The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Melissa Wooten

Associate Professor and Chancellor's Leadership Fellow

Melissa Wooten is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research lies at the theoretical intersections of organizations, social movements, and education. Her book, In the Face of Inequality: How Black Colleges Adapt (SUNY Press) uses historically black colleges as an empirical context to investigate how the social structure of race and racism affect an organization’s ability to acquire the financial and political resources it needs to survive. She is currently working on a project that traces how 20th and 21st century entrepreneurs get involved in philanthropic causes related to Black education. Public commentaries on her research appear in The Conversation, The Academic Minute, and


Ph.D., Management & Organizations, University of Michigan, 2006
B.S., Computer Science, Kettering University 1999

Research Areas

Organizations, Social Movements, Education

Selected Publications

Wooten, Melissa E. (ed). 2019. Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process. Volume 58, Research in the Sociology of Organizations.

Wooten, Melissa E. 2017. “Institutional Constraints on the Pursuit of Racial Justice.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 48(B): 261 – 280.

Wooten, Melissa E. and Andrew J. Hoffman. 2017. “Organizational Fields: Past, Present and Future.” Pp. 55-74 in Sage Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism, 2nd edition, edited by Royston Greenwood, Christine Oliver, Thomas Lawrence and Renate E. Meyer. London: Sage Publications.

Wooten, Melissa E. 2015. In the Face of Inequality: How Black Colleges Adapt. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Wooten, Melissa E. 2010. “Soliciting Elites: The Framing Activities of the United Negro College Fund.” Mobilization 15(3): 369-391.

Wooten, Melissa E. 2006. “Race and Strategic Organization.” Strategic Organization 4(2): 191 – 199.