Black youth studies prof joins uOttawa Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Equity, diversity and inclusion
Group of diverse friends standing in front of wall
To say that Professor Tya Collins knows her way around a classroom would be an understatement. A career as a teacher and administrator from pre-kindergarten all the way through secondary and vocational schools, laid the groundwork for her scholarly turn toward the tenure track.

Collins, the Faculty’s new assistant professor of Black youth studies, brings to her position extensive lived experience in the realm of practice and a personal and academic passion for social justice a pairing that forms a common thread across her many contributions. Her use of DisCrit (a combination of disability studies and critical race theory), for example, is one of several theoretical lenses she uses to shed light on systemic anti-Black racism in educational settings.

Challenging norms and empowering Black youth

“I am happy and excited to join such an innovative and socially responsible community as the Faculty of Education. It is evident that Faculty members have accorded careful critical reflection and commitment to meeting their goal of promoting equity and social justice, notably through creating a long overdue space for advancing the field of Black studies in Canada,” says Collins.

“Drawing on Black radical traditions and decolonial theories and methodologies, I conduct research in English and French aimed at uncovering systemic barriers in student educational pathways; challenging social, political and cultural norms; positioning youth as knowledge generators; and fostering creative imaginings of schooling and society which centre healing, safety, joy and care.”

Tya Collins
Black Studies

“Drawing on Black radical traditions and decolonial theories and methodologies, I conduct research in English and French aimed at uncovering systemic barriers in student educational pathways...”

Tya Collins

— Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education

From teacher to school administrator to university professor

Collins’ work as an educator spans  20 years in a range of settings, including teaching and administration in preschool, primary, secondary, ESL, FSL, special education, vocational training and university settings. She holds a PhD in education from the Université de Montréal and has been an SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at McGill University.

Her research and pedagogy emphasize an interdisciplinary approach drawing from education, sociology, critical youth studies, Black studies and disability studies. She conducts research in English and French, positioning youth as knowledge generators and fostering creative imaginings of schooling and society. Some of her recent work focuses on the intersections of blackness, disability, language, systemic trauma, youth resistance to structural barriers and inequalities, and postsecondary outcomes.

Collins is also a community advocate, consultant, researcher and partner with several organizations such as the Quebec Black Communities Observatory, Action Cancer du Sein du Québec and Avenues (an organization that supports youth making life transitions from special education), as well as being a founding member of the Re-Membering Us Initiative, which supports mental health and radical love in Black communities.


Collins’ recent publications include “Entre surveillance disproportionnée et inaction à l’égard d’élèves issus de l’immigration considérés à besoins éducatifs particuliers: une recherche ethnographique” (2023), “Shedding Light on Race and Disability in a North American Linguistic Minority Context: A DisCrit Analysis of Special Education in Quebec (2022),” Penser une démarche épistémologique afroémancipatrice en recherche qualitative par, pour et avec les communautés noires (2022) and Capacitisme et (néo)racisme au sein des processus de classement scolaires au Québec : interprétations par les intervenants des difficultés des élèves issus de l’immigration” (2021).

Learn more about Professor Collins’ research