Practice & Research Centers

As a professional school, Penn GSE strives to integrate theory and practice. Our faculty members are engaged both locally and globally and their scholarship has contributed to research, policy, and practice in West Philadelphia and throughout the world. Here are some examples.


PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth)

Dr. Howard Stevenson has consistently used scholarship to inform his intervention work. For example, his PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth) program focuses on racial identity, social and emotional development, conflict resolution, and violence prevention. The program is being implemented and studied in West Philadelphia middle and high schools.

Read more about PLAAY.

PEDAL@GSE (Practical English for Daily Living)

PEDAL@GSE (Practical English for Daily Living) was established in September 2012 under the guidance of Dr. Santoi Wagner. PEDAL offers free English as a Second language classes to adult family members of international students, scholars, and postdocs at the University of Pennsylvania. The classes are taught by Master’s students from the TESOL Program in the Educational Linguistics Division at GSE.

Read more about PEDAL @ GSE.

The Center on Minority Serving Institutions

The Center on Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania houses research, best practices as well as creative and innovative ideas for MSI’s. With strong sponsor backing, the center is able to support researchers, policymakers, funders, and students to call attention to the strengths and challenges these institutions face. The Center's founder and Director is Dr. Marybeth Gasman.

Read more about the Center on Minority Serving Institutions.

PACE (Programs for Awareness in Cultural Education)

PACE (Programs for Awareness in Cultural Awareness) is collaboration between Educational Linguistics/Intercultural Communication and the Greenfield Intercultural Center. It was founded in 1993 by Penn GSE student. Its mission is to train students to increase cross-cultural awareness at the University of Pennsylvania.

Read more about PACE.


In May 2014, Dr. Matthew Hartley and Dr. Laura Perna co-founded the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (Penn AHEAD) at Penn GSE. Its mission is to foster equitable and democratic societies through higher education. AHEAD conducts original research and applies a multidisciplinary, research-based approach to address the most pressing issues regarding the societal contributions of higher education in the United States and the world.

Read more about Penn AHEAD.

Racial Empowerment Collaborative

The Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC) is a research, program development, and training center that brings together community leaders, researchers, authority figures, families, and youth to study and promote racial literacy and health in schools and neighborhoods. 

Read more about REC.

HEARD: The Hub for Equity, Anti-Oppression, Research, and Development

Launched in 2018, HEARD’s aim is to draw together members of the Penn GSE community committed to equity and anti-oppression scholarship — and to provide opportunities for continuing learning and research.

Read more about HEARD.