Valerie Kinloch is the former Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. She served as dean from from 2017-2023 before leaving to become the president of her undergraduate alma mater, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Under her leadership, the School of Education strengthened its commitments to equity, justice, and innovation by focusing on teaching, research, community engagement, academic programs, student success, faculty development, and alumni involvement. Among her many professional appointments, Kinloch is serving as or has served as Immediate Past President of the National Council of Teachers of English, a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Council on Education (ACE)y, and Co-Chair of Remake Learning.
Kinloch’s research has 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, and most recently, she co-authored the book, Where is the Justice? Engaged Pedagogies in Schools and Communities.
In 2023, Kinloch was recognized as a Top 200 education scholar in the nation by RHSU Edu-Scholar and she was also ranked No. 34 in the 2023 Higher Education Power 100 list of City & State Pennsylvania. Additionally, 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.
Prior to assuming the deanship at Pitt Education, Kinloch spent approximately 10 years in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. She 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. 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.
Kinloch was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, and completed her K-12 education in public schools. Kinloch earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in honors English at Johnson C. Smith University in 1996. At Wayne State University, she earned a Master of Arts degree in English and African American literature in 1998 as well as a PhD degree in English and composition studies with a cognate in urban studies in 2000.