Center for the Study of Race & Equity in Education



The Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education unites University of Pennsylvania scholars who conduct research on race, racism, racial climates, and important topics pertaining to equity in education. Center staff and affiliates collaborate on funded research projects, environmental assessment activities, and the production of timely research reports. The Center’s strength resides in its interdisciplinarity – professors from various departments in the School of Arts and Sciences, the Perelman School of Medicine, the School of Social Policy and Practice, the Wharton School of Business, Penn Law School, and the School of Nursing join Penn GSE faculty as affiliates. Principally, the Center aims to publish cutting-edge implications for education policy and practice, with an explicit focus on improving equity in P-12 schools, colleges and universities, and social contexts that influence educational outcomes.

Consulting Services

K-12 Consulting and Professional Development
The Center partners with educational leaders, teachers, and other stakeholders to improve outcomes, experiences, and environments in K-12 school settings. Principally, their work aims to address equity issues that impact student achievement, teacher effectiveness and retention, parent and family engagement, and effective school and district-level leadership. Their services include:

  • Building racial competence among professionals in school settings.
  • Creating reflective and consciousness-raising experiences for teachers of diverse learners.
  • Conducting workshops for educators on culturally responsive teaching and culturally relevant curricula.
  • Facilitating trainings for educators and leaders on discussing race and equity issues in their school settings.
  • Assessing school climates for diversity, cross-racial learning, and inclusivity.
  • Assisting with conflict resolution in moments of racial distress and diversity-related tensions.
  • Sharing research and resources for families on talking to children about race and other dimensions of diversity.
  • Working one-on-one with educators who need development and support.
  • Engaging in long-term partnerships for institutional and district-level change.

For more information on our K-12 services, please contact:

Ali Michael, PhD 
Director of K-12 Consulting and Professional Development

Campus Climate Assessment and Higher Education Consulting Services
The Center sends teams of consultants to campuses to collect data from various stakeholders. Depending on the specific needs of an institution, their assessments can focus broadly on diversity and inclusion or on particular aspects of the climate (campus racial climates, classroom climates for women in STEM fields, or climates for LGBT persons, to name a few). Their student assessments concentrate primarily on sense of belonging, the extent to which students interact substantively across difference, where and what students learn about diversity, perceptions of institutional commitments to fostering inclusive environments, and characterizations of the supportiveness of classrooms and other learning spaces. They also offer employee assessments that focus on feelings of respectability, fairness, equitable opportunities for professional advancement, and inclusion across diverse groups of faculty and staff.

Consultants typically spend three days on a campus facilitating dozens of focus groups and individual interviews. They couple data gathered through our qualitative instruments with quantitative data from offices of institutional research and IPEDS. Their team members ultimately write a report in which key findings and substantive recommendations are presented. In some instances, they engage in long-term partnerships with institutions to implement and continually assess the effectiveness of recommendations offered in our reports.

In addition to their campus climate assessments, the Center offers these services:

  • Collaborating with institutional stakeholders to create strategic plans for increasing access, compositional diversity, and retention rates among students and employees.
  • Assessing cultural competence among faculty and administrators.
  • Conducting workshops for academic departments and schools on culturally responsive teaching, culturally relevant curricula, and engaging diverse learners.  
  • Creating reflective and consciousness-raising diversity experiences for professionals in academic departments, student affairs divisions, and elsewhere on campuses.  
  • Facilitating trainings for faculty, staff, and students on discussing diversity issues in productive ways that promote learning, safety and respectability, and cross-cultural understanding.  
  • Assisting institutional leaders with conflict resolution in moments of racial distress and diversity-related tensions.  
  • Advising college presidents and senior administrators on advancing equity agendas and resolving longstanding equity problems.  
  • Engaging in long-term partnerships for institutional and system-wide change.

For more information on our Higher Education services, please contact:

Charles H.F. Davis III 
Director of Higher Education Research and Initiatives