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About Brenda L. Townsend Walker

Dr. Brenda L. Walker is a Professor in Exceptional Student Education at the University of South Florida and Director of the CAROUSEL Center. In 1995, she developed Project PILOT, the first of several initiatives that prepared African American men for urban special education teaching careers. As a result of that initiative, 31 African American men have graduated and are teaching children with special needs. Dr. Walker is also the director of a federal outreach and technical assistance project that enhances the urban school research capacity of faculty and graduate students in minority institutions.
She co-authored a constructive behavior management text and has several book chapters and papers on schooling issues related to African American children. Her scholarship also centers on the disciplinary practices to which African American learners are disproportionately subjected, issues around ethics, power, and privilege, and strategies for African American students with academic gifts and talents. In sum, Dr. Walker has delivered myriad presentations and workshops for teachers, administrators, and family members on enhancing African American students' success by affirming their individual and cultural differences and developing culturally responsive pedagogy.


Present Interim Associate Dean; Professor, University of South Florida St. Petersburg College of Education



2001 - 2010 Linking Academic Scholars to Educational Resources (LASER)
Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
Role: Project Director
2001 - 2007 Project PILOT support
USF Provost’s Office
2001 - 2005 Engaging Cross-cultural Leaders in Preparation for Special Education (ECLIPSE)
Role: Principal Investigator
2001 - 2005 Teaching and Reaching Urban Students Together (TRUST)
Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
Role: Project Director (2001-2002)
2001 - 2003 University of South Florida: Students, Teachers and Resources in the Sciences (STARS)
National Science Foundation
Colleague(s): Drs. Geoffrey Okogbaa, Tapas Cas, Centeno, Martin-Vega, and Cathy Blaire
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Honors and Awards

  • Joel Augustus Rogers Unsung Hero Award in Education, National Association of Colored People (NAACP) (February, 2019)
  • Hillsborough County Martin Luther King Drum Major for Justice Award (December, 2018)
  • Allen Temple Image Award, Creative Writing (2018)
  • National Association of Social Workers (Tampa Bay Chapter) Public Citizen of the Year (2007)
  • USF Kente Award (2004)
  • USF President’s Faculty Excellence Award (2003)
  • CEC’s Teacher Education Division-Distinguished Leadership Award (2001)
  • Council for Children with Behavior Disorders Service Award (2001)
  • Outstanding Service in Student Diversity Award (2000)
  • Research and Creative Scholarship Award (1997-1998)
  • McKnight Junior Faculty Fellowship Award (1994-1995)
  • USF McNair Scholars Program Role-Model Mentor Award (1995-2001)
  • Faculty International Travel Grant (1995)
  • USF Author’s Award (1994-1995)
  • Research and Creative Scholarship Award (1993-1994)
  • Florida Association of Multicultural Education Trailblazer Award (2001)
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (1998)
  • Ida S. Baker Distinguished Minority Educator Recognition Award (1997)
  • Teaching Incentive Program Award (1996)


2004 - 2006 JD, Stetson University ‐ College of Law
1988 - 1991 PhD, University of Kansas ‐ Behavior Disorders and Learning Disabilities
1980 - 1984 MA, Central Michigan University ‐ Emotional-Impairment
1971 - 1975 BS, Central Michigan University ‐ Psychology

Books & Book Chapters (8)

Peer Reviewed Articles (17)