Educational Thought Leaders Engaging with our Local Community

“Pedagogy should work in tandem with students’ own knowledge of their community and grassroots organizations to push forward new ideas for social change, not just be a tool to enhance test scores or grades. Pedagogy, regardless of its name, is useless without teachers dedicated to challenging systemic oppression with intersectional social justice.”

Dr. Bettina L. Love, from We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

2023 Focus on Equity-Centered, Trauma-Informed Education: Alex Shevrin Venet

Image of Lecturer

Alex Shevrin Venet, author of Equity-Centered, Trauma-Informed Education

Alex Shevrin Venet and her text, Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education were the focus of the 2023 Spring Lecture and Community read. She focuses on how trauma-informed practices advance social and racial equity, honestly exploring trauma from a practitioner perspective. In addition to a clear-eyed account of her own teaching practices, she explores how systems of inequality intersect with the trauma of students, professionals, and families--and how we can work collaboratively to advance healing and humanity.

According to Alex, "I believe that all students need a safe and caring school environment. We can create this environment through unconditional positive regard, recognizing the dynamic and complex lives of our students. Systems change is just as important as our individual actions." Trauma-informed education includes examining the influence and impact on students in our schools of factors such as racism, poverty, peer victimization, community violence, and bullying.

Alex delivered a public lecture on the Ithaca College campus March 27, 2023 and engaged with a stakeholder group of college students, staff, administrators, and faculty in a smaller-group dialogue during her visit. Copies of the text were distributed to community partners.

2021 Critical Conversations with Jason Reynolds

portrait photo of Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds, Co-Author of Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You.

Photo credit James J. Reddington

The Ithaca College Department of Education in collaboration with the Ithaca City School District held Critical Conversations with Jason Reynolds, on Thursday, April 15, 2021. This event was free and open to the public, with live captioning provided.

Jason Reynolds is the co-author of the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, the 2021 community read.  Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent of Ithaca City School District, moderated a panel discussion with Jason Reynolds and educational leaders to explore how the book Stamped can be used in schools and communities to cultivate an understanding and action to disrupt systemic racism. Our panelists were Dr. Shirley Collado, President of Ithaca College; Dr. Sean Eversley Bradwell, Assistant Professor at Ithaca College and Vice President of the ICSD Board; and Ms. Ayisha Fullerton, Principal of Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, NY, a partner school of the Department of Education.

Reynolds' work in the field of children's and young adult literature has been widely recognized for excellence. Learn more about his contribution to young people's literacies here.

2019 Abolitionist Teaching and The Pursuit of Educational Freedom: Bettina Love


Dr. Bettina Love, Author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom

In 2019 Dr. Bettina Love, esteemed educational researcher in the areas of Hip Hop education and urban education, offered a keynote lecture on the topic of Abolitionist Teaching. This year we were also fortunate to have Dr. Love lead additional community events at the Southside Community Center and local store Buffalo Street Books. Youth were integral to all events. Students (college and P-12) helped introduce and conclude the lecture, and eight Black school-aged girls and college women sat with Dr. Love in a “fishbowl” conversation of the book, while 100 community members in the audience watched and listened. The IC Department of Education also partnered with the local Tompkins Cortland Community College’s Early Childhood Education Department to provide books and hold discussion in their classes.

Dr. Jeane Copenhaver-Johnson, former Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Chair of the Department of Education at that time, came away from the talk impressed, saying, “Dr. Love maps out the kinds of work that would be associated with de-centering whiteness, refusing the educational survival complex, and acknowledging that poor schools and economic inequality are not accidents but instead are intentional results of discriminatory policies (past and present) that privilege whiteness."

2018: Carla Shalaby and Spring Lecture Series Beginnings


Dr. Carla Shalaby, Author of Troublemakers: Lessons in Freedom from Young Children at School

The Ithaca College Department of Education Spring Lecture series is held each year to address issues of equity in education. In the weeks leading up to the lecture, the Department of Education hosts multiple book discussion groups throughout the region, including at libraries, schools, churches, and community centers. Through grant funding, the Department of Education is able to provide books to community members free of charge.

In our first year, 2018, we hosted Dr. Carla Shalaby whose lecture entitled “Refusal, Imagination, and Teaching and Learning How to Human Be” (emphasis intended) focused on understanding children, freedom, equity, and the conditions of schooling. Dr. Shalaby highlighted the impact of this event on an IC student via social media.

Shalby’s work is shaped by a deep commitment to education as the practice of freedom, and the stories of four children who are considered "troublemakers" in their school settings trouble the notion that their challenges at school rest with the children or their families; instead Shalaby makes visible how systems of power marginalize children and limit their access to dignity and freedom. Her work will be of interest to anyone who has ever loved a child or has ever been considered a “troublemaker” in school.