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Zakia Y. Gates, PhD

Assistant Professor of Teacher Education

Zakia Y. Gates, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education. In 2015, she joined Cabrini University as an adjunct instructor and taught courses between the Teacher Education program and Educational Policy and Leadership program. She joined the Cabrini University family as a full-time faculty member in August 2018.  She teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in Foundations in Education, Pre-K–12 Assessment in the Inclusive Classroom, Teaching Social Studies and Social Justice, Family, School and Community, Socio-Cultural Foundations in Education and Philosophical Foundations in Education.  
Prior to joining the Cabrini University family, Gates taught in the K–12 charter school context and was the Director of Education and Education Specialist for a juvenile facility working with at-risk youth.   
Gates research interest includes creating frameworks for diverse learners in undergraduate and graduate-level courses where her learners are able to develop a social justice lens where they critically examine racial, cultural, social and political issues in the  Pre-K–12 context of education. 
“In order to really use social justice in my courses, I create safe spaces for students to be able to voice their perspectives about education, but to also help them be cognizant on how our social positionality shapes and influences our biases and assumptions about our students in the Pre-K–12 context," said Gates.  
She strives to prepare and enhance pre-service teachers and teacher professionals to become culturally responsive educators who use research-based instructional strategies for the populations that they will teach.  
Gates received her doctorate in Professional Studies in K–12 Education from Capella University and her master’s and bachelor’s degree in education from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of American Educational Research Association and the Association of Black Women in Higher Education.


  • 2022. Panelist for Race in America Part II. 
  • 2022. Panelist for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day for “Beloved Community”
  • 2021 Keynote Speaker: Neumann University, Title: Where Do We Go From Here? : Awareness to Action, April 22, 2021.
  • 2020 Presenter at the Equity Conference Series, Title: Social Injustice in Classrooms: How to De-Colonize Race Induced Trauma in Education Settings. 
  • 2020 Co-Presenter at the African American Resource Center (AARC) University of Pennsylvania, Title: How Racism Became the Real Pandemic. 
  • 2020 Panelist, Race in America 
  • 2019 Co-Presenter at the 53rd Annual Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education Convocation, Norfolk, VA, Title:  The Illusion of Power and Progress: Intentional Barriers Designed for Minority Female Scholars in the Academy. 
  • 2019 Co-Presenter at the ABWHE National Conference, Saint Catherine University, Minneapolis, MN, Title: The Illusion of Power and Progress: Intentional Barriers Designed for Minority Female Scholars in the Academy
  • 2019 Presenter at the Teaching and Learning Symposium, Neumann University, Title: Using Social Justice Framework as a Lens of Empowerment in the K-12 Context
  • 2019 Co-Presenter at the Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education: Title: The Illusion of Power and Progress: Intentional Barriers Designed for Minority Female Scholars of Color. 
  • 2018 Presenter at Diversity Day at Norristown High School: Title Using Social Justice as a Lens of Empowerment in Higher Education
  • 2017 Co-Presenter at the 38th Annual Ethnography Conference, University of Pennsylvania. Title: Culturally Relevant Pedagogical Practices using Math Concepts. 
  • Gates, Z. (2017).  The Illusion of Inclusion: A Historical Contextual Analysis of Diversity in the Academia.  Presented at the Association of Black Women in Higher Education National Conference.  Temple University Center City campus, Philadelphia, PA. 
  • Campbell, A., Whitaker, R., & Gates, Z. (2017). Culturally Relevant Pedagogical Practices using Math Concepts.  Presented at the 38th Annual Ethnography Conference University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.  
  • Gates, Z. (2015). Preparing Educators to be Culturally Competent, Aware and Sensitive to the African-American Student.  Presented at the 9th Annual Black Male Development Symposium at Arcadia University, Philadelphia, PA. 

Publications and Reports

  • Burell, D., Clark, L., Foster-Ajoff, P., Gates, Z., Hyatt, J., Johnson, T., Kravitz, C., McKenna, C., Shufutinsky, A., Shufutinsky, B., Shufutinsky, D., Shufutinsky, N., & Spigel, R. (2022). “Dissecting Meaning, Scope and Rules of Social Justice and Social Action.” Organization Development Journal 
  • Gates, Z.Y. (2022). “The People v. Critical Race Theory: Critical Race Theory on Trial”, Handbook of Research on Social Justice and Equity. 
  • Gates, Z.Y. (2020), (chapter in publication). “Social Justice in the Eye of the Storm: Strategies for In-Service Teachers to Address Social Issues in 6-12 Classrooms”. Teaching the Struggle for Civil Rights 1977-Present
  • Whitaker II, R. W., Campbell, A. N., Gates, Z. Y., & Ellison-Metcalfe, L. (2020). Culturally Relevant and Meeting Academic Standards at the Same Time: Teaching Math to African American Students as a Matter of Social Justice. In S. Brand, & L. Ciccomascolo (Eds.), Social Justice and Putting Theory Into Practice in Schools and Communities (pp. 17-28). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-9434-5.ch002
  • Hilton, A., Gates, Z.Y., & Whitaker, R. (2020, December 22). It  Makes Me Wanna Holler: The Need for Self Care for Black Soldiers on the Front Lines. Diverse: Issues in Higher EducationGates, Z. (2016). A causal-comparative study on teacher Moral between K-12 and residential treatment facility teachers. Capella University: ProQuest Dissertations Publishing (10248807).

Awards and Recognition

  • 2017 Cabrini University Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, School of Education
  • 2014 Capella University Advanced Graduate Study Recognition.