Linda C. Tillman Social & Racial Justice Award


The UCEA Linda C. Tillman Social and Racial Justice Award was established in 2021 to recognize an educational leadership faculty member (current or retired) who demonstrates outstanding leadership in furthering the values of UCEA to foster diversity, equity, and social justice in PK-20 educational organizations. This award is named in honor of Linda C. Tillman whose career spans over four decades in K-12 and Higher Education. Dr. Tillman has worked diligently and courageously to diversify the educational leadership professorship by drawing public attention to systemic racism, making institutional systems more racially equitable, creating supportive structures for students and faculty of color, and mentoring students and faculty of color.

Dr. Linda C. Tillman is Professor Emerita of Educational Leadership in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Tillman is a former public-school educator with high school teaching and administrative experience. Dr. Tillman’s research and scholarship is focused on school leadership, the education of African Americans in K-12, mentoring in higher education, and culturally sensitive research approaches. Dr. Tillman serves on the advisory boards of TheHistoryMakers and the Black Education Research Collective at Teachers College-Columbia University.

Recipients should demonstrate evidence of the following criteria:

Serving as an exemplary role model of uncompromising courage in confronting racism and broad systems of oppression in PK-12 and/or leadership preparation.


  • Serving as an exemplary role model of uncompromising courage in confronting racism and broad systems of oppression in PK-12 and/or leadership preparation.
  • Working to change institutional processes, procedures, and structures that lead to more inclusive, equitable, and socially and racially just schools and/or leadership preparation programs.
  • Exercising organizational leadership in the service of diversity, equity, and social and racial justice.
  • Engaging doctoral students and faculty of color, and other minoritized communities and practitioners, to support their commitments to building more diverse and equitable scholarly communities.
  • Being a driving force for change in educational leadership relative to research, policy, practice, preparation, and/or other applicable areas.

Nomination Process

Nominations are welcome from any faculty member(s) of UCEA institutions. Nominations should include: 


  • Candidate’s curriculum vitae,
  • Nomination letter no more than five pages addressing the contributions of the nominee relative to one or more of the selection criteria, and
  • No more than three letters of support from individuals who have been directly impacted by the nominee and/or individuals who can attest to the nominee’s strengths.

A UCEA committee appointed by the Executive Director will review and evaluate the nominees. This committee will reserve the right to present this award to multiple candidates on any given year, or conversely, not to present this award should nominees not fully meet the selection criteria. 

Please email electronic copies of all nomination materials to uceaawards@gmail.com with the title of the award in the subject line. Nominations must be received by August 25, 2023.

The Recognition

The individuals selected as the UCEA Social and Racial Justice recipient will be recognized for their contributions to the field during the Awards Luncheon at the Annual UCEA Convention.

The individuals selected will receive a specially designed award.


2022        Julian Vasquez Heilig, University of Kentucky
                  Lenford Charles Sutton, Illinois State University
 2021        Linda Tillman, Professor Emerita, UNC Chapel Hill