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Jackie Pedota

PhD Candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy, The University of Texas at Austin

About Jackie

Pedota's research focuses on racial equity, diversity initiatives, and organizational change within higher education. Pedota serves as Graduate Research Assistant on a project, funded by the Spencer Foundation, that examines how law-based pressures, such as state legislation targeting curriculum and knowledge production focused on race, shape campus-wide racial inclusion policy and practice.


"Institutionalization of a Latinx Campus Cultural Center: Exploring a Case of Racialized Administrative Burdens Faced by Latinx Staff and Students" Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership (2023).

Examines the racialized administrative burdens faced by Latinx staff and students as a Latinx campus cultural center becomes more integrated into a Predominantly White Institution. Illustrates how Latinx staff navigate organizational policies and procedures while striving to support and retain Latinx students, and encourages leaders to develop student-centered and equity-driven university policies and procedures while addressing additional barriers.

"How Faculty Contend with Threats to Academic Freedom and Racial Inclusion," University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement , 2023.

Examines faculty members’ responses to restrictions on open, robust inquiry and expression at a public four-year university within a state that had proposed or enacted legislation targeting curriculum and knowledge production focused on race. Findings illuminate how even the mere threat of possible legislation can curb faculty efforts, leading to potential negative consequences for racial inclusion within higher education and broader society. Proposes various strategies to facilitate understanding of academic freedom, foster support for Faculty of Color, and promote collective action among stakeholders at public postsecondary institutions.

"COVID-19 Impacts on Mexican American College Student Experiences in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas" (with Reyna M. Flores). Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity 9, no. 1 (2023).

Explores the experiences of Mexican American college students in the Rio Grande Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings suggest that Mexican American students leveraged their regional cultural assets to navigate health disparities, secure income for themselves and their families, and prioritize familial responsibilities while completing virtual coursework during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"How Do University Administrators Respond to Incidents of Hate Speech on Campus?," (with Liliana M. Garces and Evelyn Ambriz), 2023.

Summarizes a study examining how administrators' perceptions of the legal environment shape their actions to undermine racial inclusion at their universities, a dynamic termed "repressive legalism". Proposes potential measures administrators can take to support the physical, emotional, and academic needs of students of color and others who are harmed.

"Legal Challenges to Bias Response Teams on College Campuses" (with Liliana M. Garces and Evelyn Ambriz). Educational Researcher 51, no. 6 (2022): 431-435.

Over the last 3 years, the advocacy organization Speech First has filed six lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of bias response teams on the grounds that they violate free speech. These lawsuits are significant because they have resulted in the dismantling of these committees. In this commentary, authors bring attention to this renewed wave of legal attacks on racial diversity and inclusion policies on college campuses and its implications for race-focused policy, practice, and research.

"'We Need to Be Human': Using Oral Histories of Latino/a Staff and Faculty to Examine Neoliberalism in the Age of COVID-19" US Latina & Latino Oral History Journal 6 (2022).

Explores oral histories of nine Latino/a staff and faculty across diverse roles and institutional types. Findings suggest that the neoliberal higher education system deprioritizes equity and fails to value Latino/a staff and faculty labor contributions in spite of increased responsibilities and personal challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings highlight how a crisis in public health can perpetuate work-related inequities, devalue work, and undermine diversity and equity initiatives in higher education.