Kevin L. Clay, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Foundations of Education

Kevin L. Clay, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. in Educational Theory, Organization, and Policy, Rutgers University
  • M.Ed. in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education, Rutgers University
  • B.A. in psychology, sociology minor (magna cum laude), Kean University

Research interests

Critical Black Studies in Education, local change theory and praxis, critical/political education, youth political identity, urban (educational) policy reform

Career highlights

  • Robert Curvin Postdoctoral Fellowship, Rutgers University-Newark (2018-2019)
  • National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2017)
  • United Negro College Fund, Frederick D. Patterson Research Fellowship (2016)

Recent publications/projects

  • Clay, K.L. and Rubin, B.C. (2019). “I look deep into this stuff because it’s a part of me”: Toward a critically relevant civics education. Theory and Research in Social Education.
  • Clay, K.L. (2019). Education for what and whom?: The paradoxical nature of an Upward Bound program. In G. Conchas, B. Hinga, Abad, M. N., and K. Gutiérrez (Eds.), The Complex Web of Inequality in North American Schools: Investigating Educational Policies for Social Justice. London, England: Routledge.
  • Clay, K.L. (2019). “Despite the odds”: Unpacking the politics of black resilience neoliberalism. American Educational Research Journal, 56(1), 75-110. DOI: 10.3102/0002831218790214.
  • Williams, K., Burt, B.A., Clay, K.L., and Bridges, B. (2019). Stories Untold: Counter-Narratives to Anti- Blackness and Deficit-Oriented Discourse Concerning HBCUs. American Educational Research Journal. DOI: 10.3102/0002831218802776.


Dr. Kevin L. Clay’s program of research interrogates the ideological and material forces that shape urban (educational) policy and politics, youth political identity development, youth activism, and civic/political education. To this end, his research also includes inquiries into worldviews held by educational leaders and other stakeholders in Black/underserved educational spaces, particularly in relation to questions concerning how leaders and stakeholders theorize local change. This work draws on afro-pessimist, materialist, and de-colonial social theories to understand the ways in which poor youth, Black youth, and youth of color, experience, refuse, disrupt, internalize, and challenge material and ideological subjugation in dispossessed communities.

Curriculum Vitae

(804) 828-3738 [main number for Department of Foundations of Education]