PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dr. Valerie Kinloch has called Pittsburgh home for the last two-and-a-half years.
The South Carolina native moved to the city when she accepted the position as Dean of the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh.READ MORE: After Doctors Told Him He Had Months To Live, Man From Baldwin Is Ready To Accomplish His Next Goal
She is the University’s first African-American female dean.
“To think that I am the first black woman to do this work, it’s overwhelming,” Dr. Kinloch said.
“It is the complex and overwhelming feeling of ‘why haven’t we been given opportunities,’ and at the same time there is this opportunity and to ensure that more of us are at the table and in the conversations, I think that’s important.”
Kinloch came to Pitt after 10 yeas at Ohio State University. She advises students and oversees faculty. She also has another mission.
“I want to increase diversity in terms of racial and ethnic and linguistic representation of faculty, staff and students in the school,” she told KDKA’s Lisa Washington.
“And how do we do that when we live in a city that does not honor and care about and respect black women, so much so, that we get de-centered in narratives that are even about us.”
The dean says she was surprised and devastated about the findings of the City’s 2019 Gender and Racial Inequity Report.READ MORE: New Developments Involving Bethel Park McDonald's Manager Accused Of Sexually Assaulting 14-Year-Old Employee
The research showed that for black women, Pittsburgh is arguably the most unlivable.
“It was a big ‘what,'” she described her reaction, with a sigh.
“It was a big ‘what are we going to do differently.’ How might we think about equity — by not just thinking about education, within the School of Education, but thinking about equity and social equality, especially in this city.”
She added, “For me, what does it mean to walk into a building like Posvar Hall every day, to be the dean, within an institution that I think is transformative, I believe is engaging within the community, but clearly we have a responsibility to do better as a university, but also as an entire city.”
She’s created a new mission and vision for the School of Education — We Ignite Learning.
And, she is actively involved in Pitt’s Community Education Center in Homewood.
“Sitting on the floor with these young kids and reading to them, that’s fundamental to what we do here in the school, but personally, that’s what I want for all of our kids,” she said.
“I don’t want to wait for another three or five or 10 years to read another report that says the same thing, so now what is it that we need to do mobilize each other to understand that we need to figure out how to work with each other to change that narrative and to position black women in the ways that we know we are already positioned,” she added.MORE NEWS: State Senators Grill Turnpike Officials On Lost Revenue, Suggest Border Tolls And Double License Plates On Vehicles
Her hope is that by bringing together those with resources and influence to address concerns, Pittsburgh becomes most livable for all.