Headshot of Bob  Spires

Bob Spires

Associate Professor, Education
Adjunct Professor, Nonprofit Studies
Member, SPCS Speakers Bureau
  • Profile

    Dr. Bob Spires comes to the University of Richmond from Georgia where he worked in undergraduate and graduate teacher education and taught as a secondary school teacher. At the University of Richmond, Dr. Spires is serving as an Associate Professor in Graduate Education where he teaches a variety of courses in teacher education.

    His research interests include international non-formal education through charities, non-profits and NGOs, as well as social justice-related issues impacting teacher training. His teaching interests include courses that include middle and secondary teaching methods as well as courses focused on the social, economic, political, philosophical and cultural contexts of schooling domestically and internationally.

    Dr. Spires’ dissertation was a comparative study of NGOs in Thailand that used education to address human trafficking, which was published as a book titled Preventing Human Trafficking. He continues to conduct field work and publish research on non-formal education in Hong Kong, Cambodia and Thailand.

    Dr. Spires has also published research on teacher education, including work related to professional development schools and interdisciplinary STEM approaches in teacher training. His service interests include community partnerships and international field experiences for pre-service teachers. 

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    • Grants and Fellowships

      Suriel, R., Spires, R., Martin, E., Radcliffe, B., & Paine, D. (2016). MGED – STEM Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning (ITL) Experiences (MGED STEM/ITL). $38,450.

      Spires, R. W. (Principal), Education and Migration at Human Trafficking and Development NGOs in Thailand, Cambodia and Hong Kong, Valdosta State University Faculty Research Seed Grant, $5,000.00.

      Spires, R. W. Prevent Human Trafficking Summer Study Fellowship Award, Studied human trafficking in Thailand, $2,000.

    • Presentations

      Spires, B. (2021, October 23). Tea garden worker issues in Assam India. Paper presented at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association for Asian Studies. Villanova University, Villanova Pennsylvania.

      Spires, B. (2021, April 9). Land and wage slavery: The cases of Assam, India and Western Cambodia. Highland Support Partners. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/DAHTgku6mDU

      Spires, B. & Datta, M. (2020). Trust and civic engagement matter: Connections to human trafficking in the United States. Presentation for the Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding: Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Z27C0kHu1rM 

      Spires, R. (2019, April). Preventing human trafficking: Lessons learned in Thailand. Presentation at the Atlanta Global Studies Center Symposium. Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia.

      Spires, R. (2019, April). An exploratory case study on rural Cambodian border youth: Social and educational barriers with implications for development. Presentation for the Comparative and International Education Society, San Francisco.

      Spires, R., & Tost, J. (2019, April 16). An exploratory case study on rural Cambodian border youth: Social and educational barriers with implications for development (Paper presentation). Comparative & International Education Society 2019 Conference, San Francisco.

      Spires, R. (April 22, 2017). Non-formal education for disadvantaged children and youth: Human trafficking prevention in Cambodia (Keynote address). Georgia Psychological Society. College of Coastal Georgia.

      Spires, R. W. (March 8, 2016). Social mobility and marginalized youth in Hong Kong: The impact of NGO mentorship internships and workshop programs. Comparative and International Education Society 2016 Conference, Vancouver Canada. Presenter and Session Chair.

      Spires, R. W., (March 12, 2015) EASEL School: a case study of human trafficking prevention on the Cambodian border, Comparative and International Education Society 2015 Conference, Comparative and International Education Society, Washington DC. Published in the proceedings: http://cies2015.org/images/cies2015-program-small-update.pdf 

    • Professional Experience

      Associate Professor (2013-2018)

      Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Ga.

      6th & 7th Grade Social Studies & Language Arts Teacher (2007-2013)

      Oconee County Middle School, Watkinsville, Ga.

      6th Grade Social Studies & Language Arts Teacher (2004-2007)

      Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School, Athens, Ga.

      Community-Based Teacher (2002-2004)

      Clarke County Homeless Education Program, Athens, Ga.

