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Manya Whitaker

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

When I’m at work, I focus most of my efforts on improving the quality and effectiveness of urban education. I research in urban Title I schools, helping them establish/improve their parent involvement programs. I also lead teacher in-service workshops on the implementation of developmentally appropriate curriculum for low income and ethnic minority middle school students. In the classroom, I am most interested in helping students engage course content in multiple contexts, and from multiple perspectives. My primary goal as an educator is to empower students to become teachers as well as learners in a diverse, interdisciplinary society. 

Research and Teaching Interests

Urban Education; Parental Involvement; Pedagogy of Poverty; Social Justice Pedagogy, Culturally Relevant Teaching

Pedro Noguera video clip: How do schools promote equity among students?


Whitaker, M.C. (Accepted). Revisiting the Black bourgeoisie: Lessons of excess in Black reality TV. In J. Ward (Ed.), There's no "Blachelor": Portrayals of Black Men in Reality TV (pp. TBD)

Whitaker, M.C. (2014) Multicultural education. In S. Thompson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of diversity and social justice. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Whitaker, M.C. (2013, November 6). The color of teaching: Expectations of Mammy in the classroom. The Feminist Wire. Retrieved from

Whitaker, M.C., & Hoover-Dempsey, K.V. (2013). School influences on parents’ role beliefs. The Elementary School Journal, 114(1), 73-99.

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V. & Whitaker, M.C. (2010). The parental involvement process: Implications for literacy development. In K. Dunsmore & D. Fisher (Eds.), Bringing literacy home (pp. 53-82). Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association.  

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., Whitaker, M.C., & Ice, C.L. (2010). Motivation and commitment to family-school partnerships. In Christenson, S.L., & Reschly, A.L. (Eds.), Handbook on school-family partnerships for promoting student competence (pp. 30-60). New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group.

Papers Under Review & In Progress

Whitaker, M.C. (under review). The Great White Hoax: Charter Schools and African American Achievement/ Journal of Pan African Studies.

Whitaker, M.C. & Holum, B. (under review). A Community-based Learning Approach for Changing Students' Beliefs about Poverty. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege.

Regular Classes

ED211: Framework for American Education
ED220: Youth Empowerment
ED222: Diversity and Equity in Education
ED250: The Tradition of African American Education and the Black Bourgeoisie
ED255: Urban Education
ED260: Educational Research Methods
ED311: Educational Psychology 
ED430: Policy and Politics in American Education
ED455: Educational Reform in the 21st Century 
ED490: Advanced Research
ED560: Educational Psychology for New Teachers (graduate course)
ED572: Teaching Diverse Learners (graduate course)

Manya Whitaker


Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, Psychology: Developmental Psychology, Urban Education

M.S., Vanderbilt University, Psychology: Developmental Psychology

B.A., Dartmouth College, Psychology with Honors