Howard C. Stevenson

Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education; Professor of Africana Studies

Human Development and Quantitative Methods Division

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215-898-5666


Dr. Stevenson is a nationally recognized clinical psychologist and researcher on negotiating racial conflicts using racial literacy for independent and public K–­12 schooling, community mental health centers, teachers, police, and parents. His research publications and clinical work involve developing culturally relevant "in-the-moment" strengths-based measures and therapeutic interventions that teach emotional and racial literacy skills to families and youth and have been funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, and the National Institutes of Mental Health and Child Health and Human Development.

Two mental health research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health examine the benefits of racial literacy. The PLAAY (Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth) project uses basketball and racial socialization to help youth and parents cope with stress from violence and social rejection. Dr. Stevenson also co-leads the SHAPE-UP: Barbers Building Better Brothers project which trains Black barbers as health educators to teach Black males ages 18–24—while they are cutting their hair—to reduce their risk of HIV/STDs and retaliation violence.

In 2014, Dr. Stevenson was one of 10 men in Philadelphia awarded $10,000 by BMe Community Leader Awards, to support his ViRUs project (Villages Raising Us), which trained a neighborhood network, including barbers, coaches, and pastors, to counsel families and youth using cultural strengths. 

From 1994 to 2002, Dr. Stevenson was faculty master of the W. E. B. DuBois College House at Penn. In 1993, he received the W. T. Grant Foundation’s Faculty Scholar Award, a national research award—given to only five researchers per year—which funds five years of research. In 1994, Dr. Stevenson was a Presidential Fellow at the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies, where 35 other community activists and researchers from 30 countries presented their community health intervention projects. In 1995, Dr. Stevenson served on a 12-member academic panel to consult on the development of a National Strategic Action Plan for African-American Males, sponsored by the National Drug Control Policy Office in the Office of the President.

His recent best-seller book, Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences that Make a Difference, is designed to reduce racial threat reactions in face-to-face encounters.