school shift future educators’ perceptions and assumptions? Research in Progress, Mid-Western Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH – October 2021

Cummings, M.I. (2019). Rethinking educational leadership development: An interdisciplinary culturally responsive approach to online doctorate programs. Paper Presentation, University Council of Educational Administrators Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA – November 2019

Cummings, M.I. & Olson, J. (2019). Collaboration efforts in teacher development and school reform: Administrators’ narratives of the impact of community partnerships. Paper Presentation, University Council of Educational Administrators Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA – November 2019

Koonce, D. A., Carr, L., & Cummings, M.I. (2019). Effects of SB100 on school district suspension rates and climate. Poster Presentation, Illinois School Psychologists Association (ISPA). Springfield, IL. – January 2019

Cummings, M.I. and Rawls, S. (2018). School community relationships and activists: Maintaining fidelity in school culture change. Poster Presentation, American Education Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY – May 2018

Cummings, M.I., Vujaklija, A., & Hisrich, K. (2018). Culturally-responsive teaching through the camera’s lens: Developing CRT with candidates through technology feedback. Paper Presentation, Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. – March 2018

Cummings, M.I. & Williams, H. (2018). Enhancing the success of leaders: Implementing culturally responsive leadership practices in the public sector. Midwest Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois – November 2017



Dr. Cummings recently completed time serving as Faculty Senate President before transitioning into his role as Chair. He is also is very engaged civically. Dr. Cummings recently served as the Governors State representative to Illinois Board of Higher Education Faculty Advisory Council where he represented the Council on the Illinois Board of Higher Education on Strategic Planning Committee. Dr. Cummings has served as Community Representative on his Local School Council and as a member of Youth Guidance's Junior Board, a non-profit that provides programming for underserved populations and schools. For nearly a decade he served as the Principal of Greater Bethesda MB Church’s free Saturday tutoring program. He was a recipient of the 2020 Chicago Defender’s Men of Excellence award.



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