Associate Professor and Director of Schoolwide EdD
Department of Health and Human Development
Dr. Tom Akiva is an Associate Professor in the department of Health & Human Development and Director of the Schoolwide EdD program. He publishes research about continuous improvement and professional learning, youth program features, social emotional skills, equity in out-of-school learning, and citywide ecosystem approaches to learning and development.
Check out his 2022 co-edited book, It Takes an Ecosystem: Understanding the People, Places, and Possibilities of Learning and Development Across Settings.
Dr. Akiva teaches in the schoolwide EdD program:
- Foundations 1: Framing Identifying, and Investigating Problems of Practice
- Practitioner Inquiry 1: The Science of Improvement
- Youth Development in Out-of-School Settings
Dr. Akiva's research focuses on understanding and improving out-of-school learning (OSL) program experiences for children and youth. His team increasingly focuses on city-wide approaches and he recently co-edited a book on learning & development ecosystems. Applied projects address youth-adult relationships, innovation, and equity. Current active projects include a Transformative Evaluation of Creative Learning in Pittsburgh; ongoing study of the Simple Interactions professional development approach in youth programs, libraries, and museums; a research and evaluation project with Generator-Z, and a multi-year research-practice partnership with the Remake Learning Network.
- Creative Learning: Transformative Evaluation, The Heinz Endowments, PI, 2019-2022, $450,000
- Modeling the Creative Learning ecosystem in Pittsburgh, The Heinz Endowments, PI, 2019, $49,500
- Simple Interactions 3.0, The Grable Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, PI, 2018-2020, $200,000 ($80,000 Grable, $120,000 Heinz)
- Remake Making: Understanding Adoption and Adaptation of Facilitated Making in Libraries, National Science Foundation: Advancing Informal STEM Learning, PI, 2017-2019, $299,495
- Akiva, T. & Robinson, K. (Eds.). (2022). It takes an ecosystem: Understanding the people, places, and possibilities of learning and development across settings. Information Age Publishing.
- White, A. M., Akiva, T., Colvin, S., Li, J. (2022). Integrating social and emotional learning: Creating space for afterschool educator expertise. AERA Open, 8 (1), 1-18.
- Akiva, T., Hecht, M., & Osai, E. (2021). Arts learning across a city: How ecosystem thinking helps shape understanding of Black-Centered and Eurocentric arts programming. Urban Education.
- Akiva, T., White, A. M., Colvin, S., DeMand, A., & Page, L. C. (2020). Simple Interactions: A randomized controlled trial of relational training for adults who work with young people across settings, Applied Developmental Science.
- Carey, R., Akiva, T., Abdel-Latif, H., & Daughtry, K. (2020). ‘And school won’t teach me that!’ Urban youth activism programs as transformative sites for critical adolescent learning. Journal of Youth Studies.
- Akiva, T., Delale-O’Connor, L., & Pittman, K. J. (2020). The promise of building equitable learning ecosystems in urban environments. Urban Education.
Awards and Honors
- The Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum, University of Pittsburgh, February 2021
- Certificate of Excellence in Reviewing from the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, April 2020
- Scholar Award from the Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association, April 2016
- Emerging Scholar in Out-of-School Time Research from the Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association, April 2011
Engagements, Partnerships, and Professional Service