“What does learning truly need to look like to achieve equity and excellence for everyone," asks Olga Welch, dean of Duquesne University’s School of Education.
She believes that question will be answered at least in part by today’s launch of the Canevin Center for Educational Transformation and Social Justice.
“The Canevin Center is going to a space for comprehensive ecological change that’s going to bring together educational stakeholders to work with and for underserved communities across boundaries and disciplines on issues of equity in education on all levels,” Welch said.
According to Welch, the mission is to have educational stakeholders in the region share ideas on the transformation of public education to capitalize on work currently being done.
Assistant Dean Gretchen Generett has been named as the director of the center and she says one goal is to increase the community impact of education equity initiatives.
“We want to do that by facilitating and learning from organizations that have social justice projects,” Generett said.
She says the work at the center will guide future generations of teachers. “I think we’re asking young people to do lots of different things when they go into schools; you can’t just teach a curriculum so we have to become more effective in what we do.”
Welch says building community partnerships is vital to the success of the center and championing equity for all students.
“If you’re going to talk about public education as a social justice issue, as a moral imperative, you can’t simply segregate that conversation to those in higher education or even those who work in public schools," she said. "You really have to invite the community at large to begin to talk about what that looks like.”