Dr. Means is an Associate Professor in Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy. He earned his PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a concentration in Higher Education from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining the School of Education faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, he was an associate professor of college student affairs administration at the University of Georgia, and prior to that he was an administrator for Elon University's Elon Academy, a college access and success program for students with a financial need and/or no family history of college. Dr. Means researches postsecondary education access and success for rural students, Black students, students from low-income backgrounds, and first-generation college students; science education and equity for Black students; and the postsecondary education experiences of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer students.
Dr. Means teaches courses in the higher education programs. He often implements art-based and problem-based approaches to enhance the learning environment.
Dr. Means is currently working on two projects. First, he is the co-principal investigator on a participatory action research study being funded by the National Science Foundation. The project examines critical factors that support Black students' science degree persistence. Second, he is working on a multi-phase study about postsecondary education access and success for rural Black youth, while examining how racism, spatial inequities, classism, and other forms of oppression hinder their pathways to and through postsecondary education.
Stanton, J., & Means, D. R. (2018-2021). Identifying the community cultural wealth of successful Black science students through participatory action research. Improving Undergraduate STEM Education, National Science Foundation (NSF) ($299,958). Co-Principal Investigator.
Garvey, J. C., Harris, J. C., Means, D. R., Perez, R. J., & Porter, C. J. (Eds.). (2020). Case studies for student development theory: Advancing social justice and inclusion in higher
Hudson, T. D., Means, D. R., & Tish, E. (2020). Discovering my agency: Exploring how youth participatory action research facilitates the development of capital by underserved youth in a college access program. Teachers College Record, 122(1).
Coleman, R., Wallace, J., & Means, D. R. (2020; invited). Questioning a single narrative: Multiple identities shaping Black queer and transgender student retention. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory, and Practice, 21(4), 455-475.
Means, D. R. (2019). Crucial support, vital aspirations: The college and career aspirations of rural Black and Latinx middle school students in a community- and youth-based leadership program. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 35(1), 1-14.
Means, D. R., Hudson, T. D., & Tish, E. (2019). A snapshot of college access and inequity: Using photography to illuminate the pathways to higher education for underserved youth. The High School Journal, 102(2), 139-158.