THE DIGITAL REPOSITORY FOR THE BLACK EXPERIENCE
- Get Involved
"Don't Give Up."
Professor Patricia A. Edwards was born on December 4, 1949, in Albany, Georgia, to Annie Kate and John Edwards. She received her B.S. degree in elementary education in 1970 from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia; her M.S. degree in elementary education in 1971 from North Carolina A & T University in Greensboro, North Carolina; her Ed.S. degree in reading education in 1976 from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina; and her Ph.D. degree in reading education in 1979 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In 1971, Edwards became the assistant director of admissions at North Carolina Central University, in Durham, North Carolina. The following year, she was hired as the coordinator of the University’s Pre-Student Teaching Program. After receiving her Ph.D. degree, Edwards was hired as an assistant professor at Grambling State University in 1979, Louisiana Tech University in 1983, and Louisiana State University in 1986. Edwards spent 1988 to 1989 as a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In 1989, she was hired as an associate professor in the Teacher Education Department at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Michigan. Edwards was promoted to full professor at Michigan State University in 1994 and to distinguished professor there in 2001.
Edwards was selected in 2007 by the U.S. Department of Education to serve as part of the National Institute for Literacy. She also has written and edited several academic publications on literacy, including Change is Gonna Come: Transforming Literacy Education for African American Children in 2010, which won the 2011 Edward B. Fry Book Award. Her 2016 book, New Ways to Engage Parents: Strategies and Tools for Teachers and Leaders, won the 2017 Delta Kappa Gamma Educators Book Award. named as the 2017-2018 Jeanne S. Chall Visiting Researcher at Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Edwards has been involved in numerous organization during her career, including serving as a founding board member of Your Child in 2007. She also served as a member of the board of the International Literacy Association from 1998 to 2001, as the first African American president of the Literacy Research Association from 2006 to 2007, and as president of the International Literacy Association from 2010 to 2011. She joined the board of the American Educational Research Association’s Family, School, and Community Partnerships interest group in 2014 and was elected its chair in 2016.
Edwards received the AERA Scholars of Color Distinguished Career Contribution Award in 2019 and was appointed to the Michigan PreK-12 Literacy Commission and received the Oscar S. Causey Award from the Literacy Research Association in 2020.
Edwards resides in Lansing, Michigan.
Patricia A. Edwards was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 19, 2022.