Dr. Lakia Scott, Assistant Professor in the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum & Instruction, received the Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching / Tenure-Track Faculty. She began teaching at Baylor in 2014 and is an expert in literacy, urban education, and in the social, cultural, and political influences on educational practices and schooling. She received tenure this spring, so her title will change to Associate Professor this summer, and she also becomes Graduate Program Director for the department in May.
“Her peers and students recognize Dr. Scott’s prowess as an outstanding teacher,” said Dr. Brooke Blevins, Associate Professor, department chair, and Conwell G. Strickland Endowed Chair. “She has a unique ability to capture the interest of her students and push them to think about new possibilities. Dr. Scott has amazing commitment to preparing teachers and educational leaders who will respond to the new reality of education — a reality of diversity, innovation, and rapid global change.”
Scott said she is deeply honored to receive the award, because teaching is one of the noblest professions. Her teaching philosophy is one of inclusiveness and positivity.
“I believe everyone should give their best effort, bring positive energy, and be mindful of serving others, so I try to embody that,” Scott said. “I want students to feel they can be authentic in my classroom, and I want them to feel passionate about showing up to class as their authentic selves. I want to know how they truly feel, and I honor their voice. There will obviously be dissenting voices in any discussion, but the classroom needs to be a safe place. Then students can be more transparent and vulnerable, and that creates community.”
Erin Casey Wood, a 2017 master’s graduate, said Scott’s class made her feel exactly that way. “Dr. Scott deserves this award, because she did what every teacher strives to do but often struggles to achieve — she created a class experience that allowed us to feel safe and comfortable with grappling, questioning, and reforming what we thought we knew into knowledge that we could take and apply to life outside of the classroom,” she said. “She listens to her students’ voices, hears and responds to what we ask to learn about, and continues to support us even after the class is over.”
Scott is also dedicated to research, and her publications have most recently focused on examining educational access, opportunity, and equity for traditionally minoritized student populations. Her background in literacy education intersects with this in the study of multi-cultural literature and culturally affirming literacy strategies.
Scott is the founder of Baylor Freedom Schools for the Waco area. Freedom Schools is a program of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), and the Baylor program launched in 2017 in collaboration with Waco ISD. Focusing on literacy and including STEM and character-building activities, Freedom Schools is held for several weeks in the summer months, and Scott’s research showed that it was effective in preventing summer learning loss in participants. The Baylor program has not been able to meet in 2020-21 because of COVID.
Scott’s service activities on campus have included working to promote the recruitment and retention of first-generation college students, serving as advisor to the multi-cultural student organization ROOTS, and service on the Campus Diversity Committee and the President’s Diversity Council. In 2018, she received the Baylor Diversity Enhancement Award.
Scott earned her PhD in Curriculum & instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, a master of education from Prairie View A&M University, and a bachelor of arts from Texas Southern University. She is the co-author of books on culturally affirming literacy practices and the future of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and is currently working on a book about her insights from leading Freedom Schools.
She is the director of the Baylor in Ghana Mission Trip, and she has led the SOE’s Spring Break study-abroad trip to Queretaro, Mexico, through the Carpenter Embedded Global Classroom.
Scott is one of three School of Education faculty members to receive a Baylor Outstanding Faculty Award for 2021. Dr. Stephanie Gerow received the Outstanding Faculty Award for Research for tenure-track faculty, and Dr. Laila Sanguras received the Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching for non-tenure-track faculty.
For more than 100 years, Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, leaders in K12 and higher education, psychologists, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice. Visit www.baylor.edu/SOE to learn more.
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