Faculty Members Receive Conference Grant from the Spencer Foundation

Faculty and Research

Shanyce Campbell and Heather McCambly
Pitt Education faculty members Shanyce Campbell (L) and Heather McCambly (R). 

Shanyce Campbell and Heather McCambly, two assistant professors at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, along with a co-investigator Sarah Peko-Spicer at the American Institutes for Research, recently received a conference grant from the Spencer Foundation to lead critical discussions about quantitative methodologies, racial justice, and transformation in education research.

Campbell and McCambly’s grant proposal, “Research for What?: Dreaming Toward Quantitative Paradigms for Anti-Racist Transformation,” emphasized the need for deep conversations between researchers, funders, policymakers, and communities about how quantitative methods can be used towards liberation.

“When we think about the history of how quantitative methods have been applied, often it’s with a lens of identifying deficits in underserved communities to then remediate them,” says McCambly. “We want to know how we can work to analyze systems of oppression rather than analyzing individual students, communities, or families.”

“For folx of color, the ways that quantitative methods were created and used against their bodies has been a nightmare,” says Campbell. “The conference will allow us to remember the ways quantitative methods can be used as a tool for liberation.”

Taking place later this year, the conference will be designed for educational researchers, graduate students, funders, community advocates, and policymakers who are committed to anti-racist and liberatory practices. The convening will be a four-part series spread over two months to give participants time to reflect and ideate between sessions.

“It is my hope that this conference holds space for us as a collective to wrestle with how we critically understand and use quantitative methods,” says Campbell. “Specifically, we have curated the conference in a way that allows space unlearning, healing, and dreaming.”

“For those engaging in critical quantitative work, I hope folks come away with a greater sense of the kinds of commitments we’re making to the field, to communities, and to being part of change and liberatory movements,” says McCambly. “I hope that’s something we all get to think about together.”

Based in Chicago, the Spencer Foundation is a nonprofit that supports projects that examine critical issues in advancing racial equity and innovative methods. It provided a $50,000 grant for the project at Pitt Education. 

Learn More

More information about the conference will be available soon. If you’d like to learn more about the conference or be added to a waiting list, please contact Heather McCambly at mccambly@pitt.edu or Shanyce Campbell at shanycecampbell@pitt.edu