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Washington State University
College of Education

#WSUFacultyFriday — Johnny Lupinacci


First two images Courtesy of Alycia Jasmine.

This Q&A was part of a #WSUFacultyFriday that the WSU social media team put out on October 09, 2020.

Johnny Lupinacci

Associate Professor
Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education

What is your main research topic?

Advocating for social justice, sustainability and democracy, my research draws heavily from critical conceptions of social studies, critical environmental education, urban education and abolitionist teaching.

My research focuses on how people—specifically educators, educational leaders, and educational researchers—learn to both identify and examine destructive habits of Western industrial human culture and how those habits are taught and learned in schools.

Following that line of research, I work with teachers, and future teachers, to reimagine curriculum that center locally, situationally, and in support of living systems through social justice and sustainability.

What classes do you teach?
A bunch, I always work with our Masters in Teaching (MIT) students and our #WSU Elementary Social Studies Methods courses. I also teach graduate courses in Curriculum & Instruction, Educational Leadership, and in Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education. I love them all especially the undergrads but I think my most favorite class I teach regularly is CSSTE 536 Environment, Culture and Education.

What brought you to WSU Pullman?

I came to #Pullman to work at WSU. What absolutely brought me to WSU Pullman was the Cultural Studies & Social Thought in Education program.

As a critical educator and scholar-activist I was familiar with and fond of the work of the faculty and graduate students in the CSSTE program and in the College of Education.

When I interviewed, one thing in addition to the amazing graduate students that sealed the deal that I’d move to Pullman and work with WSU despite my affinity for urban spaces, was the College’s mission statement and conceptual framework: “Collaboration with diverse communities toward a sustainable and just future.

I think this is central to the work we do in the College of Education and ever important to our shared work in a democracy.

How has #COVID19 changed how you teach?

Well COVID-19 has most certainly thrown a wrench into the routine. I like most everyone else am teaching on #Zoom and through #Blackboard, #YouTube, and other technological resources.

I have found a silver lining if there is one in learning to teach together during a pandemic, so it’s more than distance learning but its distance teaching and learning where both students and teachers are likely experiencing a variety of trauma and stress.

That said, I have really enjoyed utilizing podcasts and podcasting as a both a resource for classes and a fun way to engage and assess students as they are writing, recording, and producing podcast episodes and series based on content.

I think it’s also reminded me of the importance of emphasizing community before content and making sure all my students have access to the internet, reliable technology, safe shelter, food, and aren’t too isolated and then connecting them with appropriate opportunities to engage with content learning.

So, along the way we’re growing together and getting stronger.

What is a Fun Fact about yourself?

I love pop culture music especially punk rock and hip hop. I love graffiti and I co-host a radio show Bust-ED Pencils that discusses education topics nationally.

More about Johnny

Responses to this social media post
  • Elias Whitefoot: “One of the best professors I had in school. He truly cares about improving his students experience and learning!”
  • Evan Davies: “Johnny!!!! One of the best professors I’ve had. Super compassionate guy and understands educating.”
  • Joshua Thomas Torell: “one of the best professors at WSU! Pullman is blessed to have him!”
  • Lindsay Ann: “Johnny! For sure one of the most compassionate and caring professors at WSU. I’m glad he’s still there helping to shape the next generation of educators.”
  • Alexandra Putnam: “Such a great professor! Was the head of my masters committee 5 years ago & his mentorship leads how I teach everyday! Well deserved~~”
  • Zach Mazur: “Johnny Lupinacci, you completely rock! Your compassion and mentorship is top notch!”f