Stanley C. Trent has received the 2015 Outstanding Curry Professor Award from the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education Foundation in recognition of his exemplary professional stature, teaching, research and service.
Trent is associate professor of education in the Curry School of Education’s teacher preparation program, where he teaches undergraduate courses in foundations of teaching and graduate courses in diversity and equity in education. He has also taught courses in the special education program. He joined the faculty in 1997.
Early in his career, Trent challenged the traditional view of special education that viewed culturally and linguistically diverse students through a deficit lens that defines educational difficulties solely within children and ignores contextual factors influencing their achievement. His 1994 paper on the over-representation of minority students in special education, written with Curry School alumnus Alfredo Artiles, is the most-cited article in the history of The Journal of Special Education. It is now required reading in many special education courses across the country.
The paper reporting on his Spencer Foundation funded study of at-risk minority students placed in inclusive classrooms in an urban school was named the outstanding publication of 2002 by The Journal of Teacher Education and Special Education.
“Stan remains strongly committed to correcting what many of us view as a major injustice in American schools,” said Bill McDiarmid, dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Education, “the disproportionate assignment of minority students—especially African-American males—to special education and their exclusion from regular classrooms. As much as any scholar over the past two decades, he has raised the awareness of educators and policymakers about this issue.”
For five years Trent directed the Center of Minority Research in Special Education, which provided support to faculty from historically black colleges to compete for research funding. The Center was funded with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. More recently, in 2014 Trent collaborated on a $1 million grant from the U.S. DOE for a program to boost the pipeline of early childhood special education professors.
From 2007 to 2010 Trent served as the Curry School’s first assistant dean for diversity and equity and was prior to that a member of Curry’s Diversity Committee. He has also brought the entire school together around important, mind-broadening ideas by founding the annual Curry Common Read initiative, which is now in its fourth year.
Trent received his bachelor of science degree from Virginia State University in 1977, his master of education degree from Temple University in 1979 and his doctor of philosophy degree in education from the Curry School of Education in 1992.
He will receive his award September 10 at a Curry School of Education dinner.