LEAD: Racial Equity and Community Engagement
John M. Wallace, Jr., Ph.D. is the Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development, holds the David E. Epperson Endowed Chair and is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh with appointments at the School of Social Work, the Katz Graduate School of Business, and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (Sociology). Wallace is also the senior pastor of Bible Center Church, located in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood. Over the past 30 years his work has focused on the well-being of African American children, youth, and communities. He is the principal investigator on the University of Pittsburgh Center on Race and Social Problems’ Comm-Univer-City of Pittsburgh Project, an integrated program of research, teaching, and service designed to investigate and ameliorate social problems that disproportionately impact economically disadvantaged children, families, and communities. Wallace is also the co-principal investigator on the Pitt Assisted Communities and Schools (PACS) project—a research and demonstration project that mobilizes the resources of the University of Pittsburgh to implement and evaluate a set of two-generation (i.e., parent and child) interventions for students and their parents who live, learn, play, and work in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood. Wallace is the co-founder and board president of Homewood Children’s Village, board president of Homewood’s leading community organizing entity, Operation Better Block, and the founder of The Oasis Project—the community and economic development division of Bible Center Church. Wallace earned his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan.
Daphne C. Watkins, Ph.D. is a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, Professor of Social Work, and a Faculty Associate at the Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She studies (1) behavioral interventions for historically marginalized groups; (2) mixed methods approaches to research in context; and (3) leadership development and organizational structures. Watkins’ research aims to maximize human potential, elevate social experiences, and provide equitable impact in communities and organizations. She is a community-practitioner interested in developing efficient tools and systems that activate positive, strengths-based outcomes for those most in need. Ultimately, she is committed to conducting and mobilizing cutting-edge, use-inspired research to address important social concerns. In addition to directing the Vivian A. and James L. Curtis Center for Health Equity Research and Training, Professor Watkins is the founding director of the Gender and Health Research (GendHR) Lab, the Certificate Program in Mixed Methods Research, and the award-winning Young Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health (YBMen) Project, which leverages technology to provide mental health education and social support for young Black men. She teaches graduate-level courses on research methods, social equity and equality, and community-based interventions. She also serves on committees and advisory boards aimed at improving men’s health equity both domestically and globally. Watkins earned her Ph.D. in health education from Texas A&M University.
Featuring John M. Wallace and Daphne C. Watkins
LEAD, Leading Equity And Diversity, is a series of conversations where attendees have the opportunity to hear from a diverse group of guests who lead and/or support DEI and social justice initiatives. This month our focus is on higher education institutions and their impact and responsibility to the communities they serve. “The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world.” This quote comes directly from the mission statement from the Office of U-M President. Many universities have missions that discuss giving back to local communities, yet they continue to remain separate and exploit the communities that they purport to serve. Often, it is marginalized communities who suffer as a result of collegiate negligence - walls built to keep the school isolated or a lack of property taxes that underfund neighborhoods and districts. This webinar will discuss Higher Education’s responsibility for its impact on the surrounding communities, and how to respectfully and responsibly enter communities and empower community leaders and denizens. Featured guests Daphne C. Watkins and John M. Wallace have done this well and will share their experiences.