Dr. Valerie Kinloch became the 15th president of Johnson C. Smith University on August 3, 2023. With nearly three decades of experience in higher education, Kinloch has distinguished herself as a passionate educator who has taught and/or served in administrative roles at The Ohio State University, Columbia University’s Teachers College, the University of Houston-Downtown and, most recently, the University of Pittsburgh.
During her time as the Renée and Richard Goldman Endowed Dean and Professor of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, Kinloch strengthened the school’s commitments to equity, justice and innovation by focusing on teaching, research, community engagement, academic programs, student success, faculty development and alumni involvement.
Prior to her tenure at the University of Pittsburgh, Kinloch served as associate chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. She also served as the college’s chief diversity officer and director and then associate dean for the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement. In those roles, she strengthened curricula, promoted an urban education programmatic focus and encouraged colleagues to think critically about how to increase the enrollment of minoritized students while focusing on equity and justice both in and out of the classroom.
Among her many professional appointments, Kinloch is the immediate past president of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), a fellow of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Council on Education (ACE), an immediate past member of Johnson C. Smith University’s Board of Trustees and Co-Chair of Remake Learning.
Her dedication to research and scholarship earned her several grants from the U.S. Department of Education, NCTE, Corporation for National and Community Service, the Fulbright-Hays Program and the Spencer Foundation, among other notable organizations.
She is the recipient of many awards and designations, including the 2010 AERA Scholars of Color Early Career Award, the 2015 OSU Distinguished Diversity Award, the 2015 Rewey Belle Inglis Award for Outstanding Women in English Education from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the 2018 Advancement of People of Color Leadership Award from NCTE. Kinloch was also recognized as a top 200 education scholar in the nation by RHSU Edu-Scholar and was ranked No. 34 in the 2023 Higher Education Power 100 list of City and State Pennsylvania.
Kinloch has authored numerous books on race, place, equity and literacy, including the highly recognized and critically acclaimed Harlem in Our Minds: Place, Race, and the Literacies of Urban Youth (Teachers College Press, 2010), which received the 2012 Book of the Year Award from AERA. Her most recent book, Where is the Justice? Engaged Pedagogies in Schools and Communities (Teachers College Press, 2021) followed other books on language and literacy, including two books on poet-educator June Jordan titled, June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (2006) and Still Seeking an Attitude: Critical Reflections on the Works of June Jordan (Lexington Books, 2004).
A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Kinloch received a Bachelor of Arts degree in honors English at Johnson C. Smith University. She earned a Master of Arts degree in English and African American Literature as well as a doctoral degree in English and Composition Studies with a cognate in Urban Studies from Wayne State University.
Kinloch is a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and lives in Charlotte with her husband, Tom.