Aliya Durham

  • Assistant Professor and Director of Community Engagement, Center on Race and Social Problems Faculty Affiliate
Aliya D. Durham has amassed more than 20 years of service to others—as an employee and volunteer—and is deeply committed to servant leadership, community development, equity, and philanthropy. She has worked at several health and human service organizations in the region including Operation Better Block, Inc., the Pennsylvania State University, Good Schools Pennsylvania, the National Council for Urban Peace and Justice, and Adagio Health. Most recently, Aliya served as Vice President of Foundation and Government Relations and Core Service Executive for Social Responsibility for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh for nearly a decade.
Currently, Aliya is an Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work specializing in Macro Practice. She teaches graduate courses in Human Services Management, Group/Intergroup Relations, and Grant Writing. She also manages the Browne Fellowship, one of many signature social work programs, designed to translate the core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence to non-social work undergraduates at Pitt. As Director of Community Engagement, Aliya facilitates and advances opportunities for the School of Social Work to deepen and expand its community-engaged practices in research, teaching, service, and learning.
Aliya has volunteered on various not-for-profit boards and committees in the city and county, most notably as co-founder and Board Vice Chair for the Homewood Children’s Village and as Fund Development Co-Chair for the POISE Foundation. She is a wife, proud mother of two, and an ordained deacon at Mount Ararat Baptist Church.
In 2004, Aliya was recognized as one of Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40. In 2013, she received Talk Magazine’s Minority Achievers and the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 50 Women of Excellence honors while simultaneously graduating from Leadership Pittsburgh’s best class ever (Class XXIX). She was also honored to appear in the inaugural edition of Who’s Who in Black Pittsburgh in 2015.
A lover of learning, Aliya has earned a Bachelor of Arts (Africana Studies), a Bachelor of Science (Psychology), a Master of Social Work (Macro Practice), and a Master of Public and International Affairs (Economic and Social Development) from the University of Pittsburgh. During her graduate studies, she traveled to various villages and cities in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Mozambique which cemented her commitment to the under-served domestically and across the Diaspora.
Aliya earned her doctorate in Community Engagement at Point Park University in 2020 with research interests converging at the intersections of collective impact, sense of community responsibility, and distributed leadership theories. She is completing final edits in order to publish her dissertation titled, “If not us, then, who? The Homewood Children’s Village: A Case Study of Applied Collective Impact Theory”.

Research Interests

  • Community development
  • University-community relationships
  • Homewood Children’s Village
  • Servant leadership 


Areas of Expertise