Assumption Professor Recognized for Research on Racial Bias in the Classroom

Oct. 2, 2019
Jasmin Veerapen ’21
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Cinzia Pica-Smith, Ed.D., associate professor of human services and rehabilitation studies and coordinator of the working with children and adolescents in community settings concentration at Assumption College, has won the 2019 American Educational Studies Association (AESA) Critics’ Choice Book Award  for a book she co-authored, Social Justice Education in European Multi-ethnic Schools: Addressing the Goals of Intercultural Education (Routledge Press). According to the publisher’s website, the book advocates “for a transformative framework [intercultural education] informed in social justice education that aims to promote more equity in schools.”

Social Justice Education in European Multi-ethnic Schools addresses the multi-ethnic society in Europe, which is “experiencing a rise of anti-immigration, racist, xenophobic discourses, and right-wing political rhetoric and movements proposing legislation to further solidify structural inequality and institutionalized systems of oppression that fuel educational inequities.”  Prof. Pica-Smith and her co-authors take “an in-depth look at how these challenges are being addressed (or not addressed) in educational contexts and in the proposed framework of intercultural education adopted as a conceptual and educational framework by the European Union over the last two decades.”

According to the organization’s website, “each year, a committee of AESA members selects a number of titles it regards as outstanding books that may be of interest to those in educational studies.” These books are designated with the Critics’ Choice Award, which “serves to recognize and increase awareness of recent scholarship deemed to be outstanding in its field and of potential interest to members of the Association.”

Prof. Pica-Smith has contributed to a number of publications and presentations in this past decade, and was a recipient of a Distinguished Paper Award by the American Educational Research Association for her article about underrepresented youth targeted by race, class, and gender. Last fall, she presented at a TEDx event in Easthampton about interracial friendships in schools, how educators can contribute to this change, and why dedicating one day to diversity is not enough for reducing ongoing prejudice. Her research was also featured on National Public Radio in July.

Prof. Pica-Smith will be recognized with the award for her research at the Business Meeting at the Annual Meeting of AESA in Baltimore from Oct. 30-Nov. 3.