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. 

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

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.

Prior to assuming the deanship at Pitt Education, she spent over nine years in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. 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.

Kinloch also served as the college’s chief diversity officer and director/associate dean of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement from 2014 to 2016. 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. 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, 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. 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). Currently, she is completing a co-edited book titled Race, Justice, and Activism in Literacy Instruction (Teachers College Press) and is working on another book on community engaged pedagogies.

At the 2019 American Educational Research Association conference, Kinloch was inducted into the prestigious AERA Fellows Program. Additionally, she is 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. Kinloch’s other recent 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.

Kinloch, who will begin her tenure this November 2019 as Vice-President of the National Council of Teachers of English (and then President), was born and raised in Charleston, S.C. Kinloch 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.