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

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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
Co-Chair of PittEd Justice Collective

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. Her research focuses 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
Co-Chair of PittEd Justice Collective 

T. Elon Dancy II is the executive 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. He explores questions related to sociohistorical contexts, masculinity formations, and students’ academic and social outcomes.

Courtney Ross headshotCourtney Ross
Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives and Special Projects
Staff Representative for PittEd Justice Collective

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. 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.

Black Knowledge Traditions for Global Educational Transformation: Multi-Institutional, Collectivist Approaches

This proposed new initiative will re-center Black knowledge traditions within schools and communities by focusing on collectivist, multi-institutional approaches to racial equity and justice in education. Central to our approach is reimagining and realigning the structures of education (including teaching, teacher education, and engagement) through Black knowledge traditions, which necessarily requires a shift away from an individual toward a collective focus on teaching and learning for racial equity and for freedom. From art to poetry, literature, and music to cultural traditions, geographic and place-specific practices, and historical understandings of Black knowledge traditions, we seek to focus on educational strategies and programs that have positively impacted the academic and non-academic engagements of children, youth, and families in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio, and in Accra, Ghana, West Africa.

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.

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.  

Upcoming Justice Collective Events

We commit to educational equity.

PittEd Justice Collective Community Meetup Event

Tuesday, June 20, 2021 | 2 - 3 p.m. ET
Virtual Event

This is a free, open, virtual event to meet with educators, activists, caregivers, and community organizations who advocate and work for justice in our teaching and learning spaces. Educators here in the greater Pittsburgh region and across the country are welcome and warmly encouraged to attend. 

Register here

2021 School-wide Mental and Emotional Wellness Workshop Series

Open to all students, faculty, and staff, the online workshop series is aimed at improving the mental and emotional wellness of our school community. It is co-sponsored with our PittEd Justice Collective. 

Workshop Dates

  • March 1, 2021 - Managing Your Pandemic Anxiety
  • April 12, 2021 - The Invisible Injury: Understanding the Impact of Complex Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • September 30, 2021 - When Helping Hurts: Understanding the Impact of Secondary Traumatic Stress and Compassion Fatigue
  • October 4, 2021 - I Can't Keep Calm: Strategies for Regulating Intense Emotions
  • November 8, 2021 - Beyond the Blues: Understanding Depression in African Americans

Learn More & Register at the Workshop Series webpage >>

Past Justice Collective 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.

  • 2021 From Freedom to Liberation: Educational Leadership Series

    This educational leadership speaker series engaged participants in thinking through some of the ongoing, complex conditions that school, district, and organization leaders encounter and to situate those in the current global uprisings and movements for racial justice. 

    • February 18, 2021 - Black Radicals Make For Bad Citizens: Undoing the myth of the School-to-Prison Pipeline (Featuring Damien Sojoyner)

    • March 4, 2021 - Mothers and U.S. Conquest-Colonial School Subjects: Boricua Womxn Resisting (Featuring Melissa Colón)

    • March 11, 2021 - Anti-subordination Leadership (Featuring Jeremiah Chin)

    • April 8, 2021 - Autodeterminason di linguajen na komunidadis negra: Mo ki skolas ta dikoloniza ses komunikason? Language self-determination in Black communities: How do schools decolonize their communication? (Featuring Silas Otniel Rodrigues Pinto)

    • April 2021 Date TBD - Report out: Lessons from Kevin Kumashiro’s “Leading for Social Justice” workshop (Featuring Michelle Sobolak and Sheila Conway)

  • 2021 Black History Month Film Series
    The PittEd Justice Collective, in collaboration with the Pitt Library System, was proud to present the Black History Month Virtual Film Series. This asynchronous event will provide the Pitt community with free streaming access to films about Black life, love, joy, struggle, and history. Each week, there will be an opportunity to discuss the film in an hour-long facilitated session. 

    • I am Not Your Negro
      Facilitated Session with Medina Jackson, MSW, Director of Engagement - P.R.I.D.E. Program 
      February 11 | 2:30-3:30pm

    • Moonlight
      Facilitated Session with Dr. Darren Whitfield, Assistant Professor at the University of School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry and Direct Practice Chair
      February 18 | 2 - 3 p.m.
    • Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People
      Facilitated Session with Arif Jamal, Africana Studies Specialist at the Pitt Library System
      February 22 | 2 - 3 p.m.
    • Daughters of the Dust
      Facilitated Session with Dr. Tamara Butler, Associate Professor at Michigan State and Director of the Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston and Dr. Patricia Williams Lessane, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Morgan State and editor of Teaching Daughters of the Dust as a Womanist Film and the Black Arts Aesthetic of Filmmaker Julie Dash (2020) and the former director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.
      February 26 | 1 - 2 p.m.
  • 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.

Support the PittEd Justice Collective

Make a financial contribution to the "PittEd Justice Collective." Your support can help to fund equity and justice initiatives across the Pitt School of Education.

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