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Mica Pollock


Mica Pollock, an anthropologist, is Professor of Education Studies and Director of the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) at the University of California, San Diego. Her newest book is Schooltalk: Rethinking What We Say About –and To – Students Every Day (The New Press).

Pollock’s work explores educators’ key role in daily efforts for antiracism and equality. She pinpoints the key role of language in educators’ work. In projects based in schools, districts, cities, universities, community organizations, and the government, Pollock has explored how people in diverse education communities talk as they try to collaborate in student support. Pollock’s work always asks how diverse education communities can come together to support equity – to develop the full human talents of every young person and all groups of young people, every day.

Pollock’s current work at CREATE explores how networks of conversation partners can leverage a university to create K-20 local opportunities to learn (LOTL).

Pollock’s first book, Colormute: Race Talk Dilemmas in an American School (winner of the 2005 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association), helped readers navigate six core U.S. struggles over talking (and not talking) in racial terms in schools. Because of Race: How Americans Debate Harm and Opportunity in Our Schools (2008) examined the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights as the background for common debates over improving the everyday school experiences of students and families of color. In Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real about Race in School (2008), Pollock organized 70 scholars to write short essays supporting teachers to consider everyday issues of race, opportunity and diversity in their work. Winner of a 2008 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, “EAR” is being used to spark educator inquiry in schools and districts across the country. Pollock also co-edited A Companion to the Anthropology of Education (2012), a comprehensive reference volume on the anthropology of education subfield. In 2009-11, Pollock collaborated with educators, families, young people, and programmers in The OneVille Project in Somerville, MA, a participatory design research project piloting new ways that commonplace technology might help people in a diverse education community to communicate and collaborate in young people's success.

Since 2011, with CREATE colleagues, Pollock has worked to spark new equity conversations in San Diego. At CREATE, she helps to network UCSD's people, resources, and opportunities to the diverse K-12 educators, students, and families of the San Diego region, with the goal of co-creating new opportunities to learn for both students and teachers. Pollock and CREATE colleagues have most recently spearheaded the CREATE STEM Success Initiative (CSSI), a visionary collective effort linking UC San Diego faculty, staff and students and the San Diego education community in a shared effort to support K-20 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education opportunity in the region. Like all of Pollock’s work, the CSSI explores how diverse communities can come together in student support efforts.

All of these experiences, plus nearly two decades of work to support teachers, administrators, and students in diverse settings, provide content for Schooltalk. Pollock has also launched #schooltalking, a Facebook and Twitter-based effort to support equity-minded educators in dialogue and resource-sharing online. 

Pollock's newest effort is #USvsHate, an educator-and youth-led anti-hate messaging project she designed with partners across San Diego.  After an exciting national challenge hosted by Teaching Tolerance of the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2019-20, #USvsHate is continuing to build nationally out of UC San Diego CREATE and Pollock's national group #Schooltalking, in partnership with the National Writing Project.

Pollock previously taught high school in California and worked in the civil rights field. She spent a decade as a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford.

For a list of publications, including downloadable material, see