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November 22, 2017

Significant Community Outreach Efforts Earn Office of Child Development UPSIDE Award

UPSIDE Award presentation

Pamela Connelly and Kathy W. Humphrey formally presented the honor to OCD’s senior leadership. From left are: Connelly; Shannon Wanless, associate director, OCD; Valerie Kinloch, the Renee and Richard Goldman dean of the School of Education; Groark, co-director, OCD; Robert B. McCall, co-director, OCD; Roberta A. Luxnacher, chair of the affirmative action and diversity and inclusion committee of Pitt’s Board of Trustees; and Humphrey.

The Office of Child Development (OCD) has been awarded the 2017 Chancellor’s University Prize for Strategic Inclusive and Diverse Excellence (UPSIDE) Award. Formerly known as the Chancellor’s Affirmative Action Award, the honor acknowledges programs that increase access to and full participation in all aspects of the University by minorities, women and people in other protected classes.

Part of the School of Education, the Office of Child Development is dedicated to improving the lives of children, youth and families through providing opportunities to develop in safe and supportive environments. It pursues this goal through collaborations within both the University and the broader regional community. The OCD was established in 1986 and is one of the first University-community engagement units in the nation.

“The Office of Diversity and Inclusion applauds the work of the Office of Child Development and is delighted to recognize it through the UPSIDE Award,” said Pamela Connelly, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion. “The breath of OCD’s programming and services, as well as its significant community outreach efforts, bring people together both inside and outside of the University.  The OCD’s focus on student academic and social development, educator preparation and development and community engagement, each with a focus on diversity, continues to shape the discussion on what it means to be an inclusive community.”

The OCD conducts large-scale, research-based projects that focus on improving the health, education and welfare of children, mostly from under-resourced populations and other protected classes. Last year, the organization released Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education: Understanding P.R.I.D.E. in Pittsburgh, a large-scale study exploring methods for building positive racial self-perceptions in children from underrepresented populations. The findings were unveiled by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Kathy W. Humphrey, Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for engagement and chief of staff, during a media event in April 2016. Earlier this year, OCD launched the Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education (PRIDE) Program, a three-year campaign to support the development of young African-American children’s positive racial identity.

“The research and University partnerships that the OCD has created and developed show a consistent record of commitment and success in diversity and inclusion efforts within the University,” said Connelly.

Other notable projects serving diverse communities throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania that OCD manages and supports:

  • An Early Head Start program, which has been providing child development and support services to regional communities for more than 20 years; the program currently has more than 300 families enrolled.
  • Partnerships for Family Support, a program providing professional development and technical assistance to a consortium of 27 local family support centers.
  • Planning, evaluation and communications support for the multi-organization collaboration Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health), which works to promote the wellness of children by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects of their development.”

“It has been a privilege to serve an organization that devotes itself to enriching the lives of vulnerable children and their families in unique ways, from translating research to practice to partnering with community professionals. This includes families from diverse races and ethnic groups,” said Christina J. Groark, co-director of the OCD. “Our work attempts to bring tangible and lasting changes to those we serve. We are honored to receive this recognition from the University of Pittsburgh.”

The UPSIDE Award is given annually by Pitt’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Former recipients of the award have included the School of Education’s Center for Urban Education and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences BRIDGES program (2016), the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity Program (CEED) (2014), Swanson School’s Department of Bioengineering (2013), and the Pitt-Greensburg President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity Affairs (2012).


Anthony M. Moore,, 412-624-8252


Filed under: Feature,Volume 50 Issue 7

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