PittEd Justice Collective

A person interacting with community members

Centering Equity and Justice in Education

The PittEd Justice Collective is a three-year working group at the School of Education that is engaged in anti-racist, justice-directed initiatives with students, staff, faculty, alumni, families, youth, and district and community partners.

By working together, we can collectively contribute to a future that is more equitable, engaging, well, and justice-directed. In this journey, we will continually explore how our nation's current moment of racial injustice and systemic oppression is situated within a history of struggle and survival and organizing and resistance. Contact us at PittEdJusticeCollective@pitt.edu

About the PittEd Justice Collective

We disrupt and transform inequitable educational structures.

PittEd Justice Collective logo

The PittEd Justice Collective was created on June 1, 2020 by Dr. Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the Pitt School of Education, in response to the loss of Black lives through police brutality and other forms of institutional injustice.

(View Dean Kinloch's June 1 Desk of the Dean message)

In addition to engaging with external partners regionally, nationally, and globally, the Justice Collective works to situate equity and justice across all levels of our school's operations, culture, climate, and academic engagements.

Focus Areas:

  • Disseminate, discuss, and design interdisciplinary studies on equity, justice, and anti-racism
  • Host justice-focused "lunch and learns" and other equity, justice, and anti-racist events and programs
  • Collaborate with Pitt Education faculty and school districts on justice teaching, with an explicit focus on pedagogies, practices, and assessments
  • Design and propose a justice-defined scope of study for students in the Pitt School of Education
  • Collaborate with staff members at the Pitt School of Education on justice-based professional development opportunities
  • Initiate a Youth-for-Justice Dean’s Advisory Committee
  • Make recommendations for equity, justice, and anti-racism for public education, higher education, and society
  • Design a Justice Fellows program for faculty, staff, and students in the Pitt School of Education, as well as with community partners
  • Situate anti-racist practices at the center of our School of Education and as connected to our cultural drivers and strategic priorities

Leadership Team

We forge engaged partnerships. We collaborate. We learn with and from communities.

The Collective began as partnership between the Pitt Education Office of the Dean, the Center for Urban Education, and the school-wide Equity and Justice committee.

Dean Valerie Kinloch headshotValerie Kinloch, PhD
Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the Pitt School of Education

Dean Valerie Kinloch is committed to education, learning, equity, and engagement. She has dedicated herself to strengthening the school's commitments to urban education, equity and justice, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement, while also enhancing school culture and broadening alumni participation. A highly-respected educator and scholar, Kinloch’s areas of research focus on the literacies, languages, cultures, and community engagements of youth and adults, both inside and outside of schools.

Elon Dancy headshotElon Dancy, PhD
Director, Center for Urban Education
Helen S. Faison Endowed Chair 

T. Elon Dancy II is the director of the Center for Urban Education at the Pitt School of Education. As an education sociologist, he studies educational settings as sites for social identity development. His research focuses on access and equity in the educational pipeline as informed by race, gender, class, and other sociopolitical locations. His work explores questions related to sociohistorical contexts, masculinity formations, and how institutional praxis affects students’ academic and social outcomes.

Courtney Ross headshotCourtney Ross
Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects

As Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects, Courtney Ross builds relevant and sustainable educational connections for Pitt Education, and establishes opportunities for growth through learning and dialogue around anti-racism, justice, and equity within the school and the broader Pittsburgh community. As a Pitt alum and current part-time graduate student, Ross is focused on improving higher education and examining the student and staff experience through a critical lens.  

Programs and Activities

We advocate. We work for justice.

White Co-Conspirators Groups

The PittEd Justice Collective will situate equity and justice within our School's internal operations, culture, climate, and academic engagements. As part of this effort, we will have several white Co-conspirators Groups led by white colleagues in our School (e.g. staff, students, and faculty). Groups will serve as forums for white people to further their learning about, and collaborations on, equity, justice, and antiracism, with the expectation that this work will lead to meaningful co-conspiring and activism.The initial groups will be led by professors Amanda Godley and Linda DeAngelo and staff member Courtney Ross. 

Higher Education and Racism Initiative (H.E.A.R.)

The H.E.A.R. initiative provides graduate students within the Pitt School of Education and across the University of Pittsburgh the opportunity to create and publish their own scholarly research. This initiative will investigate both individual and institutional anti-racism in colleges and universities, with the goal of developing research and teaching strategies that will create and sustain a pipeline of justice-minded activists, researchers, educators, practitioners, and policymakers. Our inaugural endeavor is to create a training institute that will interrogate anti-racism statements from colleges and universities from across the United States.

Sponsored by the PittEd Justice Collective, the effort is led by Dr. T. Elon Dancy in his role as Associate Dean for Equity and Justice and is offered in partnership with Professor Juan Battle from the City University of New York.  

Study Group on Abolition and Education

 “Abolition requires that we change one thing,” says Ruth Wilson Gilmore, “which is everything.” A longstanding, deeply studied, and carefully organized set of practices, abolition is gaining rapid currency in contemporary discourse. In that momentum, the specificity of its meaning and history can sometimes get lost or watered down. In this study group, we will consider abolition’s location in the Black Radical Tradition, be introduced to some of its frameworks and principles, and begin to become familiar with some of its commitments in the context of U.S. social and political movements, including education. 

Professor Sabina Vaught, Chair of the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading, will lead and facilitate the study group. Registration is open to graduate students from the Pitt School of Education, the school's faculty and staff, and Pittsburgh school district members. The effort is sponsored by the PittEd Justice Collective and the school's Office of the Associate Dean for Equity and Justice. 

Justice Collective Events

We commit to educational equity.

