First African-American Leadership Team Guiding Duquesne’s School of Education
The naming of scholar and social justice advocate Dr. Gretchen Givens Generett as associate dean for graduate studies and research in Duquesne University's School of Education forms what the University believes is its first African-American dean and associate dean team.
Generett, who has spent the last decade researching and teaching on issues of professional development for teachers, educational leadership and identity, joins Dean Olga Welch, Dr. Susan Munson, associate dean for teacher education, and the department chairs in forming the School of Education's Executive Committee.
"Because of the different talents and backgrounds brought to the table, diversity enriches and strengthens any community, and is especially critical in learning communities," Welch said. "I'm particularly proud to have an outstanding practitioner, scholar and advocate like Dr. Generett working with our school as a leader. Perspectives like hers are growing all the more important in today's schools, as more diversity among students is coupled with a push for academic excellence. Her experiences will help the next educational leaders to better address these issues."
Generett, who has taught at Duquesne since 2008, is co-director of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) Center for Educational Leadership and Social Justice at Duquesne, one of only eight centers across the country. This summer, she served as a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, sharing her expertise with aspiring principals.
Her commitment to ensure that teachers are prepared to educate all students stems from observing and questioning the different schooling experiences of students of color in predominantly white educational settings. Generett's interest stemmed from her personal background as a beneficiary of integration and from the fact that her mother, as an eighth-grader, integrated her local school.
Generett attended Spelman College, one of the nation's stellar historically Black women's college in Atlanta, serving as student body president and a member of the Board of Trustees. Graduating with high honors, she enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, on full fellowship. She began her academic career at Virginia Tech by accepting one of two vacant positions in the country in the field of Foundations of Education.
Previously a faculty member at Robert Morris and George Mason universities, Generett also taught high school English in Japan.
As a senior evaluator for the Pittsburgh Public Schools Culturally Responsive Arts Education Project, she assesses the effectiveness of African arts across the curriculum. She also designs training for the UCEA and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education to strengthen teachers' ability to support low-income and diverse populations.
Generett has co-edited the pending publication, Children in Poverty: Preparing Educational Leaders to Assure Student Success, for the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership. Besides presenting nationally and internationally, she has written books and journal articles. She serves on the National Planning Committee for the UCEA annual conference, is an executive council member of the American Educational Studies Association and chair of the bylaws committee. Involved in community as well as professional organizations, she is a board member of the Society for Contemporary Craft, Carriage House Childcare Center and Propel Schools.
She and her husband, William O. Generett Jr., president of nonprofit economic development agency Urban Innovation 21, live with their two children in Fox Chapel.