Vanderbilt University Scholar Has Established the “Possibilities Project”

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, has established a new research collaboration focused on generating and sharing evidence-based Black education solutions. The Possibilities Project, under the direction of Chezare Warren, an associate professor of leadership policy and organizations at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development “is an arts-informed knowledge hub committed to improving Black students’ well-being in education and beyond.” The collaborative will serve as both a research laboratory and a convener of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers committed to advancing Black education solutions.

“I’m very much interested in understanding how the concept of possibility is an essential philosophical intervention to guide our efforts to transform Black educational outcomes,” said Dr. Warren. “I also wanted to create a space and infrastructure to think about possibility in innovative ways — to leverage art as a medium for knowledge dissemination, and in doing this work, steadily draw inspiration from the philosophies and orientations of activists in the Black radical tradition.”

The Possibilities Project’s inaugural study, “Examining Anti-Racist Restorative Justice as a Site for Black Educational Transformation: A Possibilities Project Case Study,” is supported by a $150,000 grant from the New Venture Fund. Led by Dr. Warren, the study will examine how high school-aged Black students experience implementation of a new antiracist restorative justice approach to school discipline — a model intended to replace exclusionary discipline practices that often negatively affect Black children and undermine their educational well-being.

Dr. Warren is the author of Centering Possibility in Black Education (Teachers College Press, 2021) and Urban Preparation: Young Black Men Moving from Chicago’s South Side to Success in Higher Education (Harvard Education Press, 2017). He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, where he majored in elementary education. He holds a master’s degree in school leadership from Concordia University in Chicago and a Ph.D. in urban education from the University of Illinois Chicago.

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