Upcoming Events

We Want to Do More than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom
Virtual Pitt Education Alumni Lecture with Dr. Bettina Love

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Register Here

Join Dean Valerie Kinloch and the School of Education community as we welcome Dr. Bettina L. Love to present the 2020 Pitt Education Alumni Lecture. This session will feature Dr. Bettina Love, author of “We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom." A two-time alumna of the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Love is the Athletic Association Professor in Education in the University of Georgia 's Mary Frances Early's Department of Educational Theory and Practice. Dr. Love is also a two-time Pitt alumna, and completed her Master of Education in our school. The event is sponsored by the PittEd Justice Collective and the School of Education's Alumni and Development Office.

Past Events

The PittEd Justice Collective maintains an archive of past events that are meant to be an ongoing resource for educators and students. Please visit our Past Events archive page for more information. Below is a summary of the events.

  • From Linguistic Racism to Linguistic Justice and Liberation: Black Language, Literacy, and Learning 
    Tuesday September 1, 2020
    5:30pm -7pm
    Featuring Dr. Aisha White, who is the Director of P.R.I.D.E.; Dr. April Baker-Bell, who is Associate Professor of Language, Literacy, and English Education in the Departments of English and African American and African Studies at Michigan State University; and Dr. Valerie Kinloch, who is Dean of the Pitt School of Education. Dr. White will serve as the moderator. This session is sponsored by the Office of Child Development’s P.R.I.D.E. program (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education), the Office of Child Development, the Pittsburgh Study, and the PittEd Justice Collective

    View the event recording >>

  • Equity, Antiracism, and Remote Teaching and Learning Strategies
    August 13, 2020
    Featuring Dr. Tinukwa Boulder, Director of Innovative Technologies and Online Learning, and Associate Professor of Practice in the Pitt School of Education; Dr. Detra Price-Dennis, Associate Professor of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University; Dr. Sharon Ross, Assistant Professor in Health and Human Development in the Pitt School of Education; and Dr. Cassie Quigley, Associate Professor of Science Education in the Pitt School of Education. Dean Valerie Kinloch will serve as moderator.

    View the event recording >>
  • Virtual Summer Series on Justice - July 2020
    July 14, 16, 20, 2020
    The PittEd Justice Collective teamed up with Transform for Tomorrow to offer a three-part virtual series for superintendents and school leaders in K-16 education. The virtual series was presented in collaboration with the Grable Foundation, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and Remake Learning.

    View Part 1: Justice Learning and Leading >>
    Speakers:  Dr. Lori Delale-O’Connor, Assistant Professor of Education at the School of Education; Mr. Dennis Henderson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Manchester Academic Charter School; and Dr. Linda Lane, Former Superintendent of Pittsburgh Public School District  Moderated by Dr. Valerie Kinloch, Renée and Richard Goldman Dean 

    View Part Two: Justice Teaching in STEM >>
    Speakers: Dr. Kari Kokka, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Education; Michelle Cody, middle school mathematics teacher at Willie Brown Middle School in San Francisco, CA; and Dr. ReAnna S. Roby, Postdoctoral Scholar with a focus on Black girls and women in science education, maker spaces, and other settings at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Moderated by Dr. Valerie Kinloch, Renée and Richard Goldman Dean.

    View Part Three: Justice Listening and Strategizing
    Speakers: High school students. Moderated by Dr. Valerie Kinloch, Renée and Richard Goldman Dean and Dr. Tyra Good, Assistant Professor in Education, Chatham University and Founder and Chief Academic consultant, GOOD Knowledge Connections, LLC

Engaged Partnerships

We learn with and from communities.

The PittEd Justice Collective actively supports, and is supported by, a number of community-focused projects and initiatives that advance educational equity and justice. Below are featured partnerships.

Shifting Power in Educational Research and Development

Shifting Power logo

Offered in partnership between the Pitt School of Education and Remake Learning, this research project seeks to center the voices, knowledge, and skills of Black and Latinx educators in educational research. The project is funded by a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Shifting Power aims to shift these traditional power dynamics that are inherent in many research and development (R&D) infrastructures. By providing connections, resources, and a platform, Black and Latinx educators will be positioned to directly influence local R&D in education. As we learn together, this process will hopefully inform equity-centered R&D processes nationwide.

Visit the Shifting Power website for more information.

Southwestern PA Personalized Learning Network

Southwestern PA Personalized Learning Network logoEducators face unique challenges in engaging today's tech-savvy students and preparing them for a rapidly shifting career landscape. Traditional practices with "one teacher teaching one subject, to one class, using one curriculum, at one pace, for one hour" must evolve. We need innovative new strategies where instructional practices are flexibly adapted to meet the needs of each student and students are actively involved in determining the path and pace of their learning. To help tackle the challenges of implementing personalized learning, a group of schools have come together to form the SWPA Personalized Learning Network. The goal of the network is to facilitate a dialogue where educators can discuss their projects and collectively strengthen and accelerate their programs by sharing successes, issues and lessons learned.   

View the SWPA Personalized Learning Network website for more information.

Remaking Tomorrow: Learning in a Post-Pandemic Future

Remaking Tomorrow report

Remaking Tomorrow: Learning in a Post-Pandemic future provides insights into how to think differently about schools, early learning centers, libraries, museums, and all of the other places where young people learn. The report was co-produced by Remake Learning, KnowledgeWorks, and the Grable Foundation. Pitt School of Education Dean Valerie Kinloch, a Co-Chair of Remake Learning, helped to create the report. 

View the Remaking Tomorrow report for more information.

Pitt School of Education Mission-Vision Statement

We think. We dream. We lead with integrity.

The work of the PittEd Justice Collective is grounded in the mission-vision of the School of Education. The following statement encapsulates what we do, what we believe, and who we continually seek to become as members of the School community at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.

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