T. Elon Dancy II Named Associate Dean for Equity and Justice

T. Elon Dancy, II has been named the new Associate Dean for Equity and Justice in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. He will oversee the school-wide strategy for centering equity, justice, and antiracism across the entire Pitt School of Education.

Dancy, the Helen S. Faison Chair in Urban Education, will also serve in an elevated leadership role within the school’s Center for Urban Education (CUE), as its new Executive Director.

“Members of our School of Education should be very familiar with the amazing, ground-breaking, and community-centered work that Dr. Dancy has engineered through his leadership of our Center for Urban Education,” says Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman of the Pitt School of Education. “Dr. Dancy will continue to lead CUE as Executive Director while also partnering with faculty, staff, and students to think deeply about our teaching, to strengthen our curricula, to refocus our research on equity, and to reimagine the justice-directed scope of our work and engagements that we must all commit to doing. I am excited to have Dr. Dancy on my leadership team.”

Prior to joining the Pitt School of Education in July 2018, Dancy was a Professor and Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Academic Inclusion in the University of Oklahoma’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.

An education sociologist by training, Dancy studies educational settings as sites of power, control, and identity negotiation. He is the author/editor of six books and monographs; the author or co-author of over 70 journal articles, book chapters, and publications related to education and society; and has received research awards from numerous national research institutes, including the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE).

Dancy’s research and teaching have focused on issues of access and equity in the educational pipeline by race, gender, class, and other sociopolitical factors. He explores socio-historical contexts, masculinity formations, school/prison nexus, and race and gender hegemony in education. 

“I am honored by the invitation to serve in this important role. I look forward to strategic collaborations within the School of Education, and I’m excited to continue learning with freedom-minded communities toward principles of equity, justice, and collective good,” says Dancy.

During his directorship of CUE, Dancy has expanded the impact of community-focused projects. CUE projects include the annual CUE Summer Educator Forum (CUESEF), which is a professional learning experience for teachers focused on culturally responsive teaching; the Ready to Learn tutoring and mentoring initiative, which supports elementary, middle, and high school students in Pittsburgh Public Schools; and the Heinz Fellows Program, which provides opportunities for fellows to work in urban schools and in collaboration with teachers, staff, and school leaders.

This past June, Dean Kinloch named Dancy to the leadership team of the new PittEd Justice Collective. The three-year working group is engaged in anti-racist, justice-directed initiatives with students, staff, faculty, alumni, families, youth, and district and community partners.

Kinloch, as dean of the Pitt School of Education, created the position of Associate Dean for Equity and Justice shortly after she arrived here in 2017—making the Pitt School of Education one of only a few schools of education to have such a senior-level faculty position devoted directly to equity and justice.

According to Kinloch, the position was created because equity and justice are foundational to the school’s broader mission-vision. The first person to hold the associate dean position, Leigh Patel, is now on the faculty full-time as Professor in the school’s Department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy, effective July 2020.

“I am delighted that Dr. Dancy accepted my invitation to serve as our new Associate Dean for Equity and Justice, which comes at a critical juncture in our country’s history,” says Kinloch. “Our School of Education and our world are being severely impacted by both COVID-19 and racism. It is important that we work together to ensure that equity and justice guide our work and frame our commitments. We must envision and create a future that is more engaging, humanizing, and justice-centered.”

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The Pitt School of Education is committed to advancing equity and justice in education and across society.

Signature initiatives include: