Penn GSE's Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

Penn GSE has long been committed to preparing our students to live, work, and lead in a world marked by sweeping demographic change and interconnectedness. We continually reflect on our policies and practices to ensure that they foster a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. But there is always much more work to do.

Over the last few years, our community has actively engaged in ongoing learning and dialogue about race, equity, and inclusion—as well as our shared interest in using education to create opportunity. Our nation’s painful reckoning with our long history of anti-Blackness and the recent increase in bias incidents facing AAPI communities has galvanized these efforts.

As a school, we are committed to doing the work to foster a climate of understanding, inclusion, and respect, including

  • Welcoming an Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Increasing accountability
  • Preparing anti-racist educators and researchers
  • Reaching for more faculty diversity
  • Maintaining a diverse student body
  • Putting research to work
  • Learning together

We invite our students, faculty, and staff to help us build on these efforts. Learn more about our efforts on Race, Equity, and Inclusion here; additionally, you can read the Penn GSE Diversity Action Plan.


Meet Our Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

Raquel M. Arredondo is the inaugural Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. In this role, Raquel drives School-wide DEI initiatives and strategies in order to promote an inclusive learning and workplace environment. She creates and drives best practices among DEI policies and procedures, implementing training and development to enhance cultural competencies and increasing global mindset for students, faculty, and staff.

Read more about Raquel Arredondo.

Office of the Dean
Raquel M. Arredondo
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
(215) 898-5186

Office of Student Services
Dr. Ann Tiao
Assistant Dean, Student Services
(215) 898-7019

Office of Faculty Affairs and Diversity
Dr. Jessie Harper
Assistant Dean, Faculty Affairs & Diversity
(215) 573-3725

Office of Human Resources
Kate Hellings
Chief People Officer
(215) 746-3133

Increasing Accountability

Dean Pam Grossman and other senior faculty have worked to foster a collegial and intellectually stimulating environment for our community. For the past few years, faculty, students, and staff have engaged in a series of dialogues on issues of race and inclusion. In 2017, Dean Grossman created the Committee on Race, Equity, and Inclusion. This standing committee, whose members include faculty, staff, and students, is focused on addressing school climate and strengthening policies and procedures around such issues as racial bias, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, sexual harassment, and creating a sense of belonging for international students.


Preparing Anti-Racist Educators and Researchers

Every educator needs to develop racial literacy and an understanding of the history of race in America. This understanding is crucial for both participating in a pluralistic democracy and for educating and leading in our racially diverse society. Penn GSE is working to ensure that curricula for our teacher education, counseling, and leadership programs further strengthenand make more explicitour practitioner preparation around issues of race and racial justice. The community continues to work to provide ongoing training in anti-racist pedagogy and racial literacy for students, faculty, and staff at Penn GSE.

Group of Penn GSE Students at the Art Museum Rocky Statue

Student Organizations

Penn GSE and the University of Pennsylvania work as partners with our graduate and undergraduate students to provide diversity-focused student organizations that are meaningful, relevant, and supportive for our students.

Student Organizations

Putting Research to Work

Penn GSE has several race- and diversity-focused centers, such as the Racial Empowerment Collaborative, which is focused on racial literacy and health in schools and neighborhoods, and HEARD: The Hub for Equity, Anti-Oppression, Research, and Development, which was formed by Penn GSE in 2016 to focus on anti-oppression work in education.

Collage of Past Speakers from Penn GSE's Visiting Faculty Scholars of Color Series

Visiting Scholars of Color

Our Visiting Faculty Scholars of Color series was launched in 2008, and invites renowned and up-and-coming scholars of color from all over the country to give lectures and share their research with faculty, staff, and students at Penn GSE. These highly-anticipated talks are followed up with a lunch and conversation between students and the speaker about the speaker’s work. The schedule of scholars is announced each fall.

Learn More about the Visiting Faculty Scholars of Color Series

Committee on Race, Equity, and Inclusion

Launched in 2017, Penn GSE's Committee on Race, Equity, and Inclusion is comprised of students, faculty, and staff. The Committee has focused on addressing school climate, the development of HEARD in 2018—a center that brings together students and faculty interested in issues of race and equity—and strengthening policies and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment and racial bias. Penn GSE continues to hold open forums for students, faculty, and staff to learn about the committee’s work and to respond to their recommendations and suggestions in both areas. Read our procedures around sexual harassment and bias reporting.


