School of Education announces new dean

Valerie Kinloch will replace Alan Lesgold as the dean of Pitt's School of Education | Courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh

After the former dean stepped down in the summer, Pitt has named a new School of Education dean — one who has had a focus on diversity and inclusion in her past roles.

Valerie Kinloch, who will begin serving as Pitt’s School of Education dean July 1, 2017, is currently the associate dean of diversity, inclusion and community engagement in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University. Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia Beeson said this background and experience makes Kinloch “well-suited” for the position.

“Valerie is committed to guiding the School of Education to new levels of excellence in its preparation of educational professionals and scholars, and her vision for the School of Education is well matched with our long-term aspirations for the University of Pittsburgh,” Beeson said in a press release, referring to the Plan for Pitt, a five-year strategic initiative which aims to coordinate the actions of all the University departments, faculty, students and staff.

In her position at Pitt, Kinloch will oversee all of the school’s academic initiatives in educational development and research and join teaching and research within Pitt’s School of Education.

Kinloch, who is also a professor of literacy studies  at OSU, will replace former dean Alan Lesgold, who served as the School of Education’s dean from 2000 to 2016.

Lesgold told The Pitt News in August 2015 he enjoyed his time as dean, but that it was time for  a younger, more energetic candidate to fill the role. He said his main goals after stepping down were to help faculty use their full potential and to write about major issues in education.

During his 16 years in the position, Lesgold helped create the Center for Urban Education, which focuses on community partnership with urban schools, and expanded collaborations between the School of Education and Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center. He still works at Pitt as a professor in the School of Education and of psychology and intelligent systems.

Lindsay Clare Matsumura, an associate professor in Pitt’s Learning Sciences and Policy Program and a research scientist in Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center, will continue serving as the interim dean of the School of Education during this academic year before Kinloch assumes her position this summer.

Along with working as a professor, Kinloch has done research on literacy, language, culture and community engagement of youth and adults in and out of the school setting. She has written three books: Harlem on Our Minds: Place, Race, and the Literacies of Urban Youth; Crossing Boundaries—Teaching and Learning with Urban Youth and June Jordan: Her Life and Letters, which examines the life of June Jordan, a 20th century African American poet, essayist and activist.

Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said in a press release he’s “delighted” Kinloch agreed to be the dean of the School of Education.  

“I have great confidence that her leadership will continue to advance our outstanding School of Education’s mission and directly impact how future generations teach and learn,” Gallagher said.

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