Stone wall with greenery growing in the cracks. Text reads: being ungovernable.

About The Kinloch Commons

Committed to the urgent leadership and pedagogy questions of our time, The Kinloch Commons advances freedom study and praxis across organizational, institutional, community, and disciplinary contexts. We work collaboratively as a connector and a hub for people and organizations to develop and support their aims, providing a rich, stable curriculum of workshops, roundtables, lectures, and other offerings.

Our participants and partners come from within the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and across educational organizations, institutions, and communities. Together, we support critical pedagogical and leadership creativity, learning, and cultivation of practices toward a free world.

What is a Commons?

A commons is a place, a cluster of resources, and a network of relations stewarded for the common good. Through our stewardship and cultivation of critical pedagogy and leadership, The Kinloch Commons links local and planetary educational commons through the dynamic relational work of pedagogy and leadership for freedom.

Our guiding framework:

  • Purposes: Cultivate, enrich, and steward freedom knowledge ecologies through critical pedagogy and leadership praxis in a broad range of educational contexts.
  • Principles: Critical pedagogy and leadership foment and support longstanding and nascent freedom work locally and globally. Collective critical pedagogical and leadership endeavors are solidarity projects for shared purpose across meaningful difference.
  • Commitments: 
    • Germinate emerging critical pedagogical and leadership praxes in individuals, collectives, classrooms, and schools through shared study and praxis;
    • Advance vital scholarly inquiry into critical pedagogy and leadership;
    • Respond to organizational, communal, and individual questions through collaborative design;
    • Provide support, space, and structure for student, faculty, and community member design and facilitation of workshops, study groups, and other proposed resources; and
    • Foster inventive leadership and pedagogical freedom praxes
  • Praxes: Constellate and coordinate resources for supported growth of critical pedagogical and leadership endeavors.

Connect with the Team

Director: Sabina Vaught, Professor, Pitt School of Education
Student Collaborators: briana rodríguez (Graduate Student, Pitt School of Education), Chelsea Jiménez (Doctoral Student, Pitt School of Education), Alaysia Plair-Easton (Doctoral Student, Pitt School of Education), and Debralyn I. Woodberry-Shaw (Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Pitt School of Education)

The Kinloch Commons is a resource for School of Education teaching and leading projects. Pitt Education faculty members can reach out to Sabina Vaught at to set up a meeting to discuss your aims and design a collaboration. These collaborations might be one-time meetings, resource development, study development, process design, ongoing meetings, or other. Areas of collaboration include but are not limited to:

  • Re-designing a syllabus
  • Building a pedagogy study bibliography
  • Establishing a teaching observation and evaluation process
  • Brainstorming leadership principles and practices
  • Designing a program of study

If you are a community educator, organization, school teacher or leader, or otherwise interested in pedagogical and leadership support, please contact

Spring 2024 Curriculum

This group is for:

  • PhD students undertaking any critical studies,
  • who want to receive group writing feedback,
  • and provide feedback to classmates/comrades,
  • centering liberation and ungovernability

We will:

  • commit to meeting virtually every three weeks on Friday mornings for 2 hours (through May)
  • sign up to share writing (including: conference papers, comprehensive exams, publications, and more)

Facilitated by Sabina Vaught. To sign up, email
Space limited!

Presented by the Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership. Co-sponsored by the Center for Urban Education.


Flyer for doctoral student writing group

Palestine. A Talk Series & Study Group
Virtual talks presented by the Center for Urban Education and the Commons for Critical Pedagogy

Friday, January 19 | 3-4:30 p.m. ET
“Feminism & Liberation Struggle” with Nada Elia & Nadine Naber


Friday, February 9 | 3-4:30 p.m. ET
“Organizing & Activism” with Lara Kiswani, AROC & Ahmad Abuznaid, USCPR


Friday, March 1 | 3-4:30 p.m. ET
“Activism & Academic Repression” with Dylan Rodríguez & Loubna Qutami


Flyer for Palestine talk series and study group in Spring 2024

Faculty Colloquium 2023-24
“Undoing Myths and Building Educational Freedom”
Presented by the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading; Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership; and Center for Urban Education

Wednesday, January 31 | 10:30-11:30 a.m.
“Discerning Power and Freedom in the Age of Technology”
Presentation by Bea Dias
Zoom Link

Wednesday, February 21 | 10:30-11:30 a.m.
“Supporting Wellbeing with Autistic Adults through Yoga (SWAY)”
Presentation by Rachel Robertson
Zoom Link

Friday, March 1 | Noon-1 p.m.
“Writing on the Edge: Annotation Beyond the Margins”
Presentation by Khirsten Scott

Zoom Link

Flyer for Faculty Colloquium Series

The Critical Pedagogy Dialogues Educator Workshop Part 2
Thursday, February 8 | 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Scholars, educators, and artists Theo Segura, Chris Wright, and Kate Joranson host a virtual pedagogy workshop. Act 48 is available.

Presented by the Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership. Co-sponsored by the Center for Urban Education and Practices of Freedom.

Register here

February 8 Educator Workshop flyer

“Writing Dangerously” Hybrid Writing Retreat
Dates: February 26 and 27, 2024
Time: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET
Hybrid: Center for Urban Education Auditorium (Posvar 4310) and Zoom

Virtual Registration

Co-sponsored by the Center for Urban Education and the Kinloch Commons for Critical Leadership and Pedagogy

“Create dangerously, for people who read dangerously. This is what I’ve always thought it meant to be a writer. Writing, knowing in part that no matter how trivial your words may seem, someday, somewhere, someone may risk his or her life to read them.”
Create Dangerously, Edwidge Danticat


  • Khirsten L. Scott, CUE Faculty Leadership Fellow for Writing and Inquiry & Director of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project
  • Sabina Vaught, Director of the Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership
  • Chelsea Jimenez, Urban Education Doctoral Student

Please engage with the following readings prior to the retreat:

Flyer for "Writing Dangerously" writing retreat on Feb. 26-27.

Book Talk and Methodologies Conversation with Stacey J. Lee and Ujju Aggarwal
Wednesday, March 6 | 3:30 – 5 p.m. ET

Co-sponsored by: The Practice of Freedom Project, The Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership, and the Center for Urban Education


Flyer for Book Talk on March 6

Writing the Personal Statement
Friday, March 22 | 2 – 3:30 p.m. ET

This virtual workshop will support you in writing:

  • The personal statement for tenure or promotion to full
  • Scholarship, teaching, and service narratives for annual review
  • Scholarly bios for grants

One-on-one or group follow ups will be available.

Please register by emailing Sabina Vaught at

Flyer for personal statement workshop on March 22

Faculty Colloquium Series call for presenters2023-24 Faculty Colloquium

The Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading and the Kinloch Commons invite faculty across the School of Education to present in our annual themed colloquium series.

The colloquium series is designed to support scholars in developing and advancing the critical dimensions of their work and sharing that work in progress. This year, faculty who have recently earned tenure or are undertaking their third-year review are encouraged to present.

Talks will be given monthly beginning January 2024. In the fall of 2023, each presenter will first meet one-on-one with Kinloch Commons Director Sabina Vaught to think through this year’s theme, receive collegial support in developing the talk, and engage in any broader conversation about pursuing more critical scholarly aims.

This opportunity to be a presenter is for all faculty members. You may feel you are already doing radical work and want to push yourself further in a particular direction. Or, you may be interested in expanding your work into areas of critical theory or inquiry that are new to you.

If you are interested in being part of this year’s colloquium, please email Sabina Vaught ( and Cassie Quigley ( by September 6th, with an informal paragraph describing how this might support your scholarly work this year.

TLL 2023-24 Annual Theme: “Undoing myths and building educational freedom”

TLL Common Reading: Damien Sojoyner’s “Black Radicals Make for Bad Citizens: Undoing the Myth of the School to Prison Pipeline” (Access PDF)

Freedom Leadership Project

The digital Freedom Leadership Project is a series of brief conversations with leaders doing freedom work. In these videos, you will learn about one principle each leader follows in doing freedom leadership. Leaders share the origins of this principle in their own lives and share stories of its application in leadership contexts. This digital resource is designed to support educational leaders everywhere in the collective work toward freedom.

