Meet Our Dean

Valerie Kinloch, PhD

Renée and Richard Goldman Dean

Valerie Kinloch began her tenure as the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education on July 1, 2017 — and immediately made her mark on the school, university, and community with her passion for education, learning, equity, and engagement. 

Dean Kinloch 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, Dean Kinloch’s areas of research focus on the literacies, languages, cultures, and community engagements of youth and adults, both inside and outside of schools.

Dean Kinloch’s academic endeavors have received support from the U.S. Department of Education, National Council of Teachers of English, Corporation for National and Community Service, the Fulbright-Hays Program, and Spencer Foundation, among other notable organizations. She is also the author of numerous books on race and literacy, including the critically acclaimed Harlem on Our Minds: Place, Race, and the Literacies of Urban Youth (Teachers College Press, 2010), which received the 2012 Book of the Year Award from the American Educational Research Association.

Dean Kinloch holds many leadership appointments, including the following: President of the National Council of Teachers of English, Fellow of the American Council on Education, Fellow of the American Educational Research Association, Co-Chair of Remake Learning in Pittsburgh, and a Trustee at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Prior to assuming the deanship at Pitt Education, she spent approximately 10 years in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Dean Kinloch led efforts toward building sustainable models of diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement for the College of Education and Human Ecology. Previously, she served as the associate department chair for the college’s Department of Teaching and Learning. In that position, she co-managed a department consisting of various faculty members, students, and staff across the Columbus and regional campuses. With her colleagues, she helped to strengthen program curricula, promote an urban education programmatic focus, and evaluate the roles and responsibilities of staff members.

Dean Kinloch also served as the college’s chief diversity officer and director/associate dean of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement. In that role, she partnered with the college’s dean to think critically about how to increase the enrollment of minoritized students, how to create an engaging academic climate for all, and how to enhance a focus on equity and justice in education and human ecology. Dean Kinloch has also taught at Columbia University’s Teachers College and the University of Houston-Downtown.

Dean Valerie Kinloch reads to young children at the Community Engagement Center.

In addition to Harlem on Our Minds, Dean Kinloch is the author of Crossing Boundaries—Teaching and Learning with Urban Youth (Teachers College Press, 2012), which was named a 2013 “Staff Pick” by the magazine Teaching Tolerance. In 2006, she published June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color series), which examines the life of one of the most influential and prolific Black writers of the 20th century. Dean Kinloch co-edited the books, Service-Learning in Literacy Education: Possibilities for Teaching and Learning (Information Age Publishing, 2014) and Still Seeking an Attitude: Critical Reflections on the Work of June Jordan (Lexington Books, 2004) and she edited Urban Literacies: Critical Perspectives on Language, Learning, and Community (Teachers College Press, 2011). In addition, she co-edited the book Race, Justice, and Activism in Literacy Instruction (Teachers College Press, 2020) and co-authored the book Where is the Justice? Engaged Pedagogies in Schools and Communities (Teachers College Press, 2021).

Dean Kinloch is the recipient of the 2010 AERA Scholars of Color Early Career Award, the 2015 OSU Distinguished Diversity Award, and the 2015 Rewey Belle Inglis Award for Outstanding Women in English Education from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). In 2018, she received the Advancement of People of Color Leadership Award from the National Council of Teachers of English. Dean Kinloch’s other honors include the 2016 James M. Siddens Award for Distinguished Faculty Advising/Mentoring from OSU, the 2016 Leadership Program Fellowship from the Big Ten Academic Alliance, the 2015 University Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award from OSU, the 2015 Who’s Who in Black Columbus Award from the City of Columbus, and the 2014 Service-Learning Research Excellence Award from the University of Georgia.

Dean Kinloch was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, and completed her K-12 education in public schools there. Then, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in honors English at Johnson C. Smith University. At Wayne State University, she earned a Master of Arts degree in English and African American literature as well as a PhD degree in English and composition studies with a cognate in urban studies.