Lori Delale-O’Connor, an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education and the Education Foundations, Organizations and Policy Department in the School of Education, has been honored with the 2021 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. This university-wide award recognizes teaching excellence of the highest order.
Delale-O’Connor was one of five Pitt faculty members to receive the teaching award. According to the award guidelines, each recipient will receive a cash prize of $2,000 and a grant of $3,000 to support their teaching activities.
Delale-O’Connor was selected after submitting an extensive, 100-plus page portfolio detailing her teaching philosophy, syllabi, class assignments, and more.
“The portfolio gave me the opportunity to reflect on how I view teaching. I try to engage in teaching to connect strongly with our mission-vision to support the well-being of all learners,” says Delale-O’Connor.
Delale-O’Connor intentionally centers on issues of equity and justice and employs the work of scholars of Color when teaching her courses in the EdD program (the writing seminar and the social context of education course) and in the PhD program (courses in urban education and introduction to qualitative methods).
“I think deliberately about the power dynamics in the classroom. I strive to cultivate inclusive learning practices and learn from the students,” says Delale-O’Connor. “Therefore, I engage in a variety of modes. For example, depending on their identities and experiences, some students don’t feel comfortable sharing in a large group, but they do feel comfortable putting their thoughts on sticky notes and hanging them around the classroom, or engaging in one-on-one discussion. I make space for different ways of engaging in the classroom.”
Delale-O’Connor says she feels supported by the School of Education’s commitment to fostering equitable learning experiences.
“I appreciate the university recognizing what we are doing at the School of Education. Our mission-vision shows a clear commitment to all the things I value. It makes it easier to teach in the ways I believe are important,” says Delale-O’Connor.