Dr. Brenda L.Walker

Dr. Brenda L. Walker is a Professor at the University of South Florida in the College of Education. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree at Central Michigan University in Emotional Impairment. She attained her Doctorate from the University of Kansas in Behavior Disorders and Learning Disabilities. A true proponent of lifelong learning, Dr. Walker also earned her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law. In addition to teacher-education, she is a lawyer interested in civil rights, education, and poverty laws.

Dr. Walker is a product of urban schools in Saginaw, Michigan. She dedicated her career to improving outcomes for children and families in urban and high poverty communities.

While at the University of South Florida, she secured over $10 million in federal funding for a national technical assistance center for HBCUs, Hispanic-serving, and Native American-serving institutions on grant-writing and publication assistance. Her grants also focused on recruiting and retaining students of color to be effective teachers in urban schools. Dr. Walker developed the first successful initiative to recruit and prepare African American men to teach children with behavior disorders in the 1990s and provided research assistantships, tuition, and books to over 40 students enrolled in Ph.D. programs. In deja-vu fashion, she is currently Director of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus Call Me MiSTER initiative to recruit men of color to teach in urban and high poverty elementary and middle schools. She is Principal Investigator on Project RISES, an out-of-school suspension research study and a Co-Principal Investigator on an NSF grant centered on increasing the presence of women of color in the STEM disciplines.

Having served as the President of USF’s Black Faculty and Staff Association and the Co-chair of the USF Committee On Black Affairs, she has mentored numerous junior faculty at USF and around the country to facilitate their attainment of tenure and promotion in the Academy. Dr. Walker’s research and scholarship focus primarily on African American learners and ways that schools can be more culturally responsive, equitable, and effective.

Dr. Walker published a number of journal articles, book chapters, a children’s book, “One Love,” and co-authored a behavior management textbook. Her publications focus specifically on turnaround schools, school suspensions and African American girls, special education overrepresentation, and the school to prison pipeline. Dr. Walker provides service to K-12 schools by delivering motivational and educational speeches and workshops to students, teachers, and principals.