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Loyola launches Center for Equity, Leadership, and Social Justice in Education and names its director

Qi Shi, Ph.D., LCPC, associate professor of school counseling

Loyola University Maryland’s School of Education is establishing a new Center for Equity, Leadership, and Social Justice in Education to advance education and embrace and uplift multi-racial and multicultural human rights.

The Center will serve as a hub for research and engaged scholarship, which advocates for and amplifies the collective voices of educators, community members, students, and allies through a forum of professional learning, political action, and community empowerment.

Qi Shi, Ph.D., LCPC, associate professor of school counseling, will serve as the director for the Center beginning on July 1, 2022.

“At Loyola, we need to be strategic in thinking about how we can push the impactful work we do to the next level, and the Center connects Loyola’s strengths in a focused, mission-driven way,” said Afra Hersi, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education. “It elevates our existing work, brings our partners to the table, and allows us to lean into our commitment to be anchored in Baltimore. Dr. Shi brings a strong background in scholarship, research, and grant writing, as well as an understanding of how to partner with faculty peers and the community to bring about meaningful change.”

The Center will cultivate and strengthen sustainable partnerships with the community so that research can be conducted in ways that can have deeper and more meaningful impact. Embracing a research-practice partnership model, the Center is designed to be participatory and collaborative, while valuing and advancing equity, diversity, and antiracism in its work.

“Through the Center, we can start housing faculty members under this space and provide supports to help them get grants to conduct research with local community partners,” Shi said. “We will be able to have a greater influence on the larger community by providing opportunities for mentoring and collaborative research across academic departments—and within the community.”

Faculty are collaborating on initiatives related to the Baltimore Story curriculum project, the LEAD Model, and the Esperanza Center, with others to be added to the Center’s portfolio in the near future.

“The School of Education is uniquely situated to be a leader in the mission work of the University,” Hersi said. “We pride ourselves on this with our commitment to teaching excellence and social justice, but the sustainability of this work is key in this post-pandemic world—and centering this work as a core part of what we do is essential. Through the Center, we are elevating that faculty excellence and creating a hub that becomes an engine where we can grow and more fully connect and collaborate with the community—and with each other.”

Shi, who came to Loyola in 2013 as an assistant professor, earned her B.A. in English from Beijing International Studies University, M.S. in School Counseling from Drake University, and her Ph.D., in Counselor Education from The George Washington University.

Shi’s research interests include the role of school counselors in personal, social, and academic development of underrepresented student populations in K-12 schools, broadening the participation for immigrant youth and English Language Learners in science, technology, engineering, and math majors and careers, and school counseling profession’s development in international contexts.

“We already have many faculty who are doing great projects and really benefiting youth in Baltimore City and Maryland public schools,” Shi said. “Our amazing faculty are engaged in fieldwork through training, professional development, teaching, and research in different channels to help the community. A lot of exciting work is going on. Now we’re trying to create a structure to collaborate and share this work more broadly.”

During her time at Loyola, Shi has worked on developing partnerships with local community agencies to provide Loyola school counseling students with early exposure/experiential learning opportunities to work with immigrant youth and English Learners in Baltimore.

Shi is currently working on a project funded by the National Science Foundation to examine Latina English Learners’ interest development, access and persistence in STEM. She has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters over the past 12 years.

Shi serves as the associate editor for the Journal of School-Based Counseling Policy and Evaluation (JSCPE), the official journal of the International Society for Policy Research and Evaluation in School-Based Counseling (ISPRESC). Shi is also on the research board and serves as an institutional lead for the Baltimore Education Research Consortium (BERC), a partnership between Baltimore City Public Schools with universities in Maryland.

To learn more about the Center, visit