Research seminar: October 07, 2022

Developing communities of practice in early childhood to promote justice and equity

October 7, 2022


Shannon B. Wanless, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Director of the Office of Child Development
University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Shannon Beth Wanless began her career as a YMCA Summer Camp Director and a Head Start Teacher. She worked in urban and rural settings, and with children whose families showed incredible resilience in the face of the never-ending challenges of being refugees or being undocumented in the U.S.

She earned a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Michigan, a doctoral degree in Human Development and Family Sciences at Oregon State University and a post-doctorate with the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching & Learning (CASTL) at the University of Virginia. During that time Shannon was a Fulbright scholar for one year in Taiwan and researched the ways that social-emotional skills and self-regulation develop in a collectivist culture.

Shannon is now the Director of the Office of Child Development, a large university-community partnership center in the School of Education, that is focused on ensuring that all children thrive. For more news about the Office of Child Development, visit or like it on Facebook.

Having been in Pittsburgh for almost a decade now, Shannon continues to focus on young child’s development and the adults that help them thrive. Her current work is on social justice and equity (SJ&E). She explores ways that children, preservice teachers, and organizational leaders develop SJ&E skills and how to create classroom, school, and organizational climates that reflect SJ&E tenets. Shannon currently teaches Attentional Teaching Practices (ATP), PSYED 1004, which is part of the CASE program for early childhood preservice teachers.