Grants Office Update: February 2021

Principal Investigator: Valerie Kinloch
Department: Deans Office
Project Title: Equity and Justice in Teaching, Learning, and Engaging
Agency Name: Grable Foundation

Award Dates: 12/1/20 – 12/1/21 
Amount: $150,000

“Equity and Justice in Teaching, Learning, and Engaging” is a newly funded grant awarded from the Grable Foundation that aligns with our School’s mission-vision, cultural drivers, and strategic priorities. This grant will support the hiring of the first Dean’s Equity Scholar. This Scholar will help to advance existing and create new initiatives that emphasize equity and justice in education within school districts and communities. In addition to working with the Dean on aspects of the PittEd Justice Collective and our School’s strategic plan, this Scholar will contribute, in very collaborative ways, to helping our School examine and emphasize some of the necessary ways we can better exist, function, and survive with one another by focusing on various educational commitments; by providing collective engagements with equity, justice, and learning during the time of COVID-19 (the immediate, the urgent, the present moment), after COVID-19 (the future, the long-term, the sustainable educational structures that must be in place), and in light of what feels to be never-ending racial violence. Also, this Scholar will collaborate on the study of, research about, and implementation of sustainable antiracist, justice-directed, and deeply-rooted equity initiatives involving members of our School, families, children, youth, and school and community partners.

Principal Investigator: Darris Means
Department: Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy
Project Title: Investigating Postsecondary Education Access and Choice for Rural Black Students Using a Participatory Mixed Methods Approach

Agency Name: Spencer Foundation

Award Dates: 2/1/21 – 12/31/22 
Amount: $49,907

The research on rural Black students has identified and characterized postsecondary education access and choice challenges experienced by this population of students but less attention has been paid to understanding the critical factors and mechanisms used by rural Black students to navigate their pathways to postsecondary education despite challenges. To address these concerns, a research team that includes faculty from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Georgia and undergraduate student co-researchers will examine knowledge, skills, abilities, and social networks of rural Black students that support postsecondary education access and choice, while examining how systemic barriers may hinder postsecondary education access for rural Black students. The research team will analyze qualitative data previously collected by the PI; design, test, and launch a survey based on qualitative data and literature; analyze quantitative data; and use qualitative and quantitative data to develop research-based products in partnership with an advisory board of rural Black high school students that will be used to problematize and address postsecondary education inequities experienced by rural Black students.

Principal Investigator: Meghan Orman/Shannon Wanless
Department: Office of Child Development
Project Title: Geospatial Analysis of Libraries in PA

Agency Name: Commonwealth of PA Department of Education

Award Dates: 1/4/21 – 1/3/22 
Amount: $8,500

This project will explore the relationship between public library locations and residential outcomes in Pennsylvania. It centers around two specific research questions:

1. What is the effect on a community if residents have access to a public library? 2. Given the vital role of internet access during the covid-19 pandemic, how are libraries situated in relation to residents’ access to broadband internet?

Principal Investigator: Aisha White
Department: Office of Child Development
Project Title: P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education)

Agency Name:  The Opportunity Fund

Award Dates: 1/1/21 – 6/30/21 
Amount: $15,000

P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education) interrupts racism by increasing the ability of adults to support Black children’s racial identity development through learning opportunities focused on racial awareness and anti-racism.

Principal Investigator: Tom Akiva
Department: Health and Human Development
Project Title: Generator Z Evaluation

Agency Name: Ralph C. Wilson Foundation

Award Dates: 12/1/20 – 5/31/23 
Amount: $250,000

Generator Z ( is a new online initiative for involving and amplifying youth voice within a large philanthropic project. In the project, over 1,000 teens from Southeast Michigan and Western New York submitted multi-media “stories” that include their visions for reimagining the future of afterschool. Youth program providers will then submit funding proposals that respond to those stories. Our research and evaluation project will address project implementation, idea generation, and the growth and learning of youth and adult providers involved in the initiative. Our team includes Josefina Banales, Asst. Professor in Psychology at Pitt, and Tracy Medrano Gonzales and Sharon Colvin, both PhD students in LSAP.

Principal Investigator: Tom Akiva
Department: Health and Human Development
Project Title: Remake Learning Research Fellow (Year 2)

Agency Name: Grantsmakers of Western Pennsylvania

Award Dates: 9/1/20 – 8/31/21 
Amount: $22,500

Remake Learning is an educational intermediary organization and network that focuses on technology and educational equity in the Pittsburgh region (and is co-chaired by our very own Dean Kinloch). Through this initiative, Erin Gatz, PhD student in the LSAP program, serves as the Remake Learning Research Fellow. Last year the project included an in-depth examination of the multi-tiered types of involvement for network members. Now in our second year of this research-practice partnership, we will continue to conduct research, organize researcher-educator meetups, and produce research-to-practice materials for practitioners.

Principal Investigator: Xu Qin
Department: Health and Human Development
Project Title: Statistical Power Analysis for Causal Mediation Studies in Single-Site and Multi-Site Randomized Trials Using Monte Carlo Simulations

Agency Name: Spencer Foundation

Award Dates: 1/1/21 – 12/31/22 
Amount: $50,000

With the recent development of causal mediation analysis methods, the importance of investigating causal mediation mechanisms through which an intervention affects an outcome has been increasingly valued. When designing a causal mediation study, it is crucial to conduct a power analysis for determining the sample size required to detect the causal mediation effects with sufficient power. However, the development of power analysis methods for causal mediation studies has lagged far behind. It is urgent to develop easy-to-use tools for power and sample size calculations and discern which causal mediation analysis methods work best in which settings. Dr. Qin proposed a simulation-based method for power and sample size calculations for causal mediation studies in both single-site and multi-site randomized trials and an easy-to-use R package. The proposed method has several strengths. First, it mimics the sampling process in real data collection and hence is very intuitive. Second, it is the only feasible approach when analytic models are so complex that power formulas are not available. Third, it eases power comparisons across causal mediation analysis methods under different settings. Fourth, it can assess how omitted confounding affects power.

Principal Investigator: Shallegra Moye
Department: Deans Office
Project Title: Grow Sto-Rox C3

Agency Name: Focus on Renewal

Award Dates: 1/1/21 – 3/31/21 
Amount: $5,000

The Center for Urban Education, under the leadership of Dr. Elon Dancy, is pleased to provide anti-bias/anti-racism training and development to the Grow Sto-Rox C3 community collaborative. CUE team members who are facilitating the training and development include: Shallegra Moye, Project Director of the Heinz Fellows Program and Dakota Garilli, returning Heinz Fellow. The work will also be generously supported by Dr. Shanyce Campbell, CUE Faculty, Cassandra Brentley, Ready to Learn Program Manager and Christy McGuire, Graduate Assistant. Grow Sto-Rox C3 consists of education, community development, and social service organizations serving one of Allegheny County’s most economically challenged and minoritized populations. Shallegra and Dakota’s existing community relationships aided us in learning about and ultimately securing the RFP. Shallegra is a resident of the Sto-Rox community and continues to support education equity and justice for families.  The commitment Grow Sto-Rox C3 is demonstrating by addressing bias and racism within its own ecosystem will have a positive impact on its stakeholders. Developing and delivering this training is part of the Center for Urban Education and School of Education’s commitment to learning, sharing, and transforming through community partnership and engagement.