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New Distinguished Professorship Will Focus on Urban Issues, Educational Partnerships

Dr. Arnetha F. Ball has been named the inaugural Barbara A. Sizemore Distinguished Professor in Urban Education at Duquesne University, effective Aug. 24.

Housed in the School of Education, the professorship was established with initial funding from the Pittsburgh Foundation and will focus on advancing Duquesne and the school’s strategic emphasis on urban issues, educational partnerships and other related matters. The new position is named for the late Sizemore, a pioneer in urban education research who was the first black woman to lead a major American school district.

One of the world’s leading authorities in urban education, Ball is vice president of the Teaching and Teacher Education Division of the American Educational Research Association, and is past president of the National Conference on Research in Language and Literacy. She most recently served as a professor of education at Stanford University.

Ball is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary research agenda that aims to improve education for urban populations in three intersecting areas:

  • American schools in which predominantly poor African-American, Latino and Pacific Islander students are underachieving
  • Community-based organizations that are part of an alternative education providing “second chance” or “last chance” opportunities for individuals in search of personal, academic and economic success
  • Teacher education programs across the United States and South Africa.

This research integrates socio-cultural, sociolinguistic and ethnographic approaches to investigate the processes of teacher change and development, as well as the language and literacy practices of students in multicultural settings.

Before entering academics, Ball was a speech/language pathologist, taught in pre-school, elementary and secondary classrooms for more than 25 years, and founded and directed an early education center for students of diverse backgrounds.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.