Since 2005 the Sources of Urban Educational Excellence Conference has shaped discourse on the factors that define the social and academic experiences of children in urban communities and schools. The genesis of this conference was steeped in the affirmation of urban students and the teachers and their work to positively transform their own lives. From its inception, Sources has set out to share the reminder that brilliance in urban education is not unique and that the College of Education produces teachers and leaders who are experts in the cultivation of urban educational excellence.
Dr. Asa Hilliard III (Nana Baffour Amankwatia II), former Georgia State University Fuller E. Callaway professor of urban education, is the visionary behind the Sources Conference. It was always Hilliard’s desire to have public space to share ideas about the Afro-diasporic experience, the conditions of urban communities and best practices in serving urban children.
In the winter of 2004, Hilliard expressed to Dr. Susan Crim-McClendon, the Crim Center’s associate director at the time, his interest in creating opportunities for students in the College of Education & Human Development (then, just the College of Education) to present such work. Crim-McClendon supported that idea and immediately began reaching out across the Georgia State University campus and the Atlanta community to develop a conference that would highlight the work of urban education practitioners while also highlighting effective models of urban teaching and community building. In 2005, Crim-McClendon gave life to Hilliard’s vision and the Sources Conference was born. The name of the Sources conference was derived from the journal used by students in the college’s Urban Teacher Leadership program, where Hilliard served as a professor and mentor.