Dean’s Lecture Series

Details about the 2021–22 series will be available in August. Please check back.


GSE is committed to creating an equitable, diverse, inclusive and just community where all feel welcomed, included, supported and empowered. It is crucial our communities have equal access to supports, services and opportunities that ensure learning and success.

Invited speakers were selected by a committee of junior faculty who also picked the theme. Their topics reflect a range of perspectives on the theme, representing the various departments within GSE.

Valerie Kinloch.

Renee and Richard Goldman Dean
University of Pittsburgh School of Education

“'The ones we've been waiting for': Race, Justice and Activism in Literacy Education”

In this discussion, she will share some of the literacy stories about race, justice, and activism from various young people, teachers, and community members, and what we can learn from them. How can, and why should, we commit to moving toward justice and understanding the importance of activism in our literacy engagements, in our teaching practices, and in our collaborations with each other? What might this movement look like and in what ways can it contribute to transformative educational spaces and practices? If we are “the ones we’ve been waiting for,” as poet-educator June Jordan writes, then how do we take up critical, humanizing work on race, justice, and activism in literacy education?

Jennifer Morton.

Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

“Moving Up Without Losing Your Way”

This talk will address the ethical costs upwardly mobile students must bear if they are to dramatically transform their life circumstances. These costs affect their relationships with family and friends, their sense of cultural identity, and their place in their community. Morton argues they are ethical in so far as they concern those aspects of life that give it value and meaning. Using social science evidence, she will show how these costs are the result of a complex tangle of economic, cultural, and structural factors that unjustly and disproportionately affect disadvantaged students and their communities. She suggests that we need to offer students a new ethical narrative of upward mobility that recognizes and acknowledges these ethical costs. She will conclude with some thoughts on how institutions of higher education might mitigate some of these costs.

John Biewen.

Audio Program Director/Instructor and Host of Scene on Radio
documentary podcast of the Center for Documentary Studies
Duke University

“Seeing White”

Just what is going on with white people? Police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Acts of domestic terrorism by white supremacists. The renewed embrace of raw, undisguised white-identity politics. Unending racial inequity in schools, housing, criminal justice, and hiring. Some of this feels new, but in truth it’s an old story.

Why? Where did the notion of “whiteness” come from? What does it mean? What is whiteness for? Scene on Radio host and producer John Biewen will discuss how he, along with an array of leading scholars and regular gues Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, took a deep dive into these questions in his fourteen-part documentary series released in 2017.