Clark-Woodson Research Fellowship

About The Clark-Woodson Research Fellowship

The Clark-Woodson Research Fellowship is named after two pioneering Black educators – Septima Clark and Carter G. Woodson. Both educators were committed to using education as the instrument for the liberation of Black people.

Clark-Woodson Fellows will have the opportunity to support BTC’s research agenda in service of fostering Black liberatory education for Black students, while simultaneously advancing their own scholarship. Fellows will be offered a one year award of $60,000 and an additional $5,000 research budget. BTC seeks to advance our understanding of Black liberatory education by fostering research that will help us refine our understanding of the Black liberatory educational experience in service of Black children.

Fellows will work closely with a dynamic group of people with diverse backgrounds as researchers and practitioners on the BTC Program and Innovation and the Research and Policy teams. In the pilot year (2022-2023) of this initiative, Clark-Woodson Fellows will serve as an extension of the BTC family assisting with the design and development of programs and research. Fellows can participate in this fellowship while maintaining a full-time role elsewhere.

'22-23 Clark-Woodson Research Scholar-In-Residence

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad

Dr. Gholdy Muhammad

University of Illinois Chicago

Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad is an Associate Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Muhammad studies Black historical excellence within educational communities to reframe today’s curriculum and instruction. Dr. Muhammad has also received numerous national awards and is the author of the best-selling book, Cultivating Genius: An Equity Model for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. Many school districts across the United States have adopted the responsive (HILL) educational model. Dr. Muhammad’s scholarship has appeared in leading academic journals and books.

In 2022, Dr. Muhammad was named among the top 1% Edu-Scholar Public Influencers, recognized as the 200th university-College of Education Researcher of the Year, the 2020 American Educational Research Association (AERA), Division K Early Career Award, and the 2021 NCTE Outstanding Elementary Educator in the English Language Arts. Dr. Muhammad has led a federal grant with the United States Department of Education to study culturally and historically responsive literacy in STEM classrooms.

Dr. Muhammad continues to study Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy in hopes that all children will experience a robust and joyful education.

'22-23 Clark-Woodson Research Fellows

Asif Wilson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Social Studies Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Dr. Wilson’s research broadly focuses on justice-centered pedagogies in P-20 educational contexts. More specifically, Dr. Wilson’s scholarship explores how policies and social movement organizing shape justice-centered pedagogies, how teachers engage in, and conceptualize, justice-centered pedagogies, and how students experience justice-centered educational spaces. Dr. Wilson is a three-time alumnus from the University of Illinois Chicago, completing his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, master’s degree in Educational Studies, and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Wilson is actively involved in education organizing in Chicago and nationally with several groups.

Dr. Asif Wilson

Dr. Asif Wilson

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Kisha Porcher

Dr. Kisha Porcher

University of Delaware

Kisha Porcher, Ph. D. is an assistant professor who teaches English Education. Dr. Porcher served as a former high school English Language Arts teacher, International Baccalaureate Coordinator, Senior Educational Consultant and Assistant Professor of Professional Practice. Dr. Porcher holds a B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Spelman College, M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Teachers College Columbia University, and Ph.D in Teaching and Teacher Education from George Mason University. Dr. Porcher’s research focuses on three distinct interrelated areas: 1) archeology of the self (Sealey-Ruiz, 2019) as foundational to teaching and learning 2) exploration of assets and conditions of Black & Brown students and communities 3) centering Blackness in community-engaged learning and teaching.

Fellowship Responsibilities

  • Act as principal investigator or co-investigator on a research project to produce two (2) case studies on Black liberatory schools
  • Write and prepare a publication-ready systematic literature review (SLR) on one of the following topics:
    • the needs of Black liberatory pedagogy in the Black education experience
    • the literacy experiences and outcomes of Black children in X grade band
    • the mathematics experiences and outcomes of Black children in Y grade band
  • Contribute at least one co-authored education-focused publication in collaboration with BTC (building on case studies & SLRs)
  • Collaborate with the Program and Innovation (P&I) and Research and Policy (RaP) teams, to define a strategy to sustain and scale the Clark-Woodson Research Fellowship
  • Collaborate with the P&I team to apply research and literature review outcomes to developing ideas for programming
  • Plan and facilitate at least one (1) classroom strategy workshop designed for classroom K-12 teachers of Humanities or STEM courses
  • Share insights and contribute to the development of solutions on the P&I team
  • Advance BTCs research agenda by actively collaborating with members of the RaP team


Septima Poinsette Clark was a teacher and civil rights activist who, after teaching in South Carolina’s Black public schools, developed a citizen education program linking literacy to political empowerment through the Highlander Folk School. She lost her public school teaching job because of her refusal to relinquish membership in the NAACP and end her court battles for teacher pay equity for Black teachers and desegregation. Clark was a key figure in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) as they used her citizen education model in their work to advance voting rights.

An advocate for intellectualism and self-determination, Septima Clark said, “We need to be taught to study rather than believe, to inquire rather than to affirm.”

Carter G. Woodson

Carter G. Woodson was an educator and scholar committed to documenting and celebrating the history of Black people and Black culture. Woodson’s seminal work, The Mis-Education of the Negro, focused on Black self-deterimination and intellectual self-empowerment. This fellowship is rooted in their enduring legacies of fierce commitment to Black education and scholarship for and about Black children.

Woodson said “…every man has two educators: ‘that which is given to him, and the other that which he gives himself. Of the two kinds the latter is by far the more desirable. Indeed all that is most worthy in man he must work out and conquer for himself. It is that which constitutes our real and best nourishment. What we are merely taught seldom nourishes the mind like that which we teach ourselves.”

Image Credits: Bob Fitch photography archive, © Stanford University Libraries, Library of Congress

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