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Katherine E. L. Norris

Katherine E. L. Norris

Department Chair

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • School of Education



Dr. Katherine Norris serves as the chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Howard University. She has an extensive background in education championing equity and justice in education. Prior to joining the faculty at Howard, Dr. Norris served as a professor of Early Childhood Education at West Chester University of Pennsylvania teaching in the undergraduate and graduate programs for the Department of Early and Middle Grades Education for over 14 years. At West Chester, she also served as assistant chair and interim associate dean for the College of Education. Dr. Norris was the principal investigator for a grant awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education that focused on diversifying the teacher pipeline through a multicultural dual enrollment program. Dr. Norris has a strong background of curriculum and program development with a strong emphasis on developing online courses. In 2020, Dr. Norris was awarded the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Multicultural Education’s Multicultural Leader of the Year Award for her leadership in multicultural issues in education. In 2021, Dr. Norris was awarded West Chester University’s campus diversity award, and in 2022 she received the Drum Major for Justice Alumni Award at West Chester University. Dr. Norris co-edited a textbook Social Justice and Parent Partnerships in Multicultural Education Contexts which was recognized by IGI as a critical core reference text. Her areas of research focus are diversity in education, multicultural children’s literature, and creating home and school partnerships between diverse families, schools, and communities.

Dr. Norris serves as the faculty advisor for Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society here at Howard. She was selected to serve on. the Association of Teacher Educator's Inquiry Initiative which focuses on closing the opportunity gap in education. Dr. Norris was elected to serve on the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education's Taskforce on Diversifying the Teacher Workforce. Dr. Norris serves on the International Society for Technology in Education's Digital Equity Committee. 

Before joining higher education full time, Dr. Norris taught for the Philadelphia Public School System for over eighteen years.  Norris received her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from West Chester University, her Master’s in Reading from Saint Joseph’s University, and her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction/Language Arts and Technology in Education from Temple University.

Education & Expertise


Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education

West Chester University

Master of Science in Education/Reading Specialist

Saint Joseph's University

Doctorate in Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology in Education (Literacy)

Temple University




EDUC 100 Orientation & Pre-Professional Seminar

This course is a prerequisite for matriculation in the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education program. It is designed to orient potential candidates to the University, to the School of Education, and to the elementary education program. A variety of individual and small group reflections, discussions, activities, simulations, etc. will provide students with a critical look at the teaching profession. Students will have an opportunity to assess or reassess their desire, dispositions, and suitability for teaching diverse elementary school children. Students must satisfactorily complete the 1-credit orientation/seminar no later than the end of the first semester of their freshman year. Undergraduate

EDUC 323 - Literacy Assessment & Instructional Frameworks in Urban, Elem Schools

This course provides pre-service/in-service candidates with knowledge, skills, and dispositions to assess and support the literacy development of African American and diverse learners in grades 1-6 in urban settings. Candidates will engage in practical experiences for diagnosing, monitoring, preventing, and remediating literacy difficulties using a range of formal and informal reading assessments. Emphasis on asset-based theories and applications will provide candidates with instructional approaches for enhancing literacy achievement.


Related Articles

Norris, K. and Martin, G. (2021). Creating an elementary to college education pipeline through a university-school-community partnership

Higher education institutions are in a great position to create authentic programming to support local underfunded or underperforming public school districts. This article gives an overview of an education outreach collaborative between a 4-year public university, local schools, and a community institution and highlights lessons learned from the project. This community outreach program emphasizes literacy, social justice, and college preparation. It consists of a fifth grade literacy program, a high school tutoring and mentoring program, and a scholarship program for precollege students, all situated within a local public school system. Literature reviewed shows how collaborative projects can be utilized to support community outreach programs using university resources. Preliminary results from impact measures show positive outcomes among program participants. The program can be replicated in similarly situated university–school–community collaboratives.

Norris, Katherine. (2020). Using the read-aloud and picture books for social justice

With the growing demographics of diversity in our elementary schools, teachers need to be prepared to teach social justice and equity in the classroom. This article offers tips for addressing topics of diversity from a social justice perspective through the use of picture books during read-aloud time.

Marshall, P., Norris, K. and Baker, A. (2021). Toward people-to-people understandings in short-term international travel: critical race reflections on four encounters in Cuba

This paper details four encounters we experienced while traveling in Cuba as part of a multiethnic delegation of US social justice advocates. The encounters were linked by a common thread of race, which made them noteworthy and uncomfortably familiar to us as Black women. Since our return to the US, we have reflected on the four encounters and concluded that, as a collective, they reinforce a lesson and highlight a fundamental challenge that is at the core of the work of all critical multicultural and social justice educators.

Norris, Katherine. (2023) Investing in the Critical Work of Equity in Early Education Settings

This article is geared to Early Childhood practitioners as they begin to think about equity in their early learning classrooms. The article explores ways to evaluate classroom materials, settings, and curriculua through an equity lens. There is a focus on instructional practices through an asset based pedagogy in early childhood classrooms. 

Norris, Katherine E. L., Collier, Shartriya (2018). Social Justice and Parent Partnerships in Multicultural Education Contexts

"Social Justice and Parent Partnerships in Multicultural Education Contexts" is a critical scholarly resource that explores the importance of cooperation between parents, teachers, and administrators to create valuable support systems that will promote student success through strategies using social justice. Featuring coverage on a wide range of topics, such as parent collaboration, bilingualism, and community-based partnerships, this book is geared toward academicians, researchers, and teachers seeking current research on the importance of cooperation between parents and education professionals in encouraging positive student outcomes in multicultural learning environments.