    • Community Service

      • Board member, Love Without Boundaries
      • Research Consultant with Hong Kong-based Project Share
      • Board of Directors Chairperson, Easel School, Poipet Cambodia
      • International collaboration with Hong Kong based Liberty Asia

  • Publications

    Spires, R. (2015). Preventing human trafficking: education and NGOs in Thailand. Surrey: UK. Ashgate Publishing Company. 

    Journal Articles

    Spires, B. (2021). Intersections between human trafficking and education: Toward new research agendas. Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education, 16(2). https://doi.org/10.20355/jcie29464

    Spires, B. (2021). The Philosophical foundations of enslavement and exploitation: Setting the stage for modern human trafficking. European Journal of Social Sciences Studies, 6(4), 23-40. https://doi.org/10.46827/ejsss.v6i4.1067 

    Tost, J., Spires, R., & In, S. (2020). Cambodian youth perspectives on social and educational barriers: An exploratory case study in a rural border region. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 8(2), 130-146.

    Spires, R., Howington, E., & Rojewski, J. (2019). Generalized self-efficacy of disadvantaged youth in Hong Kong's New Territories: A large-scale community survey. Asian Education and Development Journal, 9(1),  117–127. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEDS-02-2019-0041

    Spires, R. & Rojewski, J. (2018). Hong Kong adolescents’ perspectives of selected aspects of the job interview process. Journal of Multicultural Affairs.

    Spires, R. (2018). Hong Kong youth identity and self-presentation in the New Territories: A qualitative study on letters from youth and teachers to an NGO internship program. Youth Voice Journal.  

    Spires, R. & Sainz, M. (2018) Lessons learned at a PDS middle school-university partnership in southern Georgia. PDS Partners Magazine, Spring 2018.

    Spires, R. (2017). Hong Kong’s postcolonial education reform: Liberal studies as a lens. International Journal of Education, 26(2), 154-173. 

    Spires, R. & Tost, J. (2017). Rural Cambodian women’s perspectives: An exploratory study on community ailments, migration and opportunity. Asia Pacific Journal of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 14, 9-26.

    Spires, R., Paine, D. & Cox, J.T. (October 2017). Pre-service teacher field experience reflections: A qualitative case study on attitudes toward control, behavior, students and self. GATEways to Teacher Education, 28(1).

    Spires, R. (2017). Hong Kong’s post-colonial education reform: Liberal studies as a lens. International Journal of Education Reform, 26(2), 156-175.

    Spires, R. (2017). Perceptions of disadvantaged youth on social and economic asymmetry: A case study in Hong Kong’s New Territories. FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 3(3).

    Spires, R., & Cox, J.T. (2016). Addressing social capital for disadvantaged youth: Youth and teacher perceptions of a youth development program in Hong Kong. Cogent Social Sciences, 2(1). doi:10.1080/23311886.2016.1191105

    Spires, R. (2015). Vulnerability. In Encyclopedia of World Poverty. Odekon, M. (Ed). Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA. 

    Spires, R. (2015). Achievement Gap. In Encyclopedia of World Poverty. Odekon, M. (Ed). Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.

    Spires, R. (July 2014). Human trafficking NGOs in Thailand: a two-site case study of the children served in educational programs. Slavery Today, 1(2), 93-118.

    Spires, R. (2012). Human trafficking and education: A qualitative case study of two NGO programs in Thailand. ERIC. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED538340.pdf

    Book Chapters

    Spires, B. (2021). Human trafficking, anti-trafficking and contemporary theory. In E. J. Dung & A. Avwunudiogba (Eds.), Human trafficking: Global history and global perspectives (pp. 81-104). Rowman and Littlefield.

    Spires, R. (2018). Human trafficking and globalized neoliberal capitalism. In L’evoluzione dell’urbanesimo nelle emergenze: Retroterra, dinamiche, risposte (Romina Fuca, ed.). 331-340. Aracne Editrice: Rome, Italy. 


    Spires, R. & Datta, M. (2020). Encompass Southeast Asia: A unique experiential learning opportunity through the University of Richmond. Education About Asia 25(1), 64-66.