Watch Videos

Past Curricula

Geographies of Black Knowledge: A Dialogue with Aaron Mallory and Watufani Poe
Friday, September 8, 2023 | 4 – 5:30 p.m. ET

Dr. Aaron Mallory is assistant professor of African American studies and women gender and sexuality studies who is interested in bringing Black feminist and queer critiques to health issues.

Dr. Watufani Poe is assistant professor of language, literacy, and culture who is invested in further developing notions of Black diaspora that deconstruct rigid notions of race, gender, sexuality, and nation toward broader geographic understandings of Black relationality.

Sponsored by Practices of Freedom, the Center for Urban Education, and the Kinloch Commons.


  • “Anonymous Communion: Black Queer Communities and Antiblck Violence Within the HIV/AIDS Epidemic” by Aaron Mallory (View PDF)
  • “Black Gay Worldmaking of the Global 1980s: Brazil and the United States” by Watufani M. Poe (English PDF | Portuguese PDF)

En/countering Militarism: A Virtual Study Group with Bri Rodríguez
September 13, October 4 & 25, November 15 | 5-7 p.m. EST

What is militarism? Beyond the obvious cataclysm of war, how does militarism shape social orders? How does it organize educational relations across scale and context? How is it being resisted and refused? This study group will be a place to convene around these questions and consider how they might influence our own scholarly work toward freedom as common cause. We will focus on archipelagos, with special attention to Hawaii and Kanaka Maoli epistemologies.

To register, email bri rodríguez at

“ungovernability: anti-carceral genealogies of gender and refusal”
with Margaret Goldman at the University of California Irvine
and facilitated by Chelsea Jiménez at the University of Pittsburgh

Thursday, September 14 | 3 p.m. ET / Noon PT

The Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership inaugurates a year of “being ungovernable” with this lively event. Come learn about some of the intellectual, activist roots of ungovernability and consider possibilities for radical collective work forward.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Urban Education.


  • “It’s Hard to Stop Rebels That Time Travel” by H. L. T. Quan (View PDF)

“Ungovernable: Stories of Resistance in Guatemala”
Tuesday, October 17 | Noon – 1:30 p.m. ET

What does it mean to be ungovernable in Guatemala? In this dialogue, we explore the question in the dialectic of past, present, and future. We welcome two community organizers in Guatemala: Reyna Caba (Ixil) and Sandra Montejo Caba (Ixil and Popti’).

Contact bri rodríguez at with any questions.

“Ingobernable: Historias de Resistencia en Guatemala”
Oct. 17 | 10-11:30 a.m. hora Guatemala

¿Qué significaba ser ingobernable en Guatemala? Es este diálogo, exploramos la pregunta dentro del dialéctico del pasado, presente, y futuro. Damos la bienvenida a dos organizadoras comunitarias en Guatemala: Reyna Caba (Ixil) y Sandra Montejo Caba (Ixil and Popti’).

Gaza for Educators & Organizers
Friday, November 3 and Monday, November 6

A series of webinar talks with experts on the law, news media, curriculum and pedagogy, nation states and geopolitical colonial power, gender, children’s literature, tourism, Black solidarity struggles, and more. Guests shared brief, 20-30 minute conversations with Professor Sabina Vaught.

Day 1: Friday, November 3, 2023
Speakers: Nadine Naber, Edwin Mayorga, Dylan Rodríguez

Watch Day 1

Day 2: Monday, November 6, 2023
Speakers: Nada Elia, Donna Nevel, Jennifer Kelly, nyle fort

Watch Day 2

The Critical Pedagogy Dialogues Educator Workshop
Thursday, November 30 | 2:30 – 3:45 p.m. ET

Scholars, educators, and artists Theo Segura, Chris Wright, and Kate Joranson host a virtual pedagogy workshop. Act 48 is available.

