Research News

Jumpstart Conference to explore intersection of racial justice work, education research Aug. 1

The Initiative for Race Research and Justice at Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development will host its third virtual Jumpstart Conference on Aug. 1, 2022, bringing together researchers on race from both inside and outside the field of education. The theme of this year’s event is racial justice work in the midst of policies and practices designed to maintain inequity. 

“RRJ is committed to bridging research and practice,” said H. Richard Milner IV, founding director and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Education at Peabody College. “It is not enough for us to collect data and write about those data for the benefit of other researchers. Rather, RRJ is committed to helping people in the trenches doing the work of racial justice improve their work, drawing from high-quality research.”

H. Richard Milner IV
H. Richard Milner IV

RRJ’s work is organized around three main focal areas: (1) conducting high-quality research on race, (2) using new and expanded knowledge to improve practices, policies, society and the overall human condition, and (3) sharing and disseminating knowledge, resources and tools in collaboration with communities, organizations and institutions for racial justice. 

This year’s event will feature keynote lectures from Gholdy Muhammad, associate professor of literacy, language and culture at the University of Illinois Chicago; D-L Stewart, professor and chair of the higher education department at the University of Denver; and Cheryl Matias, professor and director of secondary teacher education at the University of Kentucky. Participants also will be able to engage in smaller, workshop-style breakout sessions designed to bolster  knowledge and understanding of issues that promote racial justice. 

RRJ has organized and held two previous national conferences. In 2019, RRJ brought together more than 1,400 people virtually to hear keynote addresses from Bettina Love, Marc Lamont Hill and Gloria Ladson-Billings. The 2020 Jumpstart Conference featured Alora Young, youth poet laureate of the Southern U.S., and keynote addresses from Tyrone Howard, Lori Patton-Davis and Geneva Gay.  

For more information and to register for this year’s event, visit the 2022 Jumpstart Conference site. 

Update: Participants in the 2022 Jumpstart Conference are now being offered an opportunity to apply conference themes to their professional practice by earning a certificate and 2 CEUs equivalent to 20 clock hours. Those who enroll in the certificate program will be given a “Jumpstart Toolkit” to guide critical reflection during the conference, followed by six workshops designed to extend conference themes to participants’ professional contexts and develop action-based strategies to ameliorate inequities where participants work, teach, and learn. To register for the conference, visit, and to learn more about the certificate, email