Staff and faculty training concerning sexual harassment, sexual violence reporting, and bias began in 2017 and is an ongoing effort. Additionally, key staff and faculty receive more in-depth instruction from Penn Violence Prevention to ensure that community members have multiple avenues if they should need assistance. We now require all incoming students to view a module and give feedback on how the University of Pennsylvania handles sexual violence and harassment issues. The Committee has facilitated research-based anti-sexual harassment role-play training for faculty. 

In spring 2018, the Committee implemented Penn GSE's first survey on school climate for its entire community of students, faculty, and staff. Key learnings inform the Committee's annual agenda. 

Additionally, the Committee on Race, Equity, and Inclusion is deeply committed to supporting any members of our community who have witnessed or have been the targets of bias-related incidents, particularly racial bias. To that end, the Committee developed bias reporting procedures and resources for any members of our community who have experienced a discriminatory or hurtful act, and can also assist them in identifying campus and school resources to help them understand their options.

Resources can be found on our Equal Opportunities and Harassment Policies page under Formal Complaints and Reporting Offices. Members of the Penn community can access an online Bias Incident Reporting Form here. A number of additional events and gatherings will be planned throughout the year around any number of themes aimed at promoting understanding.

Research Centers & Initiatives

Penn GSE has several race- and diversity-focused centers, such as the Racial Empowerment Collaborative and HEARD, the Hub for Equity, Anti-Oppression, Research, and Development. GSE’s faculty, students, and staff are engaged both locally and globally. Our distinguished faculty publishes broadly on issues of domestic and international diversity. Students also have the opportunity to publish with faculty mentors and in GSE’s two student-edited journals: Perspectives on Urban Education and Working Papers in Educational LinguisticsPenn GSE's scholarship is aimed at generating both research and practice-based efforts around race, equity, and inclusion.

Our Community's Diversity

Reaching for More Faculty Diversity:

The GSE Action Plan for Faculty Diversity has been considered a model for the University of Pennsylvania campus at large. The plan’s purpose is to improve the faculty search process and, when appropriate, actively target talented faculty with diverse experiences. Currently 47.5% of GSE’s standing faculty are people of color, with over 32% coming from underrepresented groups. Jessie Harper (Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs and Diversity) and Professor Howard Stevenson (GSE’s Diversity Search Advisor and a national expert on issues of race and inclusion) lead this effort within the search process, working closely with search committees to help them conduct inclusive searches. In recent community conversations, the topic of ensuring diversity among our full-time professional (non-standing) faculty arose. In response, new proposals and changes in practice are being developed to better ensure diversity in both standing and professional faculty. Nelson Flores, who worked with the Faculty Senate on a similar initiative at the university level, helps lead this work.

Maintaining a Diverse Student Body

Penn GSE is proud of its diverse student population. For example, for last year’s 2020 incoming class, 43% of our domestic students identified as students of color, with 28% of the class coming from under-represented groups. To achieve this diversity, we enact a number of efforts, including targeted recruitment and increasing scholarship opportunities, including initiating and expanding need-based aid and creating scholarships for BIPOC and low-income students.

Standing Faculty














45% Male
55% Female

People of color


American Indian/Alaskan











29.9% Male
70.1% Female
Professional Faculty (Professors of Practice, Senior Lecturers, Lecturers in Educational Practice, and Full-time Lecturers)










23.8% Male
76.2% Female

Learning Together

Since 2020, we have held an annual “One Book, One GSE” event to engage the community in discussions around race, equity, and inclusion. Each year we invite our students, faculty, and staff to join us in these important discussions.

GSE students, faculty, and staff continue to step up to the challenge of leadership, question the assumptions of the past, and raise our voices as we move forward as a school. We welcome all voices. We would like to underscore that Penn GSE is a place for fostering learning across differences, which requires a listening and respectful stance.

Our commonalities, especially our shared belief in the importance of education, are what bring us together. Our differences—cultural, racial, gender, and beyond—spark challenges and conversations that make us a better community and a better place of learning. We welcome you to these ongoing conversations and look forward to listening to and learning from your perspectives.

Reporting Harassment & Bias

Penn GSE takes incidences of bias very seriously. We encourage our community to make use of the reporting mechanisms and resources available.