Presented by the Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership. Co-sponsored by the Center for Urban Education and Practices of Freedom.

summer freedom fun: two Commons workshops

Co-sponsored by the Center for Urban Education

summer syllabi!
Friday, June 9 | 10 – 11:15 a.m. ET

Bring a syllabus or an idea! We will think through freedom pedagogies in condensed teaching contexts.

the teaching statement
Thursday, June 29 | Noon – 1:15 p.m. ET

Join Christy McGuire & Sabina Vaught to think through dimensions of a liberatory teaching statement.

en/countering militarism: a study group
June 15, July 6, July 27, and August 17, 2023

What is militarism? Beyond the more obvious cataclysm of war, how does militarism shape social orders? How does it organize educational relations across scale and context? How can it be resisted and refused? This transdisciplinary study group will be a place to convene around these questions and how they might influence our own scholarly work toward freedom as a common cause. Readings will include “Postscript: Reflections on Militourism, US Imperialism, and American Studies” by Teresia Teaiwa and Silence of the Chagos, by Shenaz Patel among many others.

Study group dates and times:

  • Thursday, June 15, 5-7 pm Eastern
  • Thursday, July 6, 5-7 pm Eastern
  • Thursday, July 27, 5-7 pm Eastern
  • Thursday, August 17, 5-7 pm Eastern

Co-sponsored by the Kinloch Commons and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education.

Leadership Workshop: Establishing a faculty teaching observation process for departments
Friday, January 27 | 1 – 2:30 p.m.

This workshop will support department leaders in designing a meaningful, flexible process for faculty teaching observations. We’ll begin building a process that supports faculty member pedagogical growth, aligns with the School of Education mission-vision, and coordinates with the requirements for tenure and promotion as well as other evaluative mechanisms.

The Conference Presentation as Pedagogical Act (for doctoral students and early career faculty)
Friday, February 3 | 10 – 11:15 a.m. ET

Facilitated by briana rodríguez and Sabina Vaught, we will think through how to design a conference presentation that invites dialogue, tells a story, and prioritizes open inquiry.

The Review (pre-tenure workshop)
Friday, February 17 | 12:30 – 2 p.m.

Annual? Third-year? Tenure? We’ll talk about engaging the unique genre of the pre-tenure review. How do you tell the story of your scholarly work? What is the purpose of this writing? How can you maintain fidelity to your voice and meet the expectations of various professional processes and benchmarks?

Center for Urban Education’s “Teaching August Wilson: A Pedagogy of Self-Determination”
Wednesday, February 22, 2023 | Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Co-sponsored by the Kinloch Commons

Join the Center for Urban Education (CUE), in partnership with the Pitt Library, for a virtual panel celebrating the life and work of August Wilson and the importance of teaching his writings. This panel launches a deeper collaborative relationship in which CUE will lead a series of workshops with educators about how to develop curriculum and pedagogy that center the August Wilson archive. In addition, the panel invites educators across contexts to a conversation about fostering creative and inventive teaching designs.


  • Justin Emeka, Associate Professor, Oberlin College, and Resident Director, Pittsburgh Public Theater
  • Khalid Y. Long, Assistant Professor, University of Georgia Institute for African American Studies
  • Shaun Myers, Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of English


  • Ari Brazier, CUE Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Robert Randolph, Writing Center Director, North Carolina A&T State University

Contemplating a Womanist Educational Leadership: Reckoning with Freedom
Tuesday, March 14 |  5:30 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, March 28 |  5:30 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Co-sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education

Aided by viewing portions of illustrative films and engaging in roundtable discussions, participants will collectively imagine the contours of and possibilities for womanist-informed educational leadership.

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders on March 14
The Moms of Magnolia Street directed by Michael Bott & Sean Myers on March 28

Collaborators: Dr. Kirsten Edwards, Associate Professor at Florida International University; Debralyn Woodberry-Shaw, Commons graduate student collaborator

Expressive Study Series

This series invokes and inspires living in the difference through creative collective engagements with intellectual dialogues.

