Melissa Miller

Head, Philosophy Library/Humanities Librarian
USC Libraries Hoose Philosophy Library
Office: MHP 202

Research Areas

Dr. Miller's research areas and interests intersect through the fields of Heritage Conservation and the Digital Humanities, with a focus in medieval manuscripts and rare books. She is an advocate for the advancement of knowledge, access, and diversity of cultural heritage material; and takes a Cognitive Science approach to Instructional Design; and, Information Science, particularly in an online environment. These research areas and interests have led to many presentations, and successful grant funded collaborative projects.

She was awarded several grants in support of her work and research, resulting in co-authored and collaborative projects: 4 USC Provost Arts and Humanities Initiatives - Visions and Voices grants (2015-2020): 2019-2020: Emotionally Intelligent Robots: More Human Than Human? The success of Emotionally Intelligent Robots resulted in an additional full day symposium - Technology, Agency, and Values: A Polymathic Exploration of Autonomy in Humans and Machines - with the USC Ahmanson Lab, Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study. 2018-2019: Dreaming With Eyes Open: The Art, History, Philosophies, and Practices of Virtual Reality; 2016-2017: Uncanny Valleys: Thinking and Feeling in the Age of Synthetic Humans; and 2015-2016: Microlibraries in the Everywhere; 2 USC Libraries’ Dean’s Challenge grants (2018-2020): 2019-2020: USC Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts (a work in progress); and 2018-2019: Alexa for Business and USC Libraries; and funding for 2 USC Libraries’ Research Pilot Projects (2018-2019).

Most recently Melissa was awarded the California Rare Book School (CalRBS), Zamorano Club Scholarship for an intensive week-long professional development and training course in one of her primary research areas of interest, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts taught by Dr. Melissa Conway.

In Melissa’s pursuit of polymathic lifelong learning she is inspired by Blaise Pascal, who was a seventeenth century French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, theologian, and philosopher, a true polymath. Pascal stated, “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.” Translated in English means, "The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing." This quote inspires her to follow her heart in all things.


Melissa is a faculty member at the University of Southern California (USC). Her primary roles are the Head Librarian for the historic Hoose Library of Philosophy and a Humanities Librarian. She is the Subject Specialist (research, collection management & development) for the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences departments of: Philosophy; Religion; Anthropology; Linguistics; Comparative Literature; and the History of Science & Technology, and offers research consultations; information literacy instruction and assessment for both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Melissa is also a faculty member for the Marshall School of Business, Master of Management in Library and Information Science (M.M.L.I.S.). As an Assistant University Professor, she teaches research and professional leadership applications for the internship program and project management. Prior to USC, she worked in the corporate sector for nearly two decades (1991-2009), where she held several leadership positions.

She is also an affiliated faculty member with the USC Center for the Premodern World


Dr. Miller is a first-generation college graduate who earned her Doctorate in Educational Psychology, with a Cognitive Science focus (Ed.D.) from USC Rossier School of Education, a Master of Management in Library and Information Science (M.M.L.I.S.) from USC Marshall School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (B.A.) from USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences which she completed as a non-traditional transfer student from Pasadena City College with two Associate in Arts degrees in Humanities (A.A.) and Social and Behavioral Sciences (A.A.).

  • Master of Heritage Conservation (M.H.C.), School of Architecture, University of Southern California, (expected, 2023)
  • Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership (Ed.D.), Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California, (August, 2018).
    • Dissertation Title: Mind, Motivation, and Meaningful Learning: A Cognitive Science Approach To Learning How To Learn
  • Master of Management in Library and Information Science (M.M.L.I.S.), Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, (December, 2014)
  • Bachelor of Arts, Psychology (B.A.), Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, University of Southern California, (May, 2013)
  • Associate of Arts, Humanities (A.A.), Pasadena City College, (June, 2011)
  • Associate of Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences (A.A.), Pasadena City College, (June, 2011)

Subject Matter Expertise

  • Anthropology
  • Comparative Literature
  • History of Science & Technology
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Religion

I can help you with...

  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Instruction
  • Research Strategies