Collaborators: briana rodríguez, Commons graduate collaborator; Kate Joranson, Frick Fine Arts Library Head Librarian; Janina Lopez, doctoral student, History of Art and Architecture.

Expressive Study Series: Giovanni Batz
Thursday, March 16 | 5 p.m. ET
Location TBD and Zoom

This curated series will respond to Giovanni Batz’s writing through and with materials and processes of creating. We understand making, building, and creating as embodied ways of knowing, expanding our capacity for critical inquiry. Engaging with a variety of knowledge traditions through and with materials invites us to see our creative and liberatory practices as situational and relational. We are reflecting on the following questions:

  • What can we learn about liberatory pedagogies by being in dialogue with authors working in multiple knowledge traditions?
  • What role does imagination play in critical consciousness and movement building?

Join us as Dr. Giovanni Batz discusses his new book, La Cuarta Invasión: Historias y resistencia del Pueblo Ixil, y su lucha contra la Hidroeléctrica Palo Viej en Cotzal, Quiché, Guatemala.

This hybrid event is open to the public. The event includes a virtual talk and an in-person creative activity directly following the talk.

Breaking the Mold: Spotlighting and Reflecting on Approaches to Facilitating Learning in K-12 Education
Virtual Series
Partnership with Remake Learning

Part 1

Out-of-school and in-school educators will spend time in community with each other reflecting on and discussing their approaches to facilitating learning in young people.

Date/Time: April 5, 2023 | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Contact Information: Debralyn Woodberry-Shaw,

Lead Partner: The Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Part 2

Remake Learning will spotlight three organizations (Hatch Partners in Play, Homewood Children’s Village, Environmental Charter School) that are facilitating learning in bold and innovative ways.

Date/Time: April 12, 2023 | 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Contact Information: Stephanie Lewis,

Lead Partner: Remake Learning

Freedom & Justice Gathering
Wednesday, April 19, 2023 | 4 – 7 p.m.

Join the Pitt School of Education for a virtual evening of activities for educators, families, students, and community members committed to equity and justice in education.


  • Keynote lecture with Ujju Aggarwal (Assistant Professor, The New School)
  • DJ and MC Justis Lopez
  • Workshops facilitated by local community organizations, including the Latino Community Center, the Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents, and the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project
  • Poetry reading by Pitt student group Addverse+poesia

Co-sponsored by the Pitt School of Education Dean’s Office, the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading, the Center for Urban Education, and the Forum for Western Pennsylvania School Superintendents, and the Kinloch Commons For Critical Pedagogy and Leadership.

Writing and Scholarly Life Workshop
Tuesday, September 13, 2022 | 1 p.m.

Facilitated by Sabina Vaught, Kinloch Commons director

This workshop is for pre-tenure faculty members.

Freedom Pedagogies Symposium
Saturday, September 17, 2022

Co-sponsored by the Practices of Freedom grant project

  • Living Syllabus Workshop
    10 – 11:30 a.m.Facilitated by Sabina Vaught, Kinloch Commons director, and Janina Lopez, doctoral student”A revolution by education requires a revolution in education,” writes Russell Rickford in We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination. In this online session, we ask how our syllabi can be revolutionary experiments in reimagining and restructuring a small part of the vast educational project. Join to learn about and discuss one model for engaging a living syllabus–a syllabus that unfolds through collective processes in the context of one course.
  • Abolitionist Pedagogy Workshop
    Noon – 1:30 p.m.Facilitated by Sabina Vaught, Kinloch Commons director, and Chris Wright, doctoral studentThis introductory workshop will introduce some core ideas and practices of anti-carceral/abolitionist pedagogy as a pathway to building classroom practices.

Lecture with Kipp Dawson
Monday, October 17, 2022 | 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Learn from activist, organizer, and educator Kipp Dawson. A Pitt alum, retired Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher, and retired coal miner with vast labor union experience through the United Mine Workers, Kipp has also spent decades organizing in Civil Rights, anti-war, and feminist movements. She will be sharing stories of common cause across movements and the power of local-global organizing. Presented by Reimagining Educational Work for Collective Freedom: The Labor Strike as a Portal, The Kinloch Commons for Critical Pedagogy and Leadership, and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education.

Anti-carceral/Abolitionist Pedagogy Workshop Series

Co-sponsored by the University Center for Teaching and Learning

  • Anti-carceral/Abolitionist Pedagogy Part 1
    Thursday, October 20, 2022 | 1 – 2:30 p.m.Facilitated by Sabina Vaught, Kinloch Commons director, and Chris Wright, urban education doctoral studentAdvance reading: Dylan Rodríguez, “The Disorientation of the Teaching Act: Abolition as Pedagogical Position”Through a close engagement with Dylan Rodríguez’s “The Disorientation of the Teaching Act: Abolition as Pedagogical Position,” we will very briefly and broadly frame key concepts and practices of abolition. Then, we will consider collectively: What questions do we need to ask about our own pedagogy across Rodriguez’ two abolitionist pedagogy dimensions of challenging common sense and dismantling presentist and ahistorical study that will create the momentum to build toward, sustain, and deepen ongoing, collective abolitionist pedagogy?
  • Anti-carceral/Abolitionist Pedagogy Part 2
    Monday, November 7, 2022 | 1 – 2:30 p.m.
    VirtualFacilitated by Sabina Vaught, Kinloch Commons directorAdvance reading: Critical resistance reformist reform v. abolitionist steps toolkitWe will pick up where we left off, sharing how we’ve considered Rodríguez’ two dimensions in our teaching. Then, we will consider how we incorporate and insist on the third dimension: creatively imagining and building free futures. We will build an anti-carceral pedagogy tool to take away with us.

What Counts as the University? Academic Freedom, Free Speech, and Misogynoir
Monday, October 24 | Noon

This teach-in features Women of Color public intellectuals and delves into the question of what “counts” as the university? When and how is academic freedom used, curtailed, and what lessons might we learn from patterns of institutions revoking academic freedom? How does misogynoir show up in higher education? Panelists will include Uju Anya (Carnegie Mellon University) and Pitt Education faculty members Eboni M. Zamani-Gallaher and Leigh Patel, and will be moderated by Pitt Education PhD student Ogechi Irondi. After some dialogue among the panelists, there will be moderated time for question and answer with the audience.

Co-sponsored by The Kinloch Commons

Reckoning, Reconciliation, and Reciprocity in Community Centered Research: Lessons from Puerto Rican Chicago by Dr. Mirelsie Velázquez
Monday, October 31 | 6 p.m.
Posvar 5401 and virtual

Dr. Lisa Ortiz, an associate professor at Pitt Education, will moderate this dialogue with Dr. Mirelsie Velázquez (University of Oklahoma) as she conducts partial readings and shares the book writing process with students and attendees.

Co-sponsored by The Kinloch Commons.

Expressive Study Series
Monday, November 7

This gathering features a dialogue with Dr. Lisa Ortiz and Dr. Mirelsie Velázquez with a shared reading from Dr. Velázquez’ new book, Puerto Rican Chicago: Schooling the City, 1940-1977. The dialogue is accompanied by a reflective visual expression experience, and a share out with students and attendees about the book writing process. Art materials provided for in-person attendees.

Living in the Questions: Shaping Scholarly Inquiry (pre-tenure workshop)
Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | 1 – 3 p.m.

Guided by Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s framework for designing questions with “stretch,” “resonance,” and “resilience,” we will spend the first hour workshopping our inquiry, from our overarching questions to our immediate projects. How do we maintain the complexity and multiplicity of our inquiry while also making it cohere for ourselves and others? How do we sustain the interrogative? How do we keep space for change and transformation? For the second hour, we will discuss resources for pre-tenure support at the Pitt School of Education.

Related Events

Collaborators and Partners

Leadership and Pedagogy Projects with:

  • Anne Arundel Community College
  • The Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania
  • City of Revere
  • Florida International University College of Arts, Sciences, & Education
  • Tufts University Department of Education